Ashley is a lover of the outdoors and is passionate about whitewater rafting and hiking.
Ashley has been dreaming about hiking the Appalachian Trail ever since she was a little girl when her and her father would pick up thru-hikers and give them lifts into town. After graduating college in 2018, it was the right time to commit to taking on this challenge. Ashley was sponsored by the Thru Hiking Syndicate which is where she got her gear from. After a false start on the AT, and forgetting her pants! Ashley soon got into the rhythm of daily hiking, gaining a trail name and a trail family, she completed just shy of 1,000 miles before having to leave the trail.
During this episode Ashley shares more about her dream, the challenges she faced getting to the start line, what it was like being plus size on trail, and providing lots of top tips on how to spend more time in the outdoors.
Ashley has made it her mission to help enlighten and encourage folks from every walk of like to enter the world of nature in a safe and fun way.
“Do not let anyone’s words stop you from enjoying what you love” - Ashley Manning.
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Listen to Ashley Now!
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Who is Ash
Coming from a sporty family
Getting into the outdoors
Being inspired by her Dad and Uncle
Growing up in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains
Chasing frogs and tadpoles
Outdoorsy, dirty, romantic lifestyle
Raft guiding in the summers
Hiking for weight loss
Reclaiming the word ‘fat’
Appalachian or Appalachian Trail? How to pronounce it….
Hiking on the AT
Where the dream came from
Being inspired by her cousin
How the dream fell into place
Feelings of shame
Dealing with a lot of stress
“Nothing will really prepare you for the Appalachian Trail, like doing the Appalachian Trail”
Self reflection before the trail
Being able to start with a friend
Starting on a cold, wet, muddy day!
Dealing with the challenges of the AT
Being ok with type 2, type 3 and type 4 fun!
Dealing with her mental health and emotions while on the trail
Keeping going when times got tough
The encouragement of other is a huge factor
Being ‘othered’ while on the AT
Trail family life
An average day hiking on the Appalachian Trail
Getting gear together for the hike
Being part of the Thru Hike Syndicate (People who are doing big thru hikes in the USA)
Being collected from Virginia by her mum
Feeling sad about leaving the trail
Tearing her ACL and the recovery process
Top tips for you to spend more time in the outdoors
How to follow Ash on social media
Unlikely Hikers @unlikelyhikers
You can also listen to Ash on the Unlikely Hikers Podcast - Episode 8
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