Famous women explorers

Dignity Statue, SD recognizing the spirit of indigenous women

Famous women explorers continue to inspire travelers today. Who hasn’t closed our eyes and imagined ourselves in the story of someone traveling to a distant land (or galaxy!) In this blog article we’re looking at three women explorers and how you can be a part of their continued journey.

Sacajawea – Lemhi Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark expedition explore the Louisiana territory. She traveled from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean enduring the birth of her first child, and at times hunger, heat and freezing temperatures. Today, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail travels through 16 states to approximate the route taken by the expedition.

New Mexico State Sign

Elizabeth Jane Cochran SeamanNellie Bly” (1864 – 1922) Inspired by the book “Around the World in Eighty Days” (Amazon), she did it in 72 days. Her experiences were chronicled in her book, Around the World in 72 Days (Amazon). She was an explorer, journalist and charity worker who was also known for her expose Ten Days in a Mad House in a New York City asylum. Some of the places she went through in the U.S. include California’s San Joaquin Valley, Mojave Desert, Arizona, New Mexico, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Jersey City, New Jersey – many of these are top travel destinations even today.

The Van Buren Sisters – Augusta Van Buren and Adeline Van Buren, were the first women to cross the continental U.S. on her own motorcycle. The sisters set off on Indian Plus Power motorcycles from Sheepshead Bay Race Track in Brooklyn, New York on July 4, 1916; and arrived in Los Angeles, California on September 8, 1916. In a fight for equality, their hope had been to prove to the U.S. military that women could serve as motorcycle dispatch riders in WWI. (Ultimately, their application would be denied). The sisters traveled the “Lincoln Highway” where they faced, unpaved roads, difficult weather, and were even arrested for wearing pants!

The Van Buren sisters were the first women to cross Pike’s Peak on a motorized vehicle but received little fanfare for doing so or for undertaking their journey. That changed in 2002, when the sisters were inducted into the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame.

A modern map of the Lincoln Highway plots a course through many popular U.S. travel destinations. The cities include New York City, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake City and on to Sacramento, San Francisco and many others.

Do any of these bodacious explorers kindle your interest to travel?

Painted Desert, Arizona

One thought on “Famous women explorers

  1. This is so cool Gayle. What makes me sad is sometimes the women who do these brave things have shorter life spans. But boy their lives have not been wasted.


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