This past week, Kacie stopped by our downtown Asheville retail shop to say hi, and because she's awesome, she agreed to a short conversation about her background. (Note: this conversation was originally recorded and some liberties were taken in transcription).

You're from Durham, NC originally, and you live in Asheville now. Have you always lived in North Carolina?

No, I've lived a lot of places. I got involved in the outdoor world leading trail crews in NH, CA, AK, PA, and then I worked in outdoor education in New England. 

All for different organizations?

Yes, those were all different jobs. I was also a ski instructor in CO for awhile, and then I was a medic for a camp in WY.

You have a lot of medical training. You're a nurse now. What made you dive into the medical aspect of the outdoors?

So I had done an AmeriCorps program and had a scholarship to use. I used it for a NOLS Wilderness EMT course, and that was one of the coolest thing I've ever done. I got to learn from some really experienced people. Then I worked for another program taking care a lot of the medical stuff. Then I started as a medic for an outdoor school doing the boo-boos, the medications, the epi-pens, all of that. I loved doing the medical stuff and also being there on the emotional side. So I went back to school and got a second degree in nursing, so now I work as a trauma nurse. It's hard but rewarding.

How long have you been a guide here at BRHC?

This is my second season.

And what's your favorite thing about guiding?


Do you even like it?!

Oh my god, no I love it! I geek out on the little things like finding little red efts and flowers. Making people stop and appreciate the nature. It's also really cool to meet people from all over the country and hear their life stories and just listen. And tell them about my adventures.

I know you hiked the AT. Have you done other long trails?

Yes, I did the Pacific Crest Trail and the Te Araroa in New Zealand. 

How did you have time for all these jobs and all these hikes?!

Well, I would just work my butt off and save up money to go hike. And I'm 36 years old, so I've had time for some adventures.

That still seems like a lot of adventure!

Haha, I guess so, yes.

You are guiding an upcoming backpacking trip for us on the Black Mountain Crest Trail. Why do you love that trail?

Mount Mitchell is special to me. I remember going up there as a kid and learning about acid rain. It was a big influence for the environmental side of me. What a special place. All the evergreen's high country. And I think it's recovered a lot in the past decade.

Yes, it will be nice to be up that high in July! Is there anything else that the people should know about you?

I mean, I started this job to connect with the trail community...and how cool it is. You know, we have a love for thru hiking, and it's cool to be able to connect with people, to take them out on the trail. And not only show them, but also explain to them, how important hiking is.

Thank you, Kacie. We love you. Deeply and dearly.

I love YOU! :D


Kacie "Foxy" Ross grew up playing in the Eno River along what is now a stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Durham, NC. Over the past decade, she has enjoyed teaching and guiding in the outdoors all over the country. Kacie has thru-hiked over 7,000 miles, including the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Te Araroa. Following her passion for wilderness medicine, she has worked as a Wilderness EMT, is on the Buncombe County Search and Rescue Squad, and recently graduated from Western Carolina University as a Registered Nurse. Kacie loves fun conversation while hiking and finding all the little critters along the way! Kacie guides day hikes and private backpacking trips for Blue Ridge Hiking Company when she's not working as a Trauma Nurse. She is also guiding our upcoming Black Mountain Crest/ Mount Mitchell Backpacking Trip.