Episode 25: When Public Lands Meet Instagram

Featuring Nicole Brown and Elisabeth Brentano

This episode sponsored by Sawyer, Benchmark Maps, and Kuju Coffee

Two travelers. Six weeks. Thousands of miles. Almost no cell signal.

When Nicole Brown, founder of Women Who Hike, and professional photographer and writer Elisabeth Brentano, joined forces for an epic caravan through the Southwest, it was in the name of learning more about public lands as the locals know them-- including how to better protect them.

From their perspective on how to make the most of your time when visiting new parks and monuments, to how social media helps and hurts the places we love recreating on and how we can all do better when it comes to conserving these special outdoor spaces, Nicole and Elisabeth might make you want to take your own trip to the Southwest, and maybe even leave your phone at home.

About Nicole:

Nicole Brown is an avid hiker and the founder of the worldwide community organization, Women Who Hike. Nicole is an advocate for public lands, conservation and using our wild spaces and trails responsibly. Nicole uses the trail as a means of empowerment and healing amidst having been diagnosed with SLE, systemic erythematosus. Today she is fighting to be in remission all the while summiting mountains and also sharing the stories of other empowered women through @WomenWhoHike social channels and organizing group hikes all over the world for other women hikers.

About Elisabeth:

Elisabeth Brentano is a writer/photographer based in California, but her wanderlust takes her all over the world to shoot landscapes, wildlife and the occasional commercial project. After working in Los Angeles newsrooms for nearly a decade, she traded her high heels in for hiking boots and she has been living out of her Jeep since 2016.

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In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Why Nicole and Elisabeth decided to take a 6-week road trip through public lands in the southwestern US

  • The importance of having local conversations when you visit a new place

  • How seeking out the perspective of Native tribes on public lands is crucial to understanding a place’s history and significance

  • What to ask when you visit a Ranger Station

  • Why you should seek out off-the-beaten-path locations at popular parks

  • The importance of using Leave No Trace principles on public lands

  • How certain types of geotagging can impact small local lands

  • What the new Leave No Trace social media guidelines mean for travelers

  • Misadventures and anecdotes from Nicole and Elisabeth’s time on the road

  • Why these two traveled in separate vehicles for their entire trip

  • Tips for how to be more self-reliant while traveling

  • What 2 piece of gear Nicole and Elisabeth recommend for solo travel

  • What you can do to support public lands conservation, online and when traveling

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Elizabeth Brentano making coffee at White Sands National Monument

Elizabeth Brentano making coffee at White Sands National Monument

Nicole Brown relaxing at another desert camp spot

Nicole Brown relaxing at another desert camp spot

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Sunset at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Sunset at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

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Music is by Belvedear, Hyson, Jason Shaw, and Josh Woodward.

WOTR podcast logo designed by Dani Opal.

Hailey Hirst