1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I love hiking, writing and trying to get other people outdoors.
I have an amazing husband that supports my shenanigans and a 21-month old daughter who is a great adventure buddy.
I have been very fortunate to hike all over the U.S. and throughout the world. Seeing new places, meeting wonderful people and being immersed in nature makes me want to keep hiking and exploring as much as possible.
2. What was the trigger for starting Blueridgehikingco.com and what does it offer to the visitors?
Well, guiding is the most tangible way to get people outdoors. There are wonderful companies who offer extended backcountry trips, but there was a void for getting folks out on the trail for day hikes or short overnight trips. We try to meet that need. We try to customize all our trips so that we can meet the needs of a beginning hiker or someone looking for a challenge. Plus, I wanted to expose folks to my favorite mountains and the amazing place where I grew up and now call home. The southern Blue Ridge Mountains are a really special place!
3. When did you discover your passion for hiking and how did it change your life?
I discovered hiking after graduating collage. I completed the entire Appalachian Trail by myself when I was 21 years old. The experience taught me a lot about persistence, adaptability, self-sufficiency and creative problem solving. It made me more open-minded, more confident and it made me feel beautiful.
4. What are the top 5 tips on how to make the most of a hike?
- Don’t go too fast or carry to much weight in the beginning. If you want a challenge build up to it!
- Make it your own. Incorporate a hobby like cooking, writing, reading, sketching, plant ID, birding or another interest into your hike.
- Don’t try to keep up with other people especially going downhill – you can get hurt that way.
- Always pack a little extra food.
- Embrace the challenge. Even a day hike on moderate terrain in nice weather can be difficult. What if it’s buggy. What if the climb is harder than you thought? What if you get a blister on your foot? The ability to overcome obstacles is part of what is so empowering about being in nature.
5. What is your preferred hiking gear?
I love my FITS socks and the Zamberlan Crossers for shoes. Footwear is super important. I also don’t leave home without my Sawyer Mini water filter!
6. Do you use a multi tool? What other tools do you use?
I don’t always take a multi tool. And when I do, usually I use it for spreading peanut butter. However, recently I have been trying to learn more survival techniques and so a sharp blade definitely comes in handy.
7. Tell us more about your guided hiking trips please.
We have wonderful guides who take out groups on anything from a half-day hike to a custom week-long overnight. Our main hiking season is April – October, but given our climate we can lead trips throughout the year!
8. Who is your favorite adventurer and explorer?
Tom Marshburn is a hiker and astronaut and a really nice guy! Also, Billy Jean King and Serena Williams are tennis players who in my mind has been very important figures for female athletes (including adventurers).
9. What is your message to your readers and fans?
Get outside. Respect nature. Respect others. Respect yourself.