Sanne (pronounced 'Seh-neh') Larsen Bagby, aka Ready, was born in Denmark and lived in Canada before moving to the United States as a child. Sanne's father was a nature enthusiast who loved sailing, riding horseback, and camping. She credits him for her love of the outdoors. Her first steps on the Appalachian Trail were with him during a family trip to Bear Mountain in New York; she was seven years old. During her childhood, she frequently enjoyed day hikes and car camping with her family and friends, often along the Appalachian Trail. (Throughout her life in the States, it seems, she never lived far from the A.T.!)
Deborah Berman was a recently retired nurse and 55 year old novice hiker when she decided to walk 500 miles across northern Spain. Six years later, she continues to hike, several hundred miles a year on various branches of the Camino de Santiago, aka the Saint James Way in Spain. In 2013 Deborah hiked over 1100 miles on 2 different Caminos de Santiago in Spain, one of which was done with her daughter, as a fundraiser for a non-profit organization. Next year (2015) they plans to tackle another long walk in either France or Spain, also as a fundraiser. Deborah lives in Greensboro, NC. She is married and has three grown children, two grandchildren, elderly in-laws, a developmentally disabled sister-in-law for whom she and her husband are guardians, and one dog. When she is not hiking or planning the next one, she is busy with family and also enjoys photography and fooling around with fused glass and mosaic art. She is currently writing a book about her Camino experiences.
Fran Boyd is life long outdoor enthusiast who grew up hiking and camping with her family and friends in the North Georgia Mountains. For the past few years she has been an active leader for Trail Dames and other several other women’s’ outdoor groups, leading day hikes, backpacking trips, and camping events.
A lifelong hiker and writer, Sandra Friend comes from a long line of nomadic adventurers, including Sami reindeer herders and the explorer Henry Hudson. She's the Chair of the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers, and has authored/co-authored 28 books. Sandra (Navigator) and her partner John (JK) tackled 525 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 2012 as a "Not Quite Thru" and are continuing the AT in sections. Authors of "The Florida Trail Guide," they are the go-to source for Florida hiking at FloridaHikes.com.
Judy Gross grew up in Staten Island, New York . As a child, her mother taught her how to sew and instilled in her a love of the outdoors. She has maintained a passion for both throughout her life. She entered nursing school while still in high school and received her LPN upon graduation in 1974. In 1984, she received her BSN degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and then moved to Houston . While working as an RN, she attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and received her Masters Degree in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner) in 1994. In 2004, she attended Fashion Design School at Houston Community College. A single mother raising twin boys who ultimately both became Eagle Scouts, her love for the outdoors took her on a journey of the Appalachian Trail in 2006. A rotator cuff injury forced her off the trail after almost 900 miles but she returned in 2007 and continued on to Massachusetts . The tent she carried on her hike weighed about 4.5 pounds and took up a large portion of her pack. She knew there had to be a better alternative. She melded her knowledge of hiking gear and her sewing skills to start LightHeart Gear in 2009. Judy has been a vegetarian for over 15 years. With her background in health care, she is knowledgeable about the need for quality nutrition on a long hike, and is very concerned about chemicals, preservatives and pesticides that are in our food system (and refuses to eat any of them). With a little experimenting, she has learned to cook and dehydrate most of her own backpacking food. On her AT hike, she had over 30 different dinners, a dozen different lunches and several different desserts.
Vera Hurst grew up in Indiana’s big backyard seeking a land with higher elevation. Having found inspiration while wandering trails, camping, teaching environmental and outdoor education and selling camping gear, she uses what she’s learned to infect others with the Get Outdoors Virus. She does this using her words, images and humor to encourage and inspire girls and women to move out of their personal comfort zones and take risks. For those needing more practical inspiration, she can assist with gear decisions and technical “how-to” classes for those getting ready for an outdoor adventure.
Growing up in rural Appalachia Tennessee, Shelly Huskey, aka Tenacious Tanasi, often spent her time outdoors rambling and exploring the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. As a teen she hiked many trails in the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests and loved car camping at Indian Boundary Recreation area. In her early 30’s, after many years of being a housewife, she was confronted with a divorce and custody issues. Shelly returned to her love of hiking. The nurturing support provided by the wonderful ladies of the Women Hiker’s Yahoo group not only gave Shelly emotional and psychological courage to persevere through those dark days, but it also gave her a passion for encouraging women of all walks of life to get outdoors into the healing power of nature. Shelly now lives in Sevierville, Tennessee with her loving husband, Michael. She volunteers as the President of the Family Readiness Group for her husband’s Tennessee Army National Guard unit that he works for. Shelly and Michael are parents to 5 children total ages 22, 21, 18, 16, and 2. They have also taken in their 19 year old nephew to help him complete his high school. Living in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Shelly has begun her journey to hike all 900 miles of trails located in the park. She is also section hiking the Appalachian Trail with several sections completed in GA, NC, TN, VA, PA, MA, and ME. She’s still dreaming, scheming, and planning on being able to thru hike it as well as many other trails in her hiker bucket list. You can find her online at her facebook pages Women Hikers of the World and Hiker Events.
When her third son turned 18 and finished homeschooling in 2007, Regina Reiter walked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. At 52, it was her time to walk into her dream. Getting to the trail, completing the journey, and navigating the stormy relationship waters of attracting a new hiking partner gave Regina plenty of personal experience to test her new skills as a certified Radical Forgiveness Coach. She had walked the AT to get hiking out of her system only to realize that walking in Nature for personal transformation IS her system. She kept hiking! She walked the Pacific Crest Trail and the Superior Hiking Trail. Her favorite trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail, she walked four times – once in each season. Now, she's in her fourth year as an Appalachian Trail Conservancy Ridgerunner along the AT in Virginia. Her love of hiking and her mission to help courageous women love themselves fearlessly and walk into their own hiking dreams, inspired her business, Forgiveness Walks. Regina and her team at Forgiveness Walks are on a mission to say within the next five years, "Here are the 22 courageous women who walked the full length of the Appalachian Trail, spreading a wave of peace every step of the way!" www.forgivenesswalks.com
Kathy Rioux moved to Atlanta in 1980 and started exploring the trails and waterways of North Georgia shortly thereafter. Her husband, Jerry gave her a pair of hiking boots for their first anniversary! Her love of the mountains and lakes grew as her children, Andrea and Gerard, joined scouting organizations. Through scouting, she has had the opportunity to experience the beauty of many locations in the east and in the Rocky Mountains. Her love of exploring the outdoors led her to pursue the Leave No Trace Master Educator designation. She enjoys helping others make the best of their outdoor adventures.
Carla Robertson aka Zipper, is a teacher and life coach who specializes in guiding overwhelmed people back to their "wild and precious" lives. She makes her home in New Orleans where every day feels like vacation, and she loves helping others reinvent their circumstances so they look at their calendar and love everything on it. She believes in "Less worry. More wonder." In 2009 she thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and she revisits the woods whenever she can, taking willing and curious souls with her. She especially enjoys mentoring women who have dreams of long distance hiking and want to learn to be self-sufficient and confident on the trail via her four month "virtual campfire" tele-course called Wild and White Blazing. Find her at livingwildandprecious.com.
Sue Turner, better known as Hammock Hanger, was the Out-of-Doors Specialist for the Palm Glades Girl Scout Council for 10 years. She also held the position of Head Wilderness Instructor for Camp Regis-Applejack in the Adirondacks for 8 years. Sue served as the Long Distance Hikers Chairperson for the Florida Trail Association for 5 years. She has completed the AT, the Florida Trail, Benton MacKay Trail, Vermont Long Trail, Foothills Trail, Northville Placid Trail, the John Muir Trail, as well as section-hiked hundreds of miles of other trails along the east and west coast. International hikes include the Camino de Santiago, (Spain), the Coast to Coast and St Oswald's Way, (England) and St Cuthbert's Way, (Scotland). While she enjoys the company of others many of her hikes have been of a solo nature. Sue is the mother of 4 grown children. When not hiking she enjoys quilting, gardening, kayaking and (last but not least) Red / Black Hatting.
Stephanie Wright is co-founder of Divine Time Retreats, an event company that hosts personal growth retreats throughout the year that celebrate the strength, grace and beauty of women as they move through the seasons of their lives, A certified mediation instructor and reiki practitioner, Stephanie is passionate about meditation and studying herbal remedies. When she isn't busy caring for her two children you might find her leading meditation hikes for Trail Dames.
Michele Zehr, a.k.a. Certain, is the Head Dame of the Central Virginia Chapter of Trail Dames and lover of everything Wild! Her life took a radical change in direction when she listened to that tug in her heart and decided to backpack the entire Appalachian Trail (2007/2008) despite having never backpacked before or even knowing what the word outfitter meant! This soul-journey led her to her current path of empowering women with Nature as a teacher. In 2013, Michele started her own business—WE2~Women’s Experiential Empowerment, LLC (www.we2empower.com)—where she offers women the opportunity to discover their own infinite potential and power through various types of experiential classes. Michele is a Leave No Trace Ethics instructor and will take over the role as Camp Director in 2015 for Camp Mabon, which is a powerful three-day nature-based camp offered each year to twelve women who identify as survivors of sexual abuse/assault. She hopes to move more permanently into offering these types of nature-based programs as Michele has not only witnessed but personally experienced the transformational powers of our sacred Mother Earth.