Lake Tahoe, California
Trail Name: Chardonnay
First African American Woman to Complete Hiking’s Triple Crown
Elsye Walker had completed more than two-thirds of the Appalachian Trail when she decided that making it all the way from Georgia to Massachusetts would have to be enough. She wasn’t having fun and lacked the determination that drove her to conquer the even longer Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada a year earlier. Elsye wasn’t the only African American on the AT in 2016. Writer Rahawa Haile finished and became one of the few Black women to cover the entire 2,190 miles. Despite her setback, Elsye’s place in history would not be denied. After hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2017, she returned to the AT the following year to take on the remaining trek from Massachusetts to Maine. When Elsye, dressed in a pink tutu, reached the Mount Katahdin summit and completed all three major long-distance trails, she became the first African American woman to capture hiking’s Triple Crown.