5 Adventurous Moms to Keep You Inspired

Words by Katherine Oakes Englishman
Photos by Various

Growing up, I remember hearing the story about how my mom hiked one of my favorite trails on Mount Chocorua in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Except, she wasn’t hiking alone, she was hiking seven months pregnant, with me, up a very steep and rocky incline for miles. There’s so many reasons to love that story, but now that I’m older I realize how valuable and empowering of a message it is.

Moms give us everything and more. They teach us, shape us, and gently try to guide us to take the narrow path. Ignore the naysayers and find your tribe! Embrace yourself and love the imperfections. Don’t give up on your passions and always try your best. These are certainly words worth living by.

So, in celebration of the women who always push us to explore and be our best selves, we’re sharing 5 adventurous moms who are sure to keep you inspired this Mother’s Day.


1) Melody Forsyth

Mom, Special Needs Advocate, Hiker 

As many mothers know, there are things you have to sacrifice when you have kids. For Melody Forsyth, having a child with Down Syndrome seemed to signal the end of their time outside hiking. Instead, Ruby was a catalyst for change in the life of Melody and her family, whose passion and persistence made waves and sent out ripples far beyond what they had imagined.

The result is Down With Adventure, their social media account and platform as advocates of the outdoors for parents who have children with DS or special needs. They are inspiring, to say the least, and wholeheartedly share their journey — triumphs, trials, and more — as they embark on a mission to visit all 61 National Parks.


2) Mirna Valerio

Mom, Ultrarunner, Author, Speaker

If her moniker, “The Mirnavator”, doesn’t give it away, one look at a photo or video of smiling Mirna Valerio on a run is evidence of her contagious joy and zest for life. An ultrarunner whose defying stereotypes and cookie cutter ideas of what an athlete should look like, Valerio does it all with lightheartedness and candor. She’s been featured in major news outlets, interviewed, profiled, and even named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2018.

Valerio’s advice to embrace who you are and know that you belong, is the kind we all need to hear; being a mom herself, she’s also a role model to so many others. In her own words, “we can choose to be stagnant or we can live our lives to the fullest.”


3) Julia Ashwood

Mom, Travel Writer, Globetrotter

“A unique online travel platform for the modern family…we believe that traveling doesn’t have to stop once your family starts”, is the motto of The Vista, a travel website with beautiful interactive guides founded by Ashwood and her husband. She’s an Aussie, which means she inherently has a laid back and cool vibe, that makes their adventures seem all the more inviting.

Her story is that of an Australian-born girl, raised on a farm near Byron Bay. Years later, she lived in NYC, with a thriving and successful career in the fashion industry, only to be called back to the area after having a family. Today, Ashwood and her family of four, tour the globe, as seekers, curators, and wanderlusters. Proving to all of us that adventures really don’t end when you become a mother, but a new one begins when you’re brave enough to make it your own.


4) Rachel Sapp

Mom, Founder, CEO, Outdoor Guide

Originally from Chile, Rachel Sapp is the founder and CEO of Backcountry Pulse, a philanthropic-oriented global rescue and austere medicine education company, offering experiential wilderness medicine certification courses. Part caretaker, part protector, with a goal to empower those around her; Sapp’s mission perfectly embodies the duality of being a mom, which is both nurturing and fiery.

Alongside running her own wilderness medicine company, Sapp is also a passionate climber and trail runner based in her home state of Colorado — with super cute twin girls to boot. An active member in her community, and always striving for more, she’s redefining motherhood while inspiring others to do the same.


5) Shanti Hodges

Mom, Executive Director, Hike Host, Author, Speaker, Event Leader

If you thought your mom was active in your extracurriculars, wait until you meet Shanti Hodges. Hodges is the founder of Hike It Baby!, a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to connecting families with toddlers and babies who want to get outside. Besides having an expansive network of 200,000 families in over 300 cities, Hodges work underscores the importance of adventure in the context of community, where mothers (and fathers!) can feel supported and be encouraged to be their best selves.

Today, Hike It Baby! continues to facilitate safe and accessible guided hikes all over the US. She even has a book out called, “Hike It Baby: 100 Awesome Adventures With Babies and Toddlers” for parents to use a resource as their family grows.

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