There are so many inspiring women in our world. Ambassador Jill said she couldn’t narrow it down to just one woman who inspires her. She has listed three women who have affected her and why they inspire here.

p.s. this post is brought to you by the HLAW Outdoor School! Just a few more days to join us for our first session! 

As I was traveling home from a weekend trip to see our grandchildren, I was questioning myself, “How do I write an article for Hike Like A Woman about just one woman who inspires me?” I couldn’t narrow it down to just one woman. I wanted to celebrate the women who are currently in my life, who have unknowingly helped me to be the woman I am today. Each one of these women have affected me on so many different levels, each at a different time in my life.


For instance, my fantastically amazing friend, Diana Jones, is a wonderful addition to my life. She is a wife, mother, business owner, president of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce board of directors, is involved with bringing adult art classes into Meeker, is a member of the OHV club and is a passionate advocate for our small town. She has partnered with me in opening an artisans cooperative here in Meeker.  We have gone camping, hiking, 4-wheeling, been to concerts together and have bounced ideas around under the stars and over numerous bottles of wine.

She cried tears of joy when she found out I was chosen to be one of the ambassadors for Hike Like A Woman. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious ~ when I say, “Hey I have an idea…”,  she responds with a resounding, “Let’s do it!”, before I can even get a chance to complete the sentence.  I can always count on her to drop everything and go on an adventure with me. Throughout our 6-year friendship, she has taught me how to be spontaneous and how to be passionate about any idea I may have. She has taught me about “girl-power” and has given my self-esteem an extra shot in the arm.  Even though she is 14 years younger than I am, I look up to her.


Another woman who inspires me is someone I’ve known since 1976. Connie Rudd is my former Journalism/English teacher from high school. She is the true definition of a Renaissance woman.

She has recently retired from a 35-year career with the National Park Service. She has been a sled-dog musher, has shown Samoyeds at dog shows, spins their fur and makes headbands from it, builds wood furniture and has written numerous books on the Grand Canyon. She finished her career as Superintendent of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and Curecanti National Recreation Area, is an amazing photographer of nature and wildlife and is a member of the Rotary Club in Gunnison, Colorado where she now resides.

In her retirement, she has concentrated on her photography and shows her work in various galleries here in Colorado. Last August, we reconnected and spent the day wandering the streets of Gunnison where we we drank wine, ate burgers and emotionally shared our lives with each other. She has inspired me to be a strong, independent woman and has shown me that the sky’s the limit when going after whatever I want in life. I have only scratched the surface when listing her accomplishments. Forty-one years later, I am still learning from her. I want to be just like Connie when I grow up.


Rebecca’s note: Jill was kind to write this but we all know deep down that I’m just the plain, simple, boring girl who started Hike Like A Woman. It’s really my Ambassadors who are the heart and soul behind HLAW and I’m so thankful every day to have these women in my life supporting me and building our amazing HLAW community.

Back to Jill,

But the woman who is the most inspiring woman in my life at this moment, is actually someone I’ve never met before.  I admire this woman for juggling 2 businesses, maintaining multiple websites, writing books, coaching biathletes, orchestrating HLAW ambassadors and their submissions, hunting down sponsors, responding to hundreds of emails, blogging, running podcasts, leading outdoor adventures and who, every single day, encourages over 30,000 people to go outside, all while finding time to be a terrific wife and caring mother.  She inspired me to have a voice. She saw something in me and gave me a chance to contribute as an ambassador on her website, Hike Like A Woman. Throughout my tenure as a HLAW ambassador, I’ve gotten a behind the scenes glimpse of the tip of the mountain named Rebecca Walsh – she’s smart, funny, a kind and generous soul, a great listener and a talented writer. She brims with ideas as to how to get more women outdoors – she truly cares.

She has this uncanny ability to bring many women together from all walks of life and places them under an umbrella called Hike Like A Woman. She is my biggest cheerleader. She encourages me to set goals for myself and to take that leap of faith ~ whether it’s something as simple as taking a hike or something daunting like contributing articles to her website. I will follow her lead.

Unknowingly, Rebecca inspired me to start my own blog. Blogging had always been a dream of mine, but I was so very scared to initiate it.  I now see the world through a different pair of eyes.  She came along when I was at a crossroads in my life.  She has shown me how to multitask and how to be okay with not being perfect. She got me to think outside of my comfort zone and to run through life with all the enthusiasm and energy I can possibly muster. She has introduced me to other like-minded women who are in love with the outdoors as much as I am and who understand the same thought processes of a woman on the trail. She does it with all the energy of a force to be reckoned with.

She is a kind, caring woman who just wanted to create a space where negativity is non-existent and where women could enjoy themselves and not be judged.  With nearly 30,000 fans on her HLAW FB page, I think she has achieved what she set out to do.  BUT, she is not content to just sit back and admire the fruits of her labor.  She is constantly thinking of ways to improve.  And that is what attracts me to her.

Every morning, I look forward to interacting with her as she unwittingly plays a tremendous part in my day and in my life.  I look forward to her ideas and her energy.  She is a reminder to me that life is too short to be dreaming your dreams and not implementing them.  She has inspired me to share my outdoor experiences with other women. She inspires me to challenge myself on a daily basis.

She won’t know that I’m writing about her until this hits the submission folder.  It might make it to the website ~ it might not.  But, I’m okay with that. I just wanted the world to know what a gem they have in their hands.  I truly believe in Rebecca and her philosophy.  I adore her and embrace all that she has inspired me to be. Because of her, I will never stop reaching for the stars!

Every day, through these three amazing women, I am inspired to be a better person, and I thank each and every one of them for that.

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2 comments on “Women Who Inspire Jill

  1. I am ceaselessly amassed at how our life-long connections continue to support and strengthen us! Ait is a web of life we weave with each other, born of curiosity, learning together and passing it on to the next generation! Reconnecting with Jill inspired me!

  2. That’s the sweetest thing…❤️ I enjoy articles that come from the heart. I don’t know the fist two women, but it must be accurate because she nailed her description of what an inspiration Rebecca is. Great article Jill

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