Butterfly Report — September 2021

Paddling, Playing, and Planning for More

I’ve been paddling and exploring new places to lead groups, and I’ve found some neat spots all ages can enjoy! Next month I’ll be leading our Young Naturalists group and the Women Outdoors group in paddling trips, and we have “fairy fun” for our Wander Tots as well. Check out our upcoming events and signup for adventure!

Did you know we have social groups where you can meet other women and families who love the outdoors? Check out Young Naturalists, Wander Tots and Women Outdoors and join our groups on Facebook. Registration is open for events in all three groups!


Work with Us!

In our last newsletter I mentioned we’d have Job Openings coming this fall. We are excited to offer a Social Media Internship to assist us with managing our social accounts, organizing virtual content, and marketing events. We also hope to train and hire multiple Outdoor Guides to expand the areas we are able to lead Women Outdoors activities within Alabama, as well as to assist us in programs we are leading. A special newsletter will be released in mid-September with full job descriptions and information on how to apply. A brief overview of preferred candidates for each position is outlined below:

Social Media Internship

Butterfly Outdoors is found on several social media platforms, and we produce content, market events, and organize groups through these platforms. We are seeking a college student majoring in Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, or a related field. Students who apply should be in their final two years of coursework toward a Bachelor’s degree in one of these fields, and they will need to provide a resume along with at least one reference letter from a professor in their major of study.

A scholarship toward coursework and a monthly stipend will be provided for satisfactory work. Opportunities for professional development, networking, and references are also available.

Get to know our platforms

Outdoor Guide

Butterfly Outdoors leads guided hikes, paddling tours, and overnight trips in north Alabama, but we want to provide Women Outdoors experiences statewide. We are seeking experienced women outdoors to lead other women on guided hikes and outdoor activities throughout Alabama. We also welcome applicants interested in learning wilderness skills, and willing to train under experienced guides. Applicants should be in good physical health, and willing to work in natural settings year round despite hot, cold, rainy, or otherwise undesirable conditions. Applicants should also be willing and able to travel within their region of the state, and open to assisting with trips to other regions occasionally. Guides will be expected to attain CPR/First-Aid and/or Wilderness First Aid prior to paid work, but assistance with training costs is available.

We have multiple positions available for Outdoor Guides. However, it should be understood that this is contract based work.

Be on the look out for our special newsletter with full job descriptions and how to apply.


Our May anniversary hike of Section 5 is up now! We had a great time sharing the trail with 120 plus runners from the Make-A-Wish, Trailblaze Challenge. Check out this trip, and stay tuned for my finial spring trip coming soon! Please be sure to like and subscribe to the linked video and YouTube channel to stay posted on the next section of my travels.

Local blogger, outdoor enthusiast, and founder of Black Adventure Crew, Zenovia B. Stephens, shares her family’s trip to Scottsboro. This short, fun read has definitely added some sights to my next trip!


Barriers to the Outdoors

Butterfly Outdoors is working to make the outdoors more welcoming and accessible to all users, but we need your help. Please support us in our gear drive, contribute to our scholarship fund, and search for ways you can make the #outdoorsforall and #diversifyoutdoors. Another great way to aid this effort is joining communities like Accessible Alabama, and Outdoor Afro, and by donating to local groups such as Black Kids Adventure, Inc.


Support Scholarships

Our scholarship program helps us provide services to underserved members of our community, and we appreciate assistance expanding this program in 2021.

***Butterfly Outdoors is an LLC not a 501(c)3.  We appreciate your support, and pledge to utilize donations toward free services and scholarships.  However, please understand your donation is not tax deductible.  PLEASE INCLUDE “DONATION” IN THE COMMENTS OR DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PAYMENT TO ENSURE YOUR FUNDS ARE PROPERLY ALLOCATED.***

Thanks for Your Support

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Pihoti Trail — Sections 1 & 2 (video included)

My journey begins

Anticipation, nervous excitement, and curiosity fluttered in me, as my tires bumped along the washboard road leading up to Flagg Mountain, and the southern terminus of the Pinhoti Trail.  Months earlier I’d felt the call to hike Alabama’s “long trail” growing strong, and a few days prior I decided the time had come.  I loaded my pack, left my toddler with her grandparents, and set out to section hike 172 miles of Alabama’s Appalachians.  (Keep reading past the video for the full story).


Like and subscribe to my channel to follow all 13 sections of my journey!

Dirt, gravel, pavement, pine straw, and rock each supported my feet during my 29 mile journey across sections 1 and 2 of Alabama’s Pinhoti.  I’ve been impressed by the trail community surrounding the Pinhoti, and found support from family, friends and strangers as I prepared for this trek.  While the first leg of my trip was a solo hike, none of my miles would have been possible without their assistance, but actually carrying my 25 pound pack over unfamiliar terrain was all on me.  This was a challenge I relished and am excited to continue again soon!

I’m a hiker at heart, and no matter where I am in the world, the woods feel like home.  These two facts fueled my uncertainty and apprehension of sections 1 and 2, because I knew many of the miles would entail road walking.  The idea of my feet pounding pavement under a heavy pack, as I traversed county roads with “troublesome dogs” and state highways full of log trucks, was anything but appealing.  However, the goal is to take the good with the bad (as is often true in backpacking) so my decision to hike the Pinhoti northbound (NOBO) was, in big part, so I could knock out the bulk of the road walk early in this adventure.  While I am grateful to have the road walking under my trail-runners (lighter than boots), I was also pleasantly surprised by the experience.

Day one came with a late morning start, and some mingling on the trail with other hikers.  The terrain was challenging, with beautiful vistas and easy to follow trail.  My first section of road walk was mentally uncomfortable due to the common sights of Confederate flags and “keep out” signs, but the landscape and actual road were quite enjoyable.  I also had beautiful weather and a very comfortable new pack.  I was grateful to re-enter the woods, and planned to camp around mile 12.  An early dinner, clear flowing streams, and the life of the forest filled me with a second wind.  I hiked on by moonlight about 3 miles past my intended camp, then slept under the stars without setting up my tent.

Rain drops softly woke me before dawn, but the light rain quickly dissolved and I was left refreshed with an early start to my day.  I felt wonderful and completely at peace.  I trekked the last three miles of woods before beginning my 11.5 mile road walk to complete the first two sections of the Pinhoti.  Past barking dogs and highway traffic, through neighborhoods and rain, I put one foot in front of the other, and with newfound joy from outpacing my own goals I completed sections 1 and 2 a full day ahead of schedule.  More importantly, I debunked my own preconceived notions that I wouldn’t enjoy the experience, and I found a new confidence that only comes from stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.  

What to know?


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