Joan “Hemlock” West

Joan West
Joan West

Joan developed a lifelong passion for plants, insects, and the natural world while growing up camping with her family in Oregon. She became an avid hiker during graduate school in Maryland when she would escape to the Appalachian Trail on weekends to balance her long hours in the laboratory. Transitioning to lightweight backpacking has allowed Joan to hike further and sees more, which often involves flying up remote mountains or crouching down on her belly to get a good look at wildflowers without taking off her pack.

Since 2010, Joan has shared her love of nature by leading wildflower hikes and beginner backpacking trips for Trail Dames. She is proud of her role in helping empower women who used to see the outdoors as a scary place and now see it as a refuge of peace and healing.

Joan pursued a long-time dream to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014, and has completed 1500 miles in California.


Home: Athens, GA

Age: 37


Outdoor Organization Involvement: Hiking Trip Leader at Trail Dames

Favorite Training Grounds: Southern Nantahala Wilderness of North Carolina, the Bartram Trail, the Foothills Trail, and the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.

Favorite Pack: Mariposa

I Never Hit the Trail Without: My hammock



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *