Women of the White Blaze

The Women of the White Blaze are yawning as dusk falls around them, their tired bodies begging them to lie down for the night. But something more important than sleep beckons on this night. Their shuttle bus driver mentioned that they might get to see the lightning bugs known as “Blue Ghosts” that tend to move down the mountains like fairies carrying lights down the hillside.

As the time drew near, Butterfly headed down the trail to the water source. She wasn’t gone long when she quickly reappeared, saying there was something in the bushes. The women grabbed their trekking poles to bravely ward off the “bear” blocking their route to the Blue Ghosts, but they were greeted instead with snorting and rooting around. Alas, it was a hog.

Meet Callie “Grasshopper” Cole, Olivia “CoffeeBeans” Affuso, Kathy “Jedi” Morgan, Jessa “Fast Feet” Freeman (twin sister of Grasshopper), and Mary “Butterfly” Adamy. These ladies from Birmingham, Alabama, are section hiking the Appalachian Trail, carving out time from their busy work and family lives to chase that white blaze.

All of different ages and backgrounds, they share two commonalities: they belong to the Birmingham Ultra Trail Society (BUTS) and are no strangers to physical and mental challenges that most would shy away from.

These women have been methodically ticking away the 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

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