Bethany Hughes has hiked, paddled, and cycled over 22,000 miles across 27 countries. In 2022 she completed the Her Odyssey Expedition, leading a human-powered endeavor connecting the Americas and telling the story of the land and its inhabitants.
She has written and published over 500 blogs/stories, featuring the Herstory series which highlights tales of women forging frontiers in exploration, art, business, mental health, body image, identity, education, and across generations. Her writing has been published by partners such as Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Therm-a-Rest, and Sawyer with photographs, and she has been featured in and contributed content to Outside Magazine.
Growing up climbing in the Andes and jungles of Latin America, at first as the daughter of missionaries and later by choice, Bethany has spent more than half her life abroad. She focuses on education, exploration, and community building, bringing a unique Third Culture perspective to the conversation. For more than 20 years she has been writing, recording, and sharing human-powered adventures with followers across the globe.
She majored in Institutions & Policy in the Oxbridge Honors Program at William Jewell College. She worked summers as a Philmont Ranger for the Boy Scouts of America. Preparing for her first thru-hike, the Pacific Crest Trail, she worked for Alaska Icefield Expeditions dog sled teams in Tongass National Forest along Alaska’s Inside Passage. For the past 12 years, she has focused on planning and pursuing the Her Odyssey Expedition and mission.
For five years Bethany worked as a Health Navigator for the Family & Intercultural Resource Center in Dillon, CO. She found her home base among the Summit County community, volunteering with SOS Outreach and the local school districts and Scout troops, and began saving and preparing for Her Odyssey. She independently route-planned, connecting historic and digital resources and tracks into a one-of-a-kind route.
Over the course of the 18,221 mile expedition the Her Odyssey team connected with local communities, often traveling as they did: by foot, bike, and boat. Thanks to industry partnerships with companies like Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Sawyer, Cascade Designs, Xero Shoes, Granite Gear, and many others the Her Odyssey athletes engaged in thru-hiking, river rafting, sea kayaking, bikepacking, and canoeing.
Bethany used a combination of satellite imagery and map planning resources such as Garmin Explore and later, Gaia to plot a route, which was then amended by local information and political situations encountered while ground-truthing. Her Odyssey’s unique route connected indigenous and historic herding and migration routes and ancient road systems such as the Qhapaq Ñan, to developing trail systems like the Greater Patagonian Trail, Continental Divide and Great Divide Trails to the Arctic Drainage. Thereby forging a connection across 125° of latitude, from the Beagle Channel outside of Ushuaia, Argentina to the Beaufort Sea of the Arctic Ocean at the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk.
Bethany began working on a book about Her Odyssey on a 4 month residency at Elsewhere Artist Studios in Paonia, CO. In 2023 she concluded the digital storytelling and trail journals and has dedicated her focus to developing a text and making public presentations emphasizing the importance of connecting wilderness to health and decision making. Most days she can be found somewhere along the nearest river in her packraft or tucked up into the Sierra foothills with a good book and a blank journal.