"Welcome all of you amazing ladies to South Carolina Trail Dames! Mary and I will be your Co-Head Dames. We love to have fun through socializing and communing with Mother Nature. We are experienced trail leaders and are both certified docents (nature guides) through the Spartanburg Science Center. We leave no dame behind and offer a variety of hikes for a variety of hiking capabilities. We are here to help you experience the healing and energizing powers of Mother Nature.
Here’s a little about myself. I became a Trail Dame in 2016. I liked Anna’s philosophy of making it possible for women to be with nature: without fear, without being judged, without being perfectly fit or without having to depend on men. I moved down here from Michigan in 2006. I love that there are so many nature trails to choose from in the upstate. I am a nature lover from way back. I was actually a tree hugger till I moved down here and discovered chiggers, lol. I used to have trouble finding friends to hike with and sometimes I hiked on my own, (not safe I know). That is why this group is so valuable.
I am a female of a mature age; old enough to retire but instead I’m starting a new career. I am curvy and feel comfortable with the extra pounds I carry, as long as I can stay healthy. Getting out and moving is a huge part of staying healthy. Now that I am older and my body doesn’t always want to hike high elevations anymore, I will be the one mostly leading the easy type hikes. My trail name alternates between “Turtle” and “Scout”. Ask me about that Turtle name there is more to it than the obvious. Scout is because I like to explore and I am usually the first in the group to check out the unknown.
When I’m not hiking I am learning to improve my mental health counseling skills, working a part-time job, leading other groups, doing yoga and hanging out with friends and family. I like art and watching HULU/PBS. I also like community building activities (particularly organizations affiliated with preserving nature). Of course, like us all, I’m not perfect. I do get lazy and procrastinate often, but I try not to beat myself up over it. I just keep on trucking. I am looking forward to meeting everyone!"
"Hi! My name is Mary Stephens (aka Turbo, because I was once quick on the trail) and I want to welcome you to Trail Dames of South Carolina. My hiking experience ranges from day hikes in the mountains of Southern California, where I was born, to several nights of backpacking through the Appalachian Trail (AT). I found Trail Dames (TD) a couple of years ago and immediately embraced the group. There have been car camping trips and local day hikes. I've been a walker/hiker all my life, with sometimes years between hikes. That should be a clue that I'm not in the best shape. But, I still love to hike. Sometimes I ask myself, 'what in the world are you doing out here?' Then the camaraderie, the views, the absolute fun, fully answers that question.
Okay, you're saying, maybe I can't keep up. Just like the United States Marine Corps, USMC, no person is left behind. I once helped on a TD hike where one member lagged way behind. She kept saying, 'I just can't keep up. Go ahead and I'll catch up.' My answer, 'take all the time you need, I won't leave you.' And so it goes.
Make no mistake, I'm by no means fast, per my trail name. That was then, this is now. I've found that hiking means enjoying your surroundings, every step of the way. And by the way, don't let age discourage you. That hiker I mentioned that I stayed with was 72, and I'm 75! So, with that in mind, come join us on our travels through nature. You are most welcome!