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Calling all woman hikers!

IF YOU KNOW AN AMAZING WOMAN planning to hike a portion or all of the Colorado Trail this summer or fall, put her in touch with me! I want to hear her story. I want to meet up with her if at all possible. I’ll bring her a beer or a kombucha, an extra pair of socks — whatever she needs. Her story needs to be told! Or more accurately, the world needs to hear “her-story.” 

I’ve got this hare-brained idea to set up camp semi-continuously this August through October near one of the many Colorado Trail trailheads that grace the western flank of our gorgeous Arkansas River Valley. The goal: to meet and interview inspiring women hikers (or bikers or horseback riders). I want to compile their stories into a book that will be both a testament to the spirit of women adventurers and an inspiration to women and young girls who seek empowerment, who need to be reminded of what their inner compass already knows — that she can do it, whatever “it” is. 

Full disclosure: I do not have a literary agent or prospective publisher yet, so if you know anyone in that vein, be sure to put them in touch with me too! At this point I’m all chutzpah but lacking any practical means. Bear with me.

The idea for this project came to me about a year ago when I was day-tripping somewhere outside Creede. I happened upon a most lovely gentleman who had just come down from a day-trip himself. As he loaded his gear into his truck, I offered him a beer and we fell to talking, only to realize we had shared connections in Salida. He’d offered Boettcher Scholarship prep courses at Salida High School in previous years. Since I presently had kids attending said high school, I had every interest in putting him in touch with the new superintendent of schools. That connection was made. But even more interesting was a passing comment he made to me about his excursion that morning. 

Jessica Wierzbinski, gazing at a high altitude lake. Presumably mid-hike. (Courtesy photo)

“I was only out for a few hours,” he said humbly. “But within the span of my four-hour hike, I spoke with half a dozen women who had enormous packs on their backs, and each of them had an amazing story to tell. Goddamn,” he continued, surveying the gathering clouds overhead, “I want to be like any one of them when I grow up.” 

I knew instinctively what he meant. “There’s a damn good book in that,” I offered. 

He chuckled. “Well, I’m no writer, unfortunately.”

When we’d finished our beers, we exchanged contact info and parted ways. And I’ve always regretted that he didn’t write those women’s stories. It would be a full year later before it occurred to me that I’m the one who’s supposed to write those women’s stories. Well, not those specific women’s, alas, but their ilk. 

I might have forgotten entirely about this chance encounter on a trailhead outside of Creede except that a few months ago, when it was too cold to bike and I was too tired to ski, I took a side amble up the Colorado Trail just east of Maysville. There I was with my water bottle and nothing else, when alongside me came an extraordinary specimen of a woman carrying everything she’d need for a week — maybe a month — on her back. “Holy shit,” I thought. “Where are you going and why are you out here?” In an instant, I wanted to know everything about her. But in that same instant she had passed me by, and I realized I would never know her story. 

Unless I stopped her and asked her. 

That’s what this project is about. Slowing the hell down and asking that haggard hiker I’m brushing shoulders with, “Why are you here? Where have you been? What would you say to 10-year-old you? To 20- or 30- or … 80-year-old you? Who are you?” And follow-up questions later like, “What did the trail teach you?”

So I’ll pitch it again. If you or some amazing woman you know is planning to hike part or all of the Colorado Trail this late summer or fall, please hit me up! I’ve set up a “pitch” form on my website so you can connect with me easily and safely. Tell me why you’re out there. Shoot me your info and a brief bit about yourself and your journey. Even if you’re not a confident writer and even if you’re not planning to do the entire Colorado Trail, I want to hear your story so I can share it with others. I’d love to come meet you on the trail later this summer or fall. Please reach out if you feel inclined to share. 

Pitch your story to me at I can’t wait to meet you inspiring, courageous women. I love you already.

One Comment

  1. Jess Wierzbinski Jess Wierzbinski August 15, 2023

    QR code is in the print article, but you can also just visit to submit your pitch. ~Jess

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