Trailblazer - Shanti Hodges
Shanti here and I am the founder of Hike it Baby. I think over the last few years I've spent more time outside on adventures post baby than I ever had before baby. It's my mission to convince the world that hiking is the best gateway into loving the outdoors and making friends. When not hauling Mason around on my back I can be found trying to convince him that walking forward is better than walking around in circles. One of my favorite things to do is to take a total NON-HIKER and show them that hiking is as simple as stepping out your door. It's especially rewarding to see someone's face light up when they have that "a-ha" moment in the woods and connect with the sounds of a creek bubbling and the birds singing on a beautiful sunny day.
Favorite TrailWahclella Falls because you get a lot of bang for your buck. Although since that burned this winter with the fires in the Gorge my new favorite will probably be something in Zion National Park since I am headed there this winter. I loved Emerald Falls when I was there last year.
Trailblazer - Annie Fortunato
Born, raised, and rooted in the GREAT state of Michigan, I’ve grown up with a plethora of outdoor opportunities and it has been so amazing to share my love of the outdoors and nature with my 7 year old adventure partner, Neko. We cannot wait to have even more adventures with our newest addition, Levi! Neko and I founded Hike it Baby Ann Arbor in October, 2014, which has helped me deal with my social anxiety, as well as make friendships that I know I would have never made otherwise. With over 160 parks in the Ann Arbor city limits, the opportunity for outdoor fun is endless! When we aren’t on the trails, we enjoy traveling, camping, and kayaking with my husband, Mike. Our family goal is to visit at least one National Park every year. Being outdoors is where I feel the most at “home” and I love getting the opportunity to share it with others - especially children!
Favorite TrailOur favorite trail to hike near our home is Nichols Arboretum, but our all-time favorite trails are Chapel Falls in Pictured Rock National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Grandma Gatewood Trail in Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio.
Trailblazer - Dayna Zaks
Midwest mama here from the great state of Wisconsin. You can typically find me hiking the urban trials along the Milwaukee River with my dog and my almost 4 year old son. I have been a Branch Ambassador for Milwaukee since 2015. I have always been a lover of hiking and being outdoors and I am blessed to have a wonderful urban trail right outside my door. My son and pup keep me motivated. Together we are adventurers and grand explorers of the wild!
Favorite TrailI have recently started exploring the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail and I am in love!!
Goose Creek, SC
Trailblazer - Nicholl Summers
Born in Oregon, raised in Alaska and living in South Carolina, I have had to reframe what "hiking" is to me and my family. It may mean walking through swamp lands or exploring a marsh. We may not have mountains, but we have no shortage of nature or wildlife. I hike with my husband Jason, our two sons Justin (3.5 years) and Timothy (2 months) and our four-legged friend Buddy. My children are are my motivation to get out on the trail. Seeing the excitement in their eyes over little things like discovering a mushroom, following a bug or tracing snail trails on a rock rekindle my love for our natural world.
Favorite TrailMy favorite trail locally is the Audubon Francis Biedler National Forrest swamp trail.
Trailblazer - Melody Forsyth
I'm a full time Labor and Delivery nurse and I have 4 children, the youngest has Down syndrome. We want to encourage all families with special needs children to get out and adventure. Our goal is to hike in every National Park in the US!! Our family is obsessed with the National parks and hiking!! We hope other families with special needs children can see that they can have an adventure too.
Favorite TrailKanarraville Falls in southern Utah
Trailblazer - Heidi Anhalt
I live in Austin, TX. I have been a member of HIB since October 2014 and have done every HIB30 challenge since its birth. I have two children who are the reason for why I lead two hikes a week and am outdoors daily.
Favorite TrailShoal Creek through Pease Park.
Trailblazer - Kayla Klein
Kayla here, I am a a 27 year old mother of four boys aged 7,5,3, and 3 months. I am a Navy Veteran and currently live in Chesapeake Virginia a small section of Hampton Roads, Virginia. Hiking around the beaches of Virginia, has me dreaming about hiking mountains. Currently my favorite place to hike is are small arboretum in Chesapeake. Its a little piece of nature in a busy city. The one thing that most motivates me to get on the trails is my children. In a world filled with technology and screen time, I want them to grow up exploring nature and using it as the therapy I've found in hiking the trails. Being a type 1 diabetic, there are challenges that I face while hiking but it inspires me even more to get out there and work through the challenges.
Favorite TrailChesapeake arboretum, Great Dismal Swamp, First Landing State Park, Pleasure House Point
Trailblazer - Jennifer Leigh Simmons
Married mama of 3 boys living in VA. Life is crazy as a sahm to a 4th grader, a toddler, and a newborn. I need hiking in my life as much if not more than them for my health; physical, emotional, and mental! I've been Hiking with Hike it Baby since September 2015, founding Ambassador of my branch since October 15, and Ambassador to Hikelikeawoman.net since August 2016 a community that reaches over 36k people on Facebook.
Favorite TrailLocally: this great little .5mi - 3 mi system located in the woods behind a local business Park called the Salamander Loop. It's a relatively hidden gem, perfect for a longer hike with kids or taking it slow and letting them lead the way. It's a perfect bit of nature. Further but still favorite: Bearfence Mountain rock scramble hike in Shenandoah National Park. If I lived closer I could do this hike every week. It's got gorgeous 360° views that reward you after a great beginners rock scramble which is challenging enough to engage you but not enough to discourage you. I've done it many times in the last two years.
Trailblazer - Melissa Hollingsworth
Melissa Hollingsworth is a Branch Ambassador with Hike it Baby Atlanta Metro and mother of 2. As the owner and photographer behind Atlanta Adventure Photography you'll usually find her out on the trail with a camera in hand. During thunderstorms she chooses to go swing dancing instead. A California girl at heart, she looks for mountains and waves wherever she can. She believes that new cities, new states and new countries are meant for exploring. The five year plan? Backpack the GA section of the AT with the kids, visit every state park in GA and hike all the trails in the city limits of Atlanta (there are a lot). Follow her family's adventures on instagram at @atladventurephoto.