Let's Celebrate Women in The Outdoors!

Last weekend, Bend joined thousands of other cities across the nation participating in the second annual Women’s March. Over 3,000 people marched in solidarity through the streets of our little town to support the rights of their families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. 


At Wanderlust Tours, we support the cause. Thank you, Marchers! To commemorate the occasion, we thought we’d highlight a few of the amazing women who have been important advocates for the outdoors. Carry on, ladies!


Mollie Beattie
First Woman Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
“What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.”

With years of experience in forestry and conservation, Mollie Beattie was determined to use her role to fight against the forces seeking to undermine the protection of our wildlife. She ensured that 15 national wildlife refuges were created, and that over 100 habitat conservation plans were signed with private landowners. On top of that, she spearheaded the gray wolf’s reintroduction into the northern Rocky Mountains. 

A colleague remembered her rubbing cold water on the belly of a wild wolf at Yellowstone in order to cool it, so the animal could be moved to another site for release. He recalled her saying: “Any day I can touch a wild wolf is a good day.”


Emma Rowena “Grandma” Gatewood
First Woman to Solo Hike the Appalachian Trail in One Season
“If those men can do it, I can do it.”

Domestic abuse survivor, mother of 11, and grandmother of 23, Grandma Gatewood hiked the entire 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 1955 at the age of 67. She traveled light— a homemade knapsack slung over her shoulder, she carried nothing more than the clothes she wore, extra sneakers, a blanket and a plastic shower curtain to protect her from the elements. 

Although many have speculated why she decided to take on such an intense hike, she herself is quoted as saying "[I did it] because I wanted to.” 


Rachel Carson
Biologist, Conservationist, and Author of "Silent Spring"
“Man's attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”

Carson was an extraordinary advocate for the environment, blending her skills as a biologist and conservationist with her ability to write. She wrote several books on marine biology, winning the National Book Award for “The Sea Around Us” before focusing on the dangers of chemical pesticides. Her most famous work, “Silent Spring,” led to the reversal of the national pesticide policy, and spurred the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.


Claire Marie Hodges
First Female National Park Service Ranger
“O, the mountains call and I feel their thrall, / And into the saddle I swing, / For keenest love / ‘neath heaven above / Is the love of wandering.”  

Hodges possessed a lifelong love of Yosemite National Park, and was with the shortage of men at the start of WWI, she found her chance to become the first woman to work as a National Park Ranger. As a mounted patrol, she often made long, overnight trips on horseback through the park. Her garb was the customary Stetson hat, a split wool skirt,  and she refused to carry the gun favored by her male counterparts. She remained the only paid female park ranger for the next 30 years. 


Arlene Blum
Environmental Health Scientist, and Leader of the All-Woman Ascent of Annapurna 

When she’s not focusing on removing harmful chemicals from consumer goods, Arlene is also an international mountaineer. Her most famous ascent was the first successful American attempt— completed with a team of all-women cohorts. They reached the summit of the 26,545 ft. peak on October 15, 1978. 

The team had raised part of the $80,000 required for the trip by selling T-shirts with the slogan: "A woman's place is on top."