Meet The #GWHAmbassadors: Sarah Carter
Name: Sarah Carter
Hometown: Lake Arrowhead, California
What chapter are you an Ambassador for?: Inland Empire - California
How long have you been apart of Girls Who Hike for?: Since 2016. When I joined, there was only an LA chapter, and we had about 2,000 members. It’s been amazing to watch this organization grow!
How did you find the Girls Who Hike organization?: Browsing Instagram, and I joined the Los Angeles Chapter on Facebook from there. At the time I was SO happy to find 2,000 girls who were into hiking!
What made you want to become a Girls Who Hike Ambassador?: I’ve been a member for years, and I’m in love with everything about this organization. I love the positivity, encouragement, and friendship this group has given me. I’ve been attending the meetups for a little over a year now, and I’ve been really wanting to share the San Bernardino Mountain area with my fellow hiking gals. I also want to give back to the group that has played such an important role in my life for the past few years, so I thought being an ambassador would be the best way to do that.
How did you get into hiking?: I grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and we were lucky enough to have a lot of parks (including Cuyahoga Valley National Park) very close to my home. I grew up doing easy trails with friends on weekends, but I never really identified as a hiker, I mainly did it for exercise because I hate the gym. When I moved to California, and met my now-fiancé, he took me camping, and backpacking (first time) and I really loved it. I started getting into hiking trails around LA, like Runyon Canyon, Fryman, and Griffith Park, and my interest grew from there. My first long hike was the Bridge to Nowhere, it was about 14 miles, and a lot of water crossings, and I remember being SO sore after, lol. My fiancé and I did it for National Trails Day in 2014, and I remember I tried to get friends to come with us, but no one would go because they didn’t want to get up early, or do 14 miles. However, we had the best time, and I became completely addicted after that. I actually made my own group on Facebook called “Weekend Hikes,” and added friends, and tried to plan my own hikes through that, which friends started coming to, and my addiction grew. Then I found Girls Who Hike, and I remember being so excited that I could find people to hike with more often, who wouldn’t leave me behind (I was always holding up the back in my mostly-male hiking friend group). Now I’m a full-blown hiking monster. If I’m not out on the trails at least once a week, I’m super crabby, hahaha!
What's your favorite thing about spending time in the outdoors?: Getting away from the hustle and bustle of “real life,” and enjoying the serene beauty of nature. I feel like I can truly be myself when I’m away from it all, and it instantly calms me, and boosts my mood.
List three things you can't go hiking without: Water (I drink TONS of it on the trail, and then of course end up having to nature pee very often on long hikes, lol). My phone for photo taking & AllTrails navigation purposes. And comfortable hiking boots or trail runners with good traction.
What do you love the most about being a Girls Who Hike Ambassador?: Meeting amazing, and inspiring women on every hike I lead and attend. Being an ambassador has also allowed me to connect with women from all over the country that I can really relate to. I know a lot of people probably feel this way, but in many aspects of my life, I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider, like I don’t have as much in common with the people around me. I never feel like an outsider within the Girls Who Hike community. Even going to my first meet up, knowing no one, I instantly felt welcomed and like I was among friends, which is not something you can say about many things. Being a member of this group, and now an ambassador has made a huge impact in my life, and I’m very thankful.
What advice would you give ladies who are new to hiking?: Join a Girls Who Hike meetup! You will learn so many things from the ladies you meet during your hike, and meet new friends to hike with you. Don’t be afraid or intimidated if you’re going to the meetup alone. I promise you, you will leave feeling empowered and so happy you went. I was an early member of the group, so when I joined we only had one official meetup a month (led by Sharron), and I remember letting many months go by, and FINALLY I got up the guts to go to a meetup led by Melia. After that day, I was kicking myself for not going sooner!