On Being A GWH Ambassador: It Only Takes One Message

By Heidi Schultz, Girls Who Hike Wisconsin Ambassador

Summers are tough for me, really tough. I have been a sole parent for the last 8 years raising my daughter who will head off to college in 2 short months. Most people spend their summer planning camping trips, hiking trips, attending parties, enjoying the beach, going out with friends and having a great time. I work... a lot. This year I am juggling 3 jobs, while my teenage daughter is doing the same with 4. Most days she and I pass each other in the morning or at night, or don’t see each other at all. One of my jobs involves event planning of sorts, sometimes at the last minute, and it’s totally weather dependent. As a Girls Who Hike Ambassador thinking a month or two ahead to plan hikes is hard. Wondering if I’m choosing a day that I might get calls for parties and lose a lot of money, that’s really hard. Those are the days that I wonder whether it’s worth it to be juggling so many things, including GWH. Until I get a message like I did this week. 

One of our members recently moved across the country to pursue her career. From the first day I met her at one of hikes I knew that I was going to love this girl! Annie is vibrant, happy, energetic, full of laughs, the kind of person you are immediately drawn to because she’s so outgoing and makes you feel like you have known her for years. Through her instagram I also discovered that she plays a ukulele and can sing! I unfortunately missed her final hike where she brought her ukulele and entertained the group. 

Yesterday me, my co-ambassador, Morgan, and another member were talking through a group message with Annie and wishing we could all coordinate a friends trip out to visit her, but again, my schedule is just too jammed packed with work and responsibilities. The conversation went round and round but when this message came through I sat at my desk and got tears in my eyes. “Aweeee you guys!! I just miss y’all bunches! You three seriously played a huge role in turning my life around in Madison. I started to find myself again when I found Girls Who Hike. I got out of a really bad relationship and was lost, but then I was wandering through the woods with badass ladies and that just really set me straight and reminded me who I wanted to be. So thank you guys for being amazing ambassadors and members and humans in general.” 

My heart exploded and there it was, the reason why I push myself to take a day off and fit at least one group hike into my summer months, to be with people like this. To experience so many new trails this year has been great, doing it with so many other like minded badass women has made it all the more amazing! Never underestimate the power of being in nature with strangers that eventually become your friends. 

While she hasn’t been gone that long, we miss Annie at our hikes and she always comes up in conversation when we are out on the trail. I know the day will come when we will meet again (hopefully in Montana) with our friend Annie, but until then Happy Trails!

GWHWI at High Cliff State Park. Annie is in the bottom middle showing us her peace signs!

GWHWI at High Cliff State Park. Annie is in the bottom middle showing us her peace signs!