Two Women Complete 18,000-Mile Journey Across Americas
Her Odyssey is the name given by two women to their six-plus year, 18,000-plus-mile non-motorized journey across the Americas. Bethany “Fidgit” Hughes and Lauren “Neon” Reed began their journey on foot in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2015. These experienced adventurers journeyed north via a combination of hiking, bicycling, canoeing, and kayaking. They reached the Arctic ocean by canoe on August 24th, 2022.
They began by hiking the Greater Patagonia Trail up the Andes mountain range in Chile and Argentina. They then transitioned to hiking the Qhapaq Ñan, an Incan network of roads and paths from Argentina to Colombia. (Along this path, there were short sections completed by packraft or canoe.) Then, Her Odyssey took to the sea in kayaks to navigate around the Darien Gap and up the Caribbean.
The women then split up while Hughes conquered the CDT SOBO and Reed peddled the Western Wildlands bikepacking route. They then reunited to bikepack the Baja peninsula, Mexico, and Central America. After this, they flipped back north to hike Canada’s Great Divide trail before canoeing through the Arctic Drainage until they hit the Arctic Ocean on August 24th, 2022.
While they had originally hoped to finish in 2020, they were unexpectedly delayed by the pandemic, which hit as they were bikepacking through the Baja California region of Mexico. According to a profile written by the women on the Great Divide Trail website, “(s)ince the route through Mexico was largely through rural areas, and rural in that area means aged individuals with limited access to clean water,” they decided to protect the local communities by waiting out the pandemic in the U.S.
“The heart of this journey is connection,” Hughes and Reed wrote on their website. They focused on building connections with locals and sharing local folklore, legends, and stories of women seeking empowerment and adventure. They contribute 10% of all donations and support that they receive to a wide variety of local and grassroots organizations doing good in their communities.
The duo crossed 14 countries between 2015 and 2022. Now, after a well-deserved rest, Hughes plans to turn her attention towards writing a book about their journey, she told Summit Daily News. Meanwhile, Reed intends to develop “business plans to share her passion for both pottery and baking,” according to their website. The pair are also planning to embark on a speaking tour in fall of 2023.
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