Alex was born and raised in Georgia in the North Atlanta suburbs. From an early age, she always wanted to be outside. From hunting salamanders behind her friend’s house to collecting rocks and shells and stashing them under her bed. That love and passion for the outdoors led her to becoming a co-owner of Wander North Georgia where she runs the retail store and handles the customer experience. A graduate of Georgia College and State University, she dabbled in photography and ceramics before becoming an Art History major. When she’s not at Wander she is taking care of all of her plants, adding waterfall Polaroids to her collection, and keeping her feral 5 year old alive.
Courtney Scott - Co-owner at Wander North Georgia
She has worked in the outdoor retail industry for 12 plus years and prefers to stay behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly and organized. All the fun stuff like spreadsheets, and Quickbooks and payroll taxes that everyone else hates doing, she thrives on. She was introduced to the North Georgia mountains and area by her husband 18 years ago and has been in love with them ever since. Growing up in Ohio, she moved to Rabun County 4 years ago with her family of 5. When she’s not managing the behind the scenes at Wander, she is outdoors with her family enjoying the day to day life and simple pleasures this are brings.
Kenya and Michelle - Founders of Outdoor Journal Tour and #wehiketoheal campaign
Kenya and Michelle are the founders and couple behind the Outdoor Journal Tour, a hybrid health organization that merges mindfulness and the Great Outdoors in an effort to connect women to themselves, their community and the infiniteness around them.
Kenya is a four-time published self-help author and certified reiki master. With a formal background in psychology and nonprofit management, Kenya is also an avid student of Buddhism, metaphysics, and quantum mechanics. Kenya has always been drawn to the self-help industry, particularly areas that empower women. Since 2015, outdoor spaces have served as a spiritual and emotional respite for Kenya. It is her sincere pleasure to bring her unique blend of self-help to the outdoor community that she has grown to love so much.
Michelle serves as the Co-founder/Chief Operations Officer of the Outdoor Journal Tour. She also works full time for the largest airline catering company in the world. Between all of this, she has found comfort in the outdoors and strives to share that love with the women around her. As a self-proclaimed, “doer” and not “feeler”, she started "The year of Michelle" journal which has now turned into a nearly 3 year and on-going exploration to better understand herself the world around her in an effort to embrace true joy and self-love.
Together the two have hosted over 35 Hike, Journal, Meditate events for women around the country and organized 3 annual #wehiketoheal campaigns. The duo along with their 8 Ambassadors plan to double their reach in the coming year.
Adriana Garcia is a nature-loving, runner, backpacker, and ex-accountant that was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She grew up in a multiracial, Mormon family with two brothers, several cats, and an intense sense of curiosity that always had her exploring the woods behind her childhood home.
Throughout her youth and teenage years, she struggled with understanding her identity and where she fit in so she frequently escaped to what she knew best, the great outdoors. The outdoors provided her with a safe space and brought her that sense of belonging she yearned for. After years of spending time escaping to the outdoors, she realized she wanted to introduce its wonders to others. She'd always felt like it was a place that belonged to everyone.
So in August 2017, after a whirlwind trip to Arizona and Utah with a group of her friends, she joined forces with Luz Lituma on a project that would allow them to inspire others through their experiences of being WOC in the outdoors. That is when Latinxhikers was created. What once was just an Instagram initiative, is now a growing community within the southeast region.
Photo credit: Cherisa Hawkins
Emily Cox - Elite Mountain Bike Racer
Emily loves being outside and pushing her limits. She grew up in Atlanta playing soccer year-round and even into college. Going into her junior year, she decided she wanted more adventure during her college time. She transferred to the University of Georgia, got a road bike, and rode it everywhere. With her competitive spirit, she quickly found the UGA cycling team and started racing. And not long after that she was introduced to the off-road cycling world of mountain bike racing! With a very “send it” mentality, mountain biking became her thing. Emily has competed in all disciplines of mountain bike racing, from the Leadville 100-mile race to full cross-country and short-track seasons to downhill to her current love, enduro racing. She coaches and leads women’s group rides year-round as well. The main thing is she just wants to be in the woods on her bike!
Emily recently moved from Athens, GA to Clayton, GA to pursue a career in the bike industry and to live and breathe the mountain air. "Clayton is a hidden gem for trails and all things outdoor-adventure related. I am so excited to be apart of this Women’s Trail Festival and the celebration of the true beauty of Rabun County!”
Rachel Bell Kelley - Elite Ultra Distance Mountain Runner
This girl is tough as nails. In 2018 she completed the Western States 100 miler and won the Mountain Masochist 50 miler. She’s one of the top ultra-runners in the southeast, and she’s not stopping anytime soon!
As an energetic child Rachel was signed up for every sport her mom could think of. Running and soccer stuck. After high school she thought that’s when people stopped running, but one year into college she missed it terribly and got back into running with her (now) husband.
She did some road racing in her 20s but really just liked the process of training, she and didn’t care for the racing as much. That is, until she stumbled upon trail running in 2011! Since then she has ran more ultra distance races that we can count, and her love of the trails in contagious! She’s as humble and kind as they come, and when she’s not running or adventuring, she’s painting, reading or snuggling with her husband and best trail dog buddy, Emmitt. She also makes really good gingerbread cookies.
Cali Snider - Manager at Black Rock Mountain State Park
Cali Snider is the manager of Black Rock Mountain State Park, and she considers herself to be one happy camper. In less than three years, she landed her dream job of taking care of Georgia’s highest state park. Cali has been the park’s manager since the fall of 2018 and is looking forward to spending her career right above Clayton.
Originally from Tennessee, Snider received her bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation from Eastern Tennessee State University. Her first job out of college was assistant manager with Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, North Carolina before starting her career with Department of Natural Resources at Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp. From there, she served as assistant manager of Reed Bingham and Vogel State Parks.
In her career with DNR she has done more than she could have imagined including ATV training, Emergency Medical Rescue training, Hurricane Debris Clean up, chainsaw operating, and even crawling on roofs too get the job done. It is always something new and always an adventure!
Her hobbies include archery, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking and rafting, hiking, and just about anything someone suggests she try out. She also enjoys traveling with her fiancé - they recently took a trip to Norway!
Cali will be a guest at our Women Who Wander panel discussion on Saturday night!