Appalachian Trail Histories


George Mason Student Day Hikes the AT

George Mason Student Pamela Ellis hikes he Appalachian Trail

Pamela Ellis is a second semester freshman student at George Mason University. In a recent interview conducted by myself, she reflected on her experiences growing up hiking different parts of the AT and other trails across the country. Pamela's love for hiking and being outdoors stems from the relationship she has with her grandmother, who grew up hiking herself, and her grandfather who grew up hunting in the south. Pamela day hikes parts of the AT every summer with a group of her friends; usually all females, typically of all different nationalities. 

When asked why she hikes in a group as opposed to by herself she made it very clear that she wouldn’t feel very comfortable on the trail if she was doing it alone even in broad daylight. Pamela described to me a story her grandmother told her about when she used to hike back in the day, which made Pamela very weary of ever hiking alone. Although she claims to have never faced any type of racial discrimination on the AT, she always keeps her grandmothers experience in the back of her mind.

I proceeded to ask “If you know about how traumatic your grandmothers experience was with discrimination on the trail, what makes you continue to be so eager about getting outdoors and hiking?” Pamela emphasized to me what was emphasized to her by her grandparents. She was taught to never be intimidated in the face of adversity and to never let someone’s pre-conceived notions about you, stop you from doing what you love. This is what drives Pamela to continue to hike and encourage her peers to do so as well if they are interested.

Pamela isn’t quit sure yet if she wants to ever complete a thru hike but it has certainly been on her mind. With her living on the east coast now, she says if she were to ever get into thru hiking, the AT would probably be her first experience.