Amanda “Rainbow” Hus holds the thru-hiker record for most times walking the length of Florida on the Florida Trail. She didn’t discover hiking until later in life. She lives in the Tampa Bay area and shares her stories on TrailJournals.com.
I have always been an outdoorsy gal. In fact I tend to go stir crazy indoors too long! I grew up in Ft. Myers Beach, where boating & sailing were the norm in my family. Around the age of 11 I learned that the AT existed – and decided that some day I would hike that trail!
Flash forward into my 50s.
Now in Tampa, a sailing buddy invited me to attend a day hike with the Suncoast Chapter of FTA. I went. I rediscovered my hiking dreams. After a presentation by Chuck & Tigger hiking the FNST, I signed up to hike the Florida Trail with them in 2011. Having a successful and really fun and incredible thru hike, I began to think of AT possibilities. Life fell into place and in 2012 I completed my 2nd Florida Trail thru hike and went on to hike the AT. Then again this past winter, 2014, completed my 3rd Florida Trail thru hike. This fall I also walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
So I guess you could say that the hiking bug from my childhood has bit me big time!
Place or interaction that made a major impression?
There are so many! Some as tiny as just sitting on a rock, looking out and feeling the awe of my surroundings and that I am actually here, experiencing this, what nature has to offer.
When slogging through the Big Cypress section of the FT, I get goose bumps thinking of how few people know this place exists, & here I am walking through this beauty, that exists no where else on the planet but here! And here I am.
I learned that Trail Family truly exists. I have made so many awesome close dear friends. It warms my heart to think how we were strangers so recently and now have a life long bond. I am so lucky to have found my passion – one that I felt at the age of 11, but took me into my 50s to live. I am so lucky!
On my thru hike of the AT, 45 miles from Katahdin, in the middle of the 100 Mile Wilderness, after just seeing a beautiful view of Katahdin and getting teary eyed, knowing that I am almost there, my dream coming true…..I tripped over a root. I hurt so bad, I knew my hike was over. I cried and cried and cried, laying there in the middle of the trail. When I got home, I discovered I had a broken pelvic bone. As heartbroken as I felt, there was nothing I could do about it.
I recognized how fragile we are, how things aren’t always in our control. I also realized that this is just a hike, I still had an incredible adventure. But the really memorable part of this is, exactly one year later, to the day, I got back on the trail, right where I got off, and completed my hike and summited that majestic Mt. K – but the best part of it, was that two of my best AT friends from a year earlier, came out to hike this last section with me! Now, that is what I call friends for life!
How you helped other women to get outdoors?
I have become active with our local chapter of the FTA. I occasionally lead hikes and do trail maintenance. Several groups have invited me to do a presentation of my hikes. The one big point I always try to make is that if there is something you want to do, you can do it. If I can do this, than probably anyone can – you just have to want to. Attitude is a choice – choose positive and happy. When an opportunity falls into your lap, catch it with both arms and go with it – don’t run away from it. Life is good and fun outside – get out here and enjoy it!