Happy International Women’s Day! Today I want to pay tribute to the woman who made camping possible. According to the 2019 North American Camping Report, majority of reservations are booked by a female. In a male-dominated community, these seven women forged ahead, paving the way for countless female outdoor enthusiasts who followed. REI wrote a spectacular article on these ladies, here is a quick recap of what they have done!
Nicknamed “Mother Seacole,” Mary was a determined and passionate traveler. She explored the Bahamas, Haiti, England and Cuba but was most famous for her expeditions in Panama and Crimea. She did endless work on her travels to aid others. Seacole published her novel in 1857, one of the first travel memoirs published by a black woman.
Bird was one of the first woman to make a living as a travel writer and photographer. She explored internationally but was most famous for her poetic description of her ascent of Long’s Peak the highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Emma Rowena Gatewood
“Grandma Gatewood,” survived a difficult life of domestic abuse and raised 11 children. At age 67 she became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail solo. She found comfort in the outdoors and completed her first thru hike with only keds tennis shoes, a blanket and a plastic shower curtain. She was the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail twice, and also become the first to hike it three times.
Claire Marie Hodges
Near the end of WW1 Hodges went from school teacher to the first female National Park Service ranger. She chose not to carry and while on mounted duty would ride in a split shirt with a Stetson hat. She remained the only fully commissioned park ranger for the next 30 years.
Ruth Dyar Mendenhall
Mendenhall was one of the first female mountaineers. Along with her husband she summitted peaks in Californias’s Sierra Nevadas, Wyoming’s Tetons, the Cascades of Oregon and Washington and the Alps. she wrote books on her journeys, leaving behind and incredible legacy.
Blum is a mountaineer who forged ahead for all women. She led the first all-women’s team ascent of Annapurna I and Mt. McKinley. She was the first woman to attempt to summit Mt. Everest. She also has a distinctive career biophysical chemistry and has authored multiple award winning books.
Jennifer Pharr Davis
Davis held the fastest time to complete a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, male or female, for 4 years. She has also completed the Pacific Crest Trail, summitted Kilimanjaro and set a women’s Vermont long trail record. She also runs Blue Ridge Hiking, a company she founded in the hopes of getting people outdoors.
These seven women have been crucial in helping women get outside. The camping industry has been driven by those adventurous enough to take a step outside of their comfort zone. A huge thank you goes out to the incredible women on International Women’s Day.
Hungry for more? Here is the full article by REI: https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/female-pioneers-paved-way-women-outdoors