Kathryn Petroff

Name: Kathryn Petroff

Hometown: Bailey, CO

Occupation: Rural Life Painter, Muralist, Portrait Artist, Private Art Teacher, Owner of KLP Fine Art, Perpetual Hiker, Mother of Two, and Wife to My Childhood Sweetheart

Favorite place to hike: Home. My back gate opens to Pike National Forest in Colorado. I love the familiarity of the woods I’ve wandered day and night for years. I am an artist by profession and to my core, and most of my creations have been inspired by and painted among those trees.

What’s one book you’d recommend to a friend and why: The bulk of my library consists of technical and historical books on darkroom photography and drawing and painting. I’m accustomed to the glazed look when attempting to start conversations on those topics, so they aren’t typical loaners! To be honest, most of my circle of friends tend to pass around animal tracking and mushroom hunting books, so I would say Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch. It’s a bit on the heavy side to pack out, but full of knowledge and great imagery. It’s nice to know what’s living behind my house! For those of you with kids in your lives, “Beautiful Oops!”; by Barney Saltzberg is one of my favorites for all ages.

What’s your favorite thing to cook for dinner: My childhood friend’s grandmother used to ALWAYS eat dessert first. She would say, “If I die during this meal, at least I’ve gotten to enjoy the good part!” So dessert is as important to me as dinner. In our family, my husband is the cook and I am the baker. I’ll have to restrain myself from gushing over my favorite meals that I don’t actually cook myself! During cold winter months, I do enjoy baking crawfish pie based off of a recipe taught to me years ago by my husband’s late brother. And for dessert, my go to is usually homemade cheesecake with chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, and fresh berries on top. We are mostly healthy and fresh eaters, but splurging is allowed in our house…even if that means dessert first sometimes!

*Here’s a tip that works for me while baking at 9000′. I often add an extra egg to recipes, and desserts come out beautiful.

(I’m totally going to try this next time I bake, not that that happens much but….thanks for the tip Kathryn ~Rebecca)

What’s your favorite quote: “Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” -Unknown

If you could hike with anyone, dead or alive who would it be and why: This is twofold for me. I would love to take a hike in the past followed immediately by a hike in the future if I could. I would start by hiking alongside some of the first women to break out as hikers in the West. This to me doesn’t necessarily have to include a famous person. I want to see the land that I live in as it was over a hundred years ago, experience hiking as a woman in that time of new discovery and boundary breaking, and learn from journeys overlooked. I am sure there are countless names and stories that weren’t recorded, and I would love to be a witness to a piece of that.

Next, I would hike the same trails with my son and daughter when they are in their early 30s (as I am now). I want to see how the landscape will change and what remains the same. I want to see how my children view the world and be present as they step into nature after experiencing the backwoods childhood my husband and I have thoughtfully placed them within. Tying the past with the present, I feel, would give me a much deeper insight into how to approach the wilderness that I live in each day moving forward.

What the one piece of gear that always has a place in your backpack: Leukotape. I recently completed a 30k Norwegian Ruck March on pavement with a 30 lb. pack, and having properly taped feet was a life saver to avoid blisters and a DNF. That stuff is indestructible!

If you could drop what you’re doing right now and had unlimited funds what’s the one place you’d go hiking: I would put traditional life on hold for 6 months or a year and hike parts of Europe. My husband and I are fans of finding where new roads and people take us, and I would love to follow tips from locals to discover must-see spots and hidden gems. I have family there, which gives me even more reason to make it a reality someday. We’ll see!

Where can we find you on the internet:

Is there anything else you’d like to add: I feel this year will be filled with growth, adventure, fails, and laughter for all of us in the HLAW community. I am honored to be a part of this fantastic group of women.