Gretchen Blackmer

Name: Gretchen Blackmer

Hometown: Originally from Honeoye, NY. Currently exploring Albuquerque, NM.

Occupation: Pediatric Oncology Certified Child Life Specialist & Pediatric Yoga Interventionist

Favorite place to hike: Abiquiu, NM is my favorite day trip at the moment, especially the red rock trails of Ghost Ranch.

What’s one book you’d recommend to a friend and why: One book I have recommended a few times in the past is “Chi Running,” by Danny Dreyer. Meditation is a huge component to my solo hikes and time outdoors, and this book is great for introducing mindful awareness, especially as it relates to physical pursuits. The author very effectively explains how breathing practices and concentrated attention can improve physical performance, reduce injury, and make life a whole lot more enjoyable.

What’s your favorite thing to cook for dinner: With full-time work, full-time grad school, and full-time fun, simple is the key to my dining life right now. A slice of avocado toast or a green smoothie is great. But really, since moving to New Mexico, I’ve found that nothing is ever actually “dinner” anymore unless it is absolutely smothered in the most delicious green chile.

What’s your favorite quote: “You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.” – Rene Daumal

If you could hike with anyone, dead or alive who would be and why: My grandmother. She’s an adventurer at heart, and if she were still able, I would love to spend the day wandering the desert listening to her tell me her travel stories and learning every single wild bird fact imaginable.

What’s the one piece of gear that always has a place in your backpack: My old iphone 4S cellphone camera, perfect for capturing those “all is right with the world” views.

If you could drop what you’re doing right now and had unlimited funds what’s the one place you’d go hiking: I would love to spend a year in my car-turned car camper, exploring every single National Park throughout the US and Canada! If pressed to pick just one hike though, it would definitely be the PCT.

Where can we find you on the internet:

Is there anything else you’d like to add: In conjunction with the Hike Like a Woman Ambassador program, I will also be challenging myself with completing the “52 Hike Challenge” over the course of this next year. Although most of my adventures are currently solo endeavors, I would love to connect with other local hikers and grow a southwest regional “Hike Like a Woman” community!