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Reader Poll: Most Admired Female Backpacker?

Liz Thomas - Speed Hiker
Liz Thomas – Speed Hiker

What’s the name of the FEMALE hiker or backpacker that you most admire and a brief explanation of the reason why. The person you name can be a rock star hiker or someone you hike with locally that you think is the bee’s knees.

Example Responses

I really admire Heather “Anish” Anderson, who set the new un-supported speed record for the PCT last year, hiking over 2000 miles in 60 days. I admire her physical and mental strength to keep up that kind of pace, day in and day out.

I really admire Christine Benton, a hiking and backpacking leader with the New York- North Jersey Appalachian Mountain Club. A cancer survivor, she’s been leading trips in the Catskills and Adirondacks for as long as I can remember and has mentored dozens of hiking and backpacking trip leaders, including myself.

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149 comments

  1. Lorraine McCall as she was the first women to do a continues round of the Munros, and has now overcome cancer. Now she is seeking to help others by raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support by doing a continues round of the Corbetts. A much harder round, as the Corbetts are spread out over a larger area, and many are very hard to do. No well marked trails, just hard effort day-on-day to do, and thats after just getting over cancer.

  2. After being told the story about how Iselin B. had to swim in front of the outlet of a glacial lake to be able to cross the river (it got bigger downstreams) several times to get all of her gear across, my admiration for her rose to a very high level. She told me she thought she would die, but it was the only choice possible. They had been told by a local guy to hike off the glacier on the wrong side of the lake. I would certainly not like to be in her shoes back then.

  3. Jennifer Davis. Some great through hikes and the only female hiker I can think of.

  4. I admire Erin Saver have been following her walking with wired site for a while now! Really enjoy her hiking practices

  5. Many female hikers I admire but my favorite would have to be Erin Wired Saver. Enjoy her blog and she tells a good story and is a pretty good photographer and videographer.

  6. The female hiker I admire most is Grace Hudowalski. Hudowalski, who died in 2004 at age 98, was a longtime historian for the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. She was the first woman to climb all 46 Adirondack High Peaks. There is currently a petition to rename East Dix Mt. to Grace Peak in her honor.

  7. I most admire Grandma Gatewood. She was the first woman in modern US hiking history to really “go for it”. No hiking experience, she nearly killed herself on her first attempt, but never gave up.

  8. I admire my daughter Katie. Unlike most of the women who will be mentioned here Katie isn’t a big fan of hiking, camping or backpacking but when she was younger she was my trail buddy. Now that Katie is 15 she is packing up her belongings to go to South Africa to learn the basics of being a park ranger. Katie has always wanted to be a vet and hopes that a broad experience like this will help her. It is one thing to excel at backpacking when it is your passion it is another when it isn’t.

  9. Miriam Underhill. Give me the Hills was one of the first hiking books that I read and it has a section on hiking the Whites that I reread from time to time.

  10.  Jennifer Davis because she hiked the Appalachian Trail in 46 days. Now that’s freakin’ amazing!

  11. Anna Swaine, the mother of on of the Boy Scouts in our troop. She backpacked with her special needs son so he could earn his Backpacking Merit Badge and 50 Miler award.

  12. I admire my friend Julie. She has been challenged with circulation issues, bad knees and food allergies. Through all of this she still puts her head down and goes out to enjoy the outdoors.

  13. My aunt Boo, who is now dead from early onset Alzheimer’s, because she hiked all her life – not waiting until she had time or putting it off for later. Even though she lived in Florida, she’d load up her back pack and truck up and down the flights of stairs at her office building to practice. She was happiest in the outdoors and I inherited her huge calves that help me get up mountains, too.

  14. Right now in my life I admire my wife. . Last year in April our daughter passed away. It’s been hard on both of us. I always wanted my daughter to grow up and be my hiking partner. My wife never hiked with me. After our daughter passed she decided to do a little day hiking with me. It wasn’t long and gear started showing up in the mail. Then in Oct she borrowed one of my old packs and I took her on her first overnight hike. On the hike she told me how she is feeling peace in the woods. She also can feel our daughter with us when we are out hiking. Sometimes it’s a bird singing, other times its a dragonfly circling around us. .. Hiking is new for mom. It’s hard on her. But she doesn’t give up. .. She does give me a hard time on the uphills. That’s when I tell Autumn to give mommy strength. I had forgotten how hard it was to hike on the AT for a brand new hiker. I’m glad our daughter is there to help her mentally through the hard times and to give her motivation. . So Im hoping I can win this new pack for her. Good Luck Dawn!

    • Touching story. Hiking has helped me cope with the loss of my father, so I can really relate to this.

    • I’m sorry for your lose. I’m sitting at my desk tearing up. I’ve always found the stead effort of walking in the woods to be the perfect stimulus for thinking and relaxing, I hope both you and your wife find some peace on the trail.

      Ed

  15. Grandma Gatewood. Age 67 solo, no support, in Keds sneakers.

  16. I really admire my cousin Kate who got me into hiking in the first place. She has been my hiking buddy on many adventures and always toughs it out even when she is tired, sore or cold.

  17. I really admire Geolyn Carvin, more commonly known as Boots McFarland, for her artistic vision and humor, and in particular for her sharing those talents with the rest of us. Geolyn recognized the comic value in many of her hiking-life experiences and gave them cartoon-life in the character of Boots McFarland. We all recognize those quintessential trail moments and commiserate with Boots and company. Long live Boots!

  18. Beth Reynolds from the local Girl Scout council. For years she organized girl scout hikes on the Appalachian trail. Got the girls excited about the outdoors.

  19. The hiker I admire is Scribbles (Kerry Smithwick), my wife. She thru hiked the AT in 2011 and focused on the trail and her love of the AT. She is still very involved with the AT. She has also helped other hikers get started with their homes.

  20. I most admire my wife, Jessica. She has been a reluctant—but willing—hiking partner for many years now, enduring all kinds of weather and discomfort in the name of spending more time together.

  21. I admire my daughter Hope who is 8, she has been hiking all her life and backpacking for the last 5 years. She keeps up a great atitude and has fun trying to keep up with the big people.

  22. Grandma Gatewood has to be on my list. And definitely Jennifer Pharr Davis. I admire my wife Tina; she doesn’t like to overnight in a tent though she is willing to overnight at least once or twice per year. :) I hope that when I thru-hike the AT she’ll join me.

  23. Grandma Gatewood (for being tough as nails) and Michelle Ray (for writing an excellent introductory book) are up there, but I don’t actually know the name of my favorite female. I follow her on Instagram under @hikingdiva and admire her because when she hurt her leg awhile back she trained her cat to car camp with her. Now they hike together all the time and Tuxie will put 7 miles on his tiny little legs before he gets tired and has to hitch a ride in her pack. I would love to teach my cat (and my future dog) to be a trail buddy… Also have to give a shout out to my friend Laura, my most frequent companion, who let’s me plan adventures and then comes along for the ride.

  24. I’m gonna have to go with Jennifer Pharr Davis. She set the supported thru hike record, for the AT, a few years ago and really enjoyed her book. Seems like a really down to earth, friendly woman. She’s got moxy!

  25. Erin Saver. She updates her “Walking With Wired” web page with a blog every day while she’s thru-hiking. Now, there may be times when she doesn’t have wifi connectivity for 4 or 5 days, but when she does there’s a blog post with photos for every single day. She’s already done the PCT and the CDT and she’s preparing for the AT in April.

  26. My mom, because she backpacked with me while 8-months pregnant and was camping when her water broke. Because of her I was born into loving the wilderness!

  27. Cynthia Martin. She was a Green Mountain Club Director and happens to be the mother of one of my old housemates. Along with her husband, whom she met on an organized group hike many years ago, she still leads group hikes in VT. She also raised an awesome daughter who I had the pleasure of many overnight backpack trips with before she moved on to get her PhD.

  28. I’ll have go with Grandma Gatewood as well just for the times, 50-60s, and her age at the time.

  29. Christina Gent, my wife, for embracing hiking this past year. She hiked often this past winter and helped with her depression. Most winters are really tough for her, but she embraced hiking this winter and it made a world of difference for her to be outside in nature.

  30. I may be a little bias, but I like my daughter Sunny Blue Nelson, she is a “Bad A”. She has always been a adventure, my kids have always hiked with me from day one and twenty two years latter she still has the bug. She fights wild land fires during the summer and is graduating from collage this spring. She guides trips for the incoming freshman at the school that she attends with much enthusiasm, and to top it off she still will do a trips with me.

  31. My mother, Benita, who started me in the Boy Scouts and who took me on my first hike as a Scout.

  32. I admire Jennifer Pharr Davis because of her love of the Appalachian Trail.

  33. Since I am waiting with baited breath for my first Mt Whitney permit, I’m going with Anna Mills. The first woman to climb Mt Whitney in 1878.

  34. I admire Ellen Coleman, who is an inspiration to all who know her. She’s solo hiked the JMT several times, regularly hikes trails that would crush the average hiker and has survived a broken leg in the wilderness waiting out a blizzard alone. She’s pretty awesome.

  35. My Aunt Judy, who many years ago, when I was a young pup, encouraged me in my growing interest in hiking. I looked up to her and my uncle as my outdoors mentors.

  36. I most admire my wife Dana. She is not a conventional hiker; my admiration stems from her willingness to put herself out of her comfort zone so that she can share in something that I and our children love. She has trekked with our young children up to the tops of mountains and to the bottoms of waterfalls. Without her support, my own adventures would be impossible; with her, they are better!

  37. Emma Rowena Gatewood…hardcore AT hiker, prolific maker of progeny, farmer’s wife, and went by the name of Grandma Gatewood.

  38. The hiker I admire most is Paige Phillips, my 13 year old daughter. I started hiking with Paige when she was just barely able to walk. A couple years ago I introduced her to backpacking with some easy over-nighters and she loves it. She has developed a real passion for hiking and backpacking. While many of her friends are playing video games or shopping, she is looking for our next adventure!

  39. Whether in Haiti, Central America or just traveling around the corner, Katherine Ballard always has a grateful heart.

  40. I most admire my wife, Tracy. Due to meds she takes to treat a rare a heart condition, she has no cartilage in her knees, but loves to get out on short hikes with my and our boys. She is usually pretty sore for a day to two afterwards, but, on the trails, you would never know she is hurting. She loves the nature and the family time we get to have without distractions of TV and phones and chores, etc. Really, she is my hero is so many more ways that hiking. Much larger and more important ways. She has shown a love and passion for life that is so great, I can only try to live up to her example every single day.

  41. Gudy Gaskill- Queen of the CT!

  42. Erin Saver would have to be my pick. Been following her blog for some time now, I will hopefully bump into her on the AT this year.

  43. My absolute hero of a female hiker is my mom, Andrea Z-Covey! She raised me to love and respect the natural world around me, and how to find my true self on the trail. After undergoing double knee surgery a little over a year ago, and undergoing treatment for breast cancer this Winter, being back on the trail with her has been inspiring and a true testament to the strength and endurance of the human spirit! Here’s to many happy miles together.

  44. I really admire my youngest daughter Jasper because she has the shortest legs in our family but is always hustleing to stay with us when we are out on the trail. That’s my favorite place to be with my favorite people to be around.

  45. I recently learned about Jennifer Pharr Davis. She set the supported record, male and female, for the AT. She recently talked about her hiking experiences at Nat Geo Live in DC and it was inspiring to her her tails. I am currently reading her first book, Becoming Odessa about her first time hiking the AT.

  46. Jennifer Davis, primarily because she went to Samford University which is very close to home for me.

  47. Jennifer Pharr Davis – not because she kicked butt on the AT but because of stong values in her marriage and family. I had the opportunity to her her speak and love her determination.

  48. Seen a lot of names on this list I definitely agree with, but in the spirit of diversity I’d like to add a new one: Felicia Hermosillo a.k.a. the Princess of Darkness. Badass hiker girl with a skirt & an umbrella, wife and hiking partner of Lawton “Disco” Grinter – both Triple Crowners, co-maker of the superb film Walkumentary, part of the Trail-Show team.

    I was hugely influenced by the Walkumentary – this hilarious & very inspiring piece of raw CDT-footage showed me how awesome it is to do a long-distance hike. For a long time after watching the film every single night I dreamed I am right there, hiking along the CDT with Disco and P.o.D. and their hiking buddies.

  49. My wife, because she goes with me on the trail and in the woods…and she’s awesome!

  50. I really admire Erin Saver from Walking with Wired. I do not personally know her but I have been following her blog http://www.walkingwithwired.com for some times now.

    Her blogs has helped a lot of hikers. She is a great resource for future PCT, CDT and AT hikers. She inspires us to go on a hike and also gives us great gear review. She has been active doing presentation about her hikes.

  51. My wife, even if I have to push her uphill when she’s pregnant.

  52. Melissa Arnot, Women’s Record Holder for Everest Summits
    Melissa has made her life about exploring the beautiful mountains of the world. She is passionate about climbing and pushing her own limits, but her ultimate joy comes from taking that journey with others, helping them push their limits and get to their own summit.

  53. 3 years ago on a Philmont trek I saw a group hike in to a camp with a female Scout leader who was on the heavy side, dirty, sweating, tired, breathing hard. I smiled at here and said hello, how you doing?. Her reply was enthusiastic and joyful, with a huge smile on her dust covered face she said ” this is the hardest thing I have ever done and I am having the best time of my life!”

    I do not know her name but I will never forget this lady, life is good when you are hiking with your son and his fellow Scouts at Philmont! God bless all parents that really participate in life activities with their children, even when it takes them out of their comfort zone.

  54. It’s my granddaugher, Sophia. She’s only seven but she’s been with Grandpa on many hikes and camping trips. Once I got her older brother a Gossamer Gear Murmur she inherited his REI Flash 18 backpack, carries her gear in it, rarely complains and will tackle the tough stuff. She knows how to use a “lonely tree”, picks up the trash she finds along the trail and thinks Grandpa’s ramen noodles are gourmet fare. What more could I ask for?

  55. Paige Bowie the only female to pass GoRuck’s Selection challenge (48+ Hours individual physical challenge). I rucked with her during a special challenge on Camp Pendleton and fell in love with her. You can even see in photos how grand her spirit is. She is a true inspiration to women and men alike. A motivator, a fireman, a giver, and she never quits.

  56. I admire Ellen Coleman, she is a self described “hikin fool”. She does major hikes despite having to suffer from previous injuries and is a true life survivor, having broken a leg while on a day hike, and then waiting out a storm for several days on top of San Jacinto Peak. Of course her willingness to share her quality scotch at the hike destination is priceless.

  57. I really admire Erin Saver. ( http://www.walkingwithwired.com/) She’s about to set out on the Appalachian Trail to complete her triple crown! Plus, she’s local to me!

  58. I admire Bubis Hohenboken, who is bucket-listing her first hike ever in the Grand Canyon this week.

  59. I admire Melissa Arnot she has accomplished a lot in her short career, she will soon be attempting her sixth summit of Mt. Everest.

  60. I’m currently reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, so I’d have to go with her. Great story of her determination under tough circumstances.

  61. I would but, my current girlfriend will kill me if she finds out..Lols,, Now seriously, I have always admired, though many have thrown written rocks and insults at her and made all sorts of accusations though they themselves upon inspection did not measure up to their brags, but she is someone I used to throw at my west coast hiking pals when they would start to wimp out and that is Cindy Ross who wrote Journey on the Crest. She put up with so much on that trip it was amazing she did not just give up and quit, But she perserved and came back even stronger and admitted her weaknesses and she did it…More than what 90% of the Hikers on the PCT and AT have accomplished…I give her book to all the women who ask me about Hiking and Backpacking for them to read.

  62. Kim Lester. She is my wife and I admire her because she is never afraid of a challenge, in hiking but also in all other aspects of life.

  63. The only female hiker I know (My chick is lame…) is a woman named Karen. She’s eighty-something, but looks half that.. Hikes the trail that I run regularly to stay fit….

  64. There are plenty of inspiring women hikers, but my mom has most directly inspired me. I’ve traveled to many national parks & done plenty of hiking with her. Around 2009 or so, she started reading lots of books about the Applachain Trail. Partly because of her obsession w/ the AT, I got back into backpacking. She’s never backpacked before (just day-hikes), but she’s been asking me to take her on an overnight to an AT shelter. She’s also helped get my niece & nephew interested in hiking, and I hope to make them part of the next generation of backpackers.

  65. M Colten – because she’s my wife, loves to hike, and she’s always there!

  66. Just read all the comments so far… so many admirable women to choose from. My current favorite is Amy Kwiatkowski, a fellow midwesterner who sets out today on her thru hike of the North Country Trail with her dog Faith. They are hiking to raise awareness, and funds, for no-kill animal shelters and to promote the adoption of senior dogs. Read her blog here: http://www.hikingwithfaith.com/

  67. Doubtless there are many amazing and inspirational women to choose from for this. I’m going with Liz “Snorkel” Thomas — who broke the woman’s unsupported speed record on the AT in 2011.

  68. I have 2–not quite women, but young ladies–my daughters, Evelyn, age 7-who went on her first backpacking trip before she was 2, and Emmalee, age 13-who never (well, almost never) complains, no matter where, when or how far we go.

  69. While not a women yet, my daughter Anya at fives old loves doing trail maintenance. More inspiring still are her “plans” to make an overnight hike out of summiting Mt. Lafayette.

  70. I am going to vote for “Voodoo” PCT class of 2013. I will not go into all of the details regarding her adventure but she had several injuries and mishaps and continued to get back on the trail when others would have quit. Her story is inspiring and I am glad I had the opportunity to hike with her.

  71. My wife, whose knees, feet and back do not always cooperate with her; yet, she joins me when she can as I train for the 28.3 mile Ultimate Hike this June. For 44+ years of marriage (and many years of dating before that), she has been my supporter, encourager and partner.

  72. My vote would definitely go to Melissa Arnot. In my opinion one of the greatest females of all time, with 5 summits of Everest, 3 summits of Aconcagua and only 30 years old, and she can really hold her own with all the guys on the big mountains.

  73. My wife, Kristine, who puts up with my obsession and is willing to go backpacking with me even though she hates to pee outside.

  74. Definitely my wife who is trying really hard to understand where I’m coming from with my dreams and inspirations, as well as also trying to expose our 4.5 year old son to the outdoors as much as possible.

  75. there’s a bunch I admire, but I will go with Sunshine ( of Balls and Sunshine fame – trail journals.com)
    Youngest female triple crowner who when not hiking is a 4.0 student.

  76. My wife, Sarah “BAM” Sussman is one heck of a hiker. She puts up with me, for one. Her first overnight hike was a end to end of the Long Trail with me in 2006. She walked through rain and pain and did it with heavy gear and a smile on her face. Just ask her about the ascent of Glastenbury Mtn or getting blown around on Jay Peak and you will know that she is one tough hiker. She was also the inspirer of our 2012 PCT hike and made the journey amazing and possible!

  77. Two of the hiking women I admire are: Nancy Sporborg & Pat Piper of It’s Not About the Hike. I look up to them because of their encouraging messages and the fact that they started their hiking journey after 50 (like I did). Receiving their facebook messages daily helped me learn to “hike my own hike” and to really enjoy the entire hike – not just the summit!

  78. I would say Kit McCann (Clever Girl) – followed her thru hike last year on trail journals and thought her writing was smart and funny. Check out her blog on 200 Terrific Things about Long Distance Hiking.

  79. I love following Erin “Wired” Saver as she completes the long trails. This spring she sets off on the AT to join the Triple Crown gang. Her determination, smarts, wit, and a genuine love of the trail and people, shines through her addicting blog posts. Off the trail she continues to give by teaching and offering hiking clinics. Just an everyday gal inspiring others.

  80. This may be a weird answer but the first thing that came to mind is that I really admire the version of myself when I’m backpacking – I’m more resourceful, strong, determined, happy, peaceful.
    Or I’d say my 11th grade English teacher, who invited a couple of us bookish girls for our first trip in Algonquin Provincial Park, which she co-led). I admire her leadership and for believing in bringing my scrawny self deep into the woods for the first time.

  81. Jennifer Davis for her AT drive and determination. Great athlete, hiker, speaker, lover of nature and family as many have already mentioned.

  82. Ioana Hociota Is a Grand Canyon hiker that I admire! She fell while hiking the Grand Canyon and lost her life. She hiked a great deal of the canyon

  83. Jennifer Pharr Davis, on her FKT record..

  84. walking with wired is a favorite but my vote goes to Sheri Propster who was a Brand Ambassador along with her husband Randy for the Get Out More mobile Tours.

  85. My step daughter Emily Smith. She moved to the Tahoe area several years ago with the plan of working one season at a ski resort. As I said that was several years ago. She realized that living where she could hike was a lot better than saving up vacation to hike. Her pictures and trip reports are a great inspiration to me. When I can cut the chains of this Midwestern urban center I am gone to where I can keep a pack in my car and walk off.

  86. I really admire Sage Clegg for her courage and tenacity as a thru-hiker. To date she has completed the Triple Crown (in 18 months), the Grand Enchantment trail in New Mexico, the Japhy Ryder Route ( a 1200 mile route across California, she created) and is the first person to bikepack the entire 800 mile length of the Oregon Desert trail.

  87. My daughter Tara. She loves to hike!

  88. My wife Erin. She has always impressed me with her energy and drive in the outdoors.

  89. I would have to say my wife, Donna. While she was 7 months pregnant with my son, we took my 2 year old daughter on a short backpacking trip. It was a great trip with lots of wonderful memories. And it was her idea, if anyone is thinking “why would he do that to her?”

  90. Patrica Ellis Herr (& her daughters)- for showing just how capable of serious hikes kids can be.

  91. My wife JOANNA is a true rockstar of a woman! I am active and would hike and camp everyday if I could. Late in 2012 frustrated with her weight and inability to keep up with me and our girls and having a burning desire to get involved with camping and hiking she began her new life on Jan. 1, 2013. Joanna took up running again and i revolutionized the way i cook for our family. Last year my wife was awarded the Triple Crown Award for completing her local running clubs three signature races in one year. Presently she is training hard for her first half marathon in two weeks after losing a total of 100 pounds since last January. She is finally looking forward to seriously starting to engage in hiking and camping more. We are slowly starting to get her supplied and geared up. She is my rockstar and i am so proud of her.

  92. My kid. Her first trip, she got a fever. Still wanted to do it again. She’s weathered mud, flash floods, bad maps, cold, and crabby parents. She makes me look at the works with wonder again. And gives me an excuse to climb trees. She always wants to carry more of the gear. When I might want to sleep in, she asks if we can go backpacking. She’s not bored of camp chores. I am more likely to stay current on my first aid training and have a reasonable emergency plan knowing she’ll be with us.

  93. “Mother Goose”, I don’t know her real name, provided a life saving ride for me when caught in a wild storm in southern Virginia. She has hiked many 1,000 of miles on many of the trails in the USA and would rather be on the trail, any trail, then anywhere else.

  94. Got to give props to my sister Maria – she’s a true outdoors person and a killer hiker. She hiked many trails including the West Coast trail in B.C. Nothing ever gets in her way, she never gives up, no matter how challenging the terrain is.

  95. Patricia Ellis Herr – for teaching her girls to be strong and independent. She has a wonderful book and blog.

  96. Sue O has the best attitude for hiking with Boy Scouts on the trails in Upper Michigan.

  97. My wife Cathy is my nomination. We have been hiking together through the backcountry since the winter of 1972.

  98. I admire Tamae Watanabe, she was the oldest person to summit Mt. Everest at 73. A bit of hiking, backpacking, and climbing. Her physical and mental strength is something that people of all ages and backgrounds can admire!

  99. Heather “Anish” Anderson, she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 60 days 17 hrs and 12 minutes. I have always wanted to hike that trail. I admire her with this accomplishment. She also had a great article in Backpacker magazine about mental strength.

  100. My dear friend, Abigail, is the person I admire most and the person who inspires me more. After fighting breast cancer for 5 years Abigail went on to backpack Europe and Southeast Asia for 8 months. She has also hiked multiple trails such as the Inca Trail in Peru and the GR20 in France (Insane!). I look up to her so much, and I have been training while she has been away so that I can join her, and support her, on one of these intense treks. Winning this pack would be a blessing, thank you so much for the opportunity!

  101. I greatly admire my aunt – Elizabeth Hayes – who at age 79 continues to hike everyday in the foorhills and mountains of Colorado. She’s been an inspiration o fhow we can continue to enjoy life and the things we love as we age. We might get a little slower, but if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we’ll get there.

  102. That would be my wife, Anissa, who on our first trip as we carried extra heavy car camping equipment persevered on 90 degree humid day and claimed to enjoy it.

  103. Aunt Liz is a great hiker. She is easy going and good natured on the trail. I love being around her while camping.

  104. I enjoy hiking with Peggy from Boy Scouts. She is a workhorse with keeping the boys organized.

  105. Joan is great on the trails with the family every august in Marquette.

  106. Rockin’ as in ‘Lady on a Rock’… I think she is going for the Triple Crown. She teaches outdoor pursuits to kids. Special gal….

  107. I really admire the author Cheryl Strayed because she took on the task of journey on the PCT and found herself.

  108. My wife’s grandmom have been hiking with her husband and they are not so young anymore. It’s nice to see pictures about their trips and see her love for nature!

  109. Hi, I can’t find her name, but I read an article about a hiker who did most of the AT barefoot. It was the first time I was exposed to the the idea of long distance barefoot hiking, one that hasn’t left my head yet. A point she mentioned is that it is just a personal choice to hike barefoot and not something impressive – something I need to remind myself of frequently when people comment on my choice.

  110. Of course, Grandma Gateway, AT legend, thru hiking back in the day when few did that sort of thing, especially women. I’ve seen her ked’s, that’s right, ked’s sneakers in Damascus, Virginia, at the local outfitter’s shop. She carried a canvas bag slung over her shoulder. Hard core.

  111. She’s an 81 y.o. woman in my hiking club who only has about 100 miles left in completing the entire Appalachian Trail. Suva took up hiking after her children had grown and had moved out of the house.

  112. My daughter Meenakshi, learning life lessons from Caminos – “If I keep going I will get to the end”. If I win this, it will be her backpack for her upcoming charity year in Cambodia

  113. I most admire Cheryl Strayed because she’s not only a hiker, but a talented writer. I know she gets a lot of backlash for not being a “real thru-hiker” and for doing drugs when she was young, but it takes a lot of bravery to put your deepest secrets onto paper and publish it for the world to see. I admire her because I hope to one day be as accomplished of a writer as her. And I wouldn’t mind hiking the PCT either.

  114. I admire my mother. Not only was she an amazing backpacker, she’s an amazing person. For my parents honeymoon, they backpacked in Yosemite National Park instead of vacationing on a tropical island. They’ve inspired me to thru hike the PCT in 2015 and follow in their footsteps to a life of backpacking. The first time my father took her backpacking, she stopped and while looking at him in his foul mood, threw her entire pack off a cliff and informed him she was turning around and not hiking with someone in his mood. What a spitfire! Needless to say, he journeyed down to find her pack and propose within two weeks. They’re celebrating 45 years of love and sharing backpacking knowledge with me for 30 of it! Thanks mom!

  115. I’ll have to say Amelia Rudolph – she created Project Bandaloop and they do Vertical Dance performances all over the world, most notably on big walls in the wilderness, where you definitely have to hike in to do it.

  116. My rock-star lady is Katie, she does not let her cerebral palsy stop her! As hard as it is sometimes for her, her desire to see the mountains supersedes the hard work. And a shout out to her dad, Leo, who packs her on his back if he has to, just so she can get to her destination! You both ROCK!

  117. I just met the best female hiker, Chealse, when I was in Nepal last Nov. I met her while being at an altitude of 4600m above sea level. We were just about to cross one of the passes in Nepal the next morning and I was really having a hard time breathing. I was a little bit sick (with a flu) and the weather was trouble. We talked for a while over a cup of boiling tea and she was such an inspiration for me. Outgoing, free spirit, kind hearted and full of motivation. I will not be able to forget the conversation we had not in a hundred years from now. She gave me a lot of strength and motivation to keep on going and I think that basically she is the only reason why I didn’t quit and gave up that day.
    The view from the pass was unbelievable and I shall forever be grateful to her for that amazing experience.

  118. I really admire Rozanne “Muk Muk” Pilbeam, an Aussie hiker of the PCT 2013 class and is currently hiking the Camino trail in Spain. She has an amazing blog, a great personality, and was a big factor in my deciding to start getting into long distance hiking. You’re awesome Muk!

  119. My pick is Cheryl Strayed, the author of the best seller WILD, a story of a frazzled woman who hiked the PCT as therapy, which will be made into a feature film starring Reese Witherspoon. Though normally I eschew celebrities, from what I can tell, she and her book is doing more to bring young women into backpacking than any other single inspiration I’m aware of.

  120. The most inspirational for me would be Ruth Dyar Mendenhall. I didn’t know anything about her until I saw a Nova special on National Parks. She was mountaineer in the 1930s, traversing the Sierra Nevadas and all the while raising a family! She was doing all of this during a time when there was a pretty heavy gender barrier.

  121. My pick is Chrissy Ford. She may not be known to anybody else but she is a personal hero of mine. Quite simply, she is the one that introduced and taught my wife and myself backpacking, one of the most priceless gifts either of us have been given. She continues to inspire us to go out and do more every day. She has set up her life in such a way that she is able to work from the road and travels around the country going on bucket list backpacking trips seemingly monthly. My wife and I continue to evaluate what’s really important in our lives so that we can more completely enjoy her gift to us.

  122. I think my wife Dianne is an amazing trekker. She loves the outdoors, especially discovering new trails and looking for the next panoramic view. She is an inspiration to her kids because her passion for hiking and camping has given the bug to go out and see the world.

  123. I cant think of one female hiker… I just want to thank all the past, present, and future female hikers……you make the trails a better place to be.

  124. I admire my wife Paz Hart. Though she is from SE Asia she is game to try most of my outdoor interests even though they are completely alien to her context.

  125. I admire Danny Bernstein, a hiker from Asheville who’s written several popular books on day hiking in North Carolina plus a complete guide to hiking the MST. I’ve met her once on the trail, and am always surprised how she manages at her age to lead such grueling hikes for the Carolina Mountain Club. She blogs, hikes, runs clubs, and more.

  126. I know a young woman named Rachael who lives in a remote part of Washington State in a small village surrounded by snow-capped mountains. She hikes every day and writes encouraging/observational articles about her time in nature.

  127. I admire my daughter, Abigail Thornsberry, who never complained once on my first overnight backpacking trip into the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park even though I had to stop and rest many, many times.

  128. I admire my wife, Kimberly. She works incredibly hard to hike the AT with me, I am always impressed.

  129. Arunima Sinha is my inspiration, she persevered over the loss of a limb and became the first amputee to summit Mt. Everest.

  130. I admire my wife, Laura! She puts up with my foolishness and makes every hike worth it! She pushes me to do my best and encourages me whenit gets difficult. I love you, baby!

  131. My favorite hiker, male or female, is Nicky DeRosa. She’s a friend and a fellow lover of nature. There’s never a hike or trail that she’s afraid to conquer. She always encourages me to have fun, enjoy what’s all around, and make the most out of each adventure! Thanks Nicky!

  132. My favorite female hikers are my wife Brittani and our 3 year old daughter Rylee who on most of the hikes we’ve taken so far in her life have been on my back. Her first overnight hiking trip is coming soon!

  133. My wife Kat is an amazing lady. She’s super dedicated to all that she puts her mind to. I can’t wait to put some more miles behind us on the trails this summer.

  134. I’d give another shout out for Heather Anderson. Her accomplishment of hiking the full length of the PCD trail unsupported in 60 days, averaging 45 miles per day is amazing.

  135. Without question it is my fiancé, Jamie “Blue Bin” McCune. She hike the first 58 miles with me on my Long Trail thru hike last summer. It rained every day and the trail was more like a stream than a foot path. Despite being wet, muddy, and injured from a fall near Stratton Pond, she never complained, and was a terrific partner through it all.

  136. there was once a local gal, now a sandy ego type, who backpacked a lot of cool places. her name is elizabeth planteen. if you’ve never heard of her, dont worry, she never shuts up.. so give it time. lol.

  137. For sure, it is Lenore “Lennie” Steinmetz of the AMC-Delaware Valley. Lennie (and her husband Bill) volunteer countless hours with the AMC, leading hikes, weekend trips, and recruiting new leaders. One of the highlights of Lennie’s repertoire is her annual Catskills Winter Hiking Weekend, where she and a group of leaders lead winter hikes to various high peaks in the Catskills, helping people check off some 3500′ peaks on the list. I had an opportunity to go on one of these weekends once, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, and with her guidance, became much more comfortable with hiking during winter conditions.

  138. my girlfriend paige always smiling no matter where when time of the day smile like Chesire[alice in wonderland] even smiles GLOW IN THE DARK LOVE HER DEARLY

  139. I admire Deb Lenker because she’s my hiking partner, and she’s always game — she really loves the outdoors, and she loves to be out there with me :-)

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