About the Author, Yvette Beetley “Mtn Minnie”: I am a 45-year-old, single woman who loves the outdoors, gardening, my dogs, photography and wine! I have lived in New Mexico for a majority of my life and recently discovered that I need to adventure more around my own state! I have one son (24 yrs old) and two dogs – a Pomeranian (8 years old) and a Chocolate Lab Mix (4 months old).

Three years ago, I was overweight, tired and slightly cranky all the damn time. We had started a weight loss challenge at work and I thought, why the hell not?! So, a co-worker and I joined and the competition began! We could barely walk ¼ of a mile without thinking we were dying and we’ll never make it back to the car and our bodies would be found steps away from the finish. A few weeks went by and we were sailing through 3-6 miles with no issues -laughing about how we almost died that one day! This was the beginning of my love for hiking and being outdoors. I used to think of myself as a city girl trapped in mountain living, even though I was born and raised in the mountains and I use to play in the dirt and have wild hair that my mother had to hold me down to pick out. I was a child that collected stink bugs and would put them in her pocket to have them crawl out on the couch just to hear my mother yell for me to get my butt outside and take those things with me. So, long story short, I was in denial of who I really am. 

The weight loss challenge was over and I won by 1 pound and down by 20 pounds! Woohoo! My co-worker stopped working out and hitting the mountains with me but, I couldn’t stop! I kept at it – I joined more challenges, I drove across several states to visit and hike the Redwoods in Klamath, CA, I trained and signed up for the Bataan Death March which, by the way, I killed those 26 miles in about 9 hours; I joined our local Search and Rescue and I joined the New Mexico Peak Challenge. I started a women’s hiking group to get others out in nature. I was loving it! 

In reading articles and joining many Facebook hiking groups, I came across this thing called “thru-hiking”! Oh man! I want to do that too! Where would I start? Which one would I do? Can I take off 6 months?! I decided on the Continental Divide Trail because it is in my state and I decided I would do a section because what if I hated it! (unlikely) A friend of mine said she would love to join so we started planning, taking Wilderness First Aid, making sure gear was right, on and on. Then she canceled. Boo! I started the mental prep to hit it solo. So, I told my son about my adventure and his words were… “I am not allowing you to go by yourself! I am going with you!”

In roughly 89 days, my son and I will be hitting the trail! NOBO from Crazy Cook to Silver City! I cannot express in writing my excitement, nervousness, and pure joy along with hoping one of us doesn’t push the other down a ravine! They say this is one of the toughest sections of the CDT and soon enough we will find out. Soon will begin the adventures of Mountain Minnie and Eli!