woman hiked the 2,175 give or so miles of the trail, her daily struggles, and her journey to becoming who she was meant to be was life changing. She went on to break world hiking records (for women and men) and write several more books including hiking guidebooks, and start her hiking company in the Blue Ridge Moun- tains of NC. This book led to a fascination and somewhat obsession of reading every book about the Appalachian Trail I could find. Most have read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson…well, there are many more female voices about the trail. Another bi- ography highly recommended is Grandma Gatewood's Walk, by Ben Montgomery. Like other women that came after her, she was driven to the trail from hardships and pain.

Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America by Will Harlan. Carol Ruckde- schel is quite a character, a real life wild woman. The biography was written by a local North Carolinian (the editor of Blue Ridge Magazine) and her voice was so powerful that it needs to be in this list! Carol fought tirelessly, risking her life, liv- ing in the woods, in a shack, fighting the ultra rich, fighting the government, what- ever it took to save the extremely sensitive and crucial habitat of Cumberland Island, GA. The developer who created modern day Hilton Head wanted to do much the same to this pristine wilderness where for millions of years, not one but three species of turtles migrate and nest; the great leather back, the green and the logger- head, return to the exact same spot to lay her eggs. Developing this island would have been another tragedy in the story of our country. But Carol stopped them, all of them. Her story is at times almost un-

believable. Her story put a fire inside of me to visit this island and I did. Last year, I finally went on a multi-day expedition, kayaking into the wildest campsite we could get….seeing wild horses and dol- phins all the way. We hiked the far end of the island and got to see Carol’s cabin with smoke curling out the chimney….thinking about knocking but remembered the man she had shot in that same cabin….well, you‘ll have to read the book to learn all about Carol. A female adventurer and advocate for nature; a voice extraordinaire indeed.

Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World by Leigh Ann Henion. “Leigh Ann Henion has tackled one of the greatest questions of contemporary, intelligent, adventurous women; Is it possible to be a wife and mother and still explore the world? Her answer seems to be that this is not only possible, but essential. This story shows how. I think it will open doors for many.” Elizabeth Gilbert, author Eat, Pray, Love

Phenomenal is the story of a woman

who set out solo to experience as many natural wonders of the world as she could including the place on earth with the most lightening strikes of anywhere in the world. Here are a few of my highlight notes para- phrased from reading this important book that raises the voice for women adventur- ers everywhere:

- “being a good mother does not mean giving up my entire being or true spirit”

- “women will thrive when they are where they are supposed to be”

- “live nearer to nature, it has the power to disarm us”

- “being my true self makes me a better mother and my child deserves to experi- ence the adventurer part of me”

- “with smart phones and being con- tinuously plugged in, we allow ourselves to get away from nature’s wow factor”

- “Nature when truly experienced un- plugged and deeply, can be an intense emotional experience”

Additional female adventurer authors with voices that deserve to be heard:

- Diedre Wolonick - The Sharp End of Life. She became an accomplished rock climber later in life and is the mother of the famous climber, Alex Honnold

- Cheryl Strayed - Wild. This book was much more in depth than the movie and gives women permission in a way to be broken and a survivor, imperfect, but also an overcomer

Ready to hear more from some strong

and influential women authors? Visit your local library’s online reservation system to see if a book you want to read is on their shelves or in their audible library. You can reserve actual books online and drive through to pick up (no need to go inside) or utilize thousands of titles digitally for free. If they do not have the title you are looking for, you can request they purchase it and they will purchase the title for you. If you enjoyed any of our featured female adventurer books or perhaps another title not mentioned, please share it with us on our Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you.

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JoAndra (Jo) Proia is the monthly Outdoor Writer for Natural Triad and author of Piedmont Lakes; A Practical Guide for Boating in the Piedmont. She is the owner of Outdoor Women by Jo Proia, LLC., her mission is to educate, empower and excite women about the outdoors. She can be reached at, visit her website: www.outdoorwomen- or

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