Jessica Georgia is a hiker and member of the BRO Athlete Team. In 2015, she hopes to inspire more women to join the backpacking scene through her photo essay project: “Women of the Appalachian Trail.” Here is how she describes her venture.
As Beyonce would say, “GIRLS, we run the world.” Unfortunately, we don’t run the Appalachian Trail.
Backpacking is a male-dominated activity. The Appalachian Trail Conservatory recorded 2,000 milers by decade. From 1930s until 2010, a total of 15,524 hikers have completed the trail. Women made up just 25% of the total hike-completions reported.
Personally, I think most women do not backpack due to a lack of experience. Of course, fear plays a significant role, as well as the thought of being a solo backpacker in the woods. It’s daunting. Children and family commitments also play a role in deterring women from backpacking.
I am the mother of an amazing 11-year-old daughter. I feel a strong responsibility to empower her and to set a high bar for the definition of a “strong woman.” Most of the major media in this day and age portray women who are 90% photoshopped and it’s unrealistic. I am sure other mothers will relate to this.
Change only comes from action. How can we inspire other women to join the backpacker community? How can we uplift each other in the process?
For starters, we can begin to share these women’s stories with our daughters, sisters, and female friends.
Meet The Iconic Women Of The Appalachian Trail.
The first ever female thru-hiker was Mildred Norman in 1952. Her trail name was “Peace Pilgrim.” To be the first of anything is incredible. This inspiring woman went on to walk over 25,000 miles throughout North America.
The first ever solo female thru-hiker was Emma Gatewood, trail name, “Grandma Gatewood.” She was 67 years old when she completed it – wow! Talk about a bad-ass female role model. She then completed a second thru-hike at age 69 in 1957. She then went on in 1964 to be the first person to complete the entire A.T. three times.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like we need less of Kim Kardashian and more of the Emma Gatewoods of the world.
We Really Should Run The Trail.
Ladies, how can we form a stronger community?
I am personally setting out to thru-hike the entire trail this year. Listen, I don’t have a Ph.D. but I want to do my small part to help empower more women to do more day trips or even start planning their own thru-hikes.
I came up with the idea of creating a photo story and I need your help.
1. If you are a female thru-hiking the A.T. this year (2015) and are willing to let me photograph you, please reach out to me (jessicageorgiatv @ gmail DOT com).
2. Share or contribute to my KickStarter Campaign here.
Why are these women doing it? Do they have kids at home? Are they married, single, having a mid-life crisis?! What are they struggling with on the trail? What do they fear, on the trail and in life?
I want to capture the power of these women within the landscape. I want to photograph their highs, lows, and everything in between, from their tears to their triumphs.