Danielle & I need the 2016 Badger Sponsorship

Hiking and camping gear is expensive. Having just graduated from college with graduate school around the corner, our finances are less flexible than ever. High-quality gear would hugely improve our Appalachian Trail experience. Winning the Badger Sponsorship will lessen the financial burden that comes with the Appalachian Trail commitment. So, Danielle and I applied for the 2016 Badger Sponsorship- an incredible opportunity to win top-notch gear and the highest quality food. Check out the contest prizes here. Can you imagine? The motherlode of hiking gear. Over $10,000 in trekking essentials! AH! Even getting in the top 12 is HUGE for Danielle and I. We created a 90 second video and hope to convince the Badger Committee that we need this gear and we will finish all 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Personally, I think our video is adorable, but I'm a bit worried we didn't convince viewers how capable and motivated we truly are. Let me take a moment and fill in those blanks. If at any point you feel convinced, feel free to stop reading and VOTE HERE!

Why will we finish the whole AT? 

1. We have been teammates for decades: Danielle & I played on the same soccer team since we were babies (shout out to the HW Strikers). Even better, we both played defense. We're strong, hard-working, extremely (maybe overly) competetive. More importantly, we know how to communicate efficiently- many times without using words. We understand how to push each other to our limits without pushing too hard. Fast-forward 10 years, Danielle and I were elected captains of our high school soccer team (along with Katie- another Strikers alum). Leading a team of teenage girls and pushing each teammate to be her best has equipped us with skills that will surely apply on our Appalachian Trail adventures. 

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 I couldn't bear cropping Katie out

I couldn't bear cropping Katie out

2. Teammates off the field: Danielle has always been my go-to girl when I want to talk science. I love chatting nerd with Danielle- especially anything related to neuroscience and mental health. Needless to say, we took most of the same classes and spent a lot of time together each day. Academics aside, we were both active in Student Council throughout high school. I was Class President and Danielle was Vice President. Isn't that adorable? In all seriousness, we get shit done. We know how to set and achieve goals and do not settle for anything less than excellence.

 Yes, that's Katie, the trusty treasurer. If you're wondering why she's not hiking with us, we're wondering that too. S/o to Ashley K.

Yes, that's Katie, the trusty treasurer. If you're wondering why she's not hiking with us, we're wondering that too. S/o to Ashley K.

3. We are experienced enough to hike the Appalachian Trail: Both Danielle and I participated in pre-orientation programs on the Appalachian Trail before entering college. No, we didn't go to college together. I went to Connecticut College and Danielle went to Trinity College. I guess that's as close as you can possibly get to attending the same college without actually attending the same college. Anyways, neither of us loved our trips.

Let me take a moment to share a story from my first backpacking adventure: It was pouring. My sleeping pad had deflated. I was sleeping in the edge spot of our stupid tarp tent, so it wasn't even worth sleeping under. I was soaked. It was 3am and I was sobbing- wallowing in my own self-pity. I can't help but laugh thinking back to this moment. It's so pathetic, it's funny. You might be wondering why the hell I'm going back. And it's hard to put into words- there's just something about mountains. After this less-than-ideal hiking trip, I felt confident- ready to take on college and the challenges it would present. Danielle would attribute this feeling to "the powerful transformative experience the outdoors has". It's true. Now, having graduated from college, we find ourselves in another transition. The mountains are calling and we must go!

You might be thinking "One hiking trip on the AT and now they're taking on the whole dang thing?" You're not convinced we can do it? Well, let me tell you, Danielle is quite the mountain woman. She is WFA certified and actually led trips on the Appalachian Trail for incoming freshmen at Trinity. The girl knows what she's doing. Additionally, Danielle hiked el Camino de Santiago in Spain with her boyfriend this summer. UGH that's so cute it hurts to write. Worst case, Danielle knows what she's doing and can save me. 

4. We're travel buddies: In April 2011 we traveled to Peru together. It was an epic adventure. From Machu Picchu to Colca Canyon and so many places in between, we learned how to navigate new environments and the challenges they present. We also went to Miami together with our girlfriends when we graduated from high school. This adds nothing to our credibility, but it was too good of a time to not mention.

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5. The history is real: We've been friends since we were little. We know a lot about each other. We know what we're getting into when we commit to spending every minute together. It'll be one for the books, that's for damn sure. And help us reach our fundraising goal!

 Note the Sunny D's. I'm sure Hoodsies were in the freezer too.

Note the Sunny D's. I'm sure Hoodsies were in the freezer too.

 If you didn't do this at a birthday party, you didn't do birthday parties right. Obviously we're at the bottom of the pyramid. Because we're the  strong  friends. 

If you didn't do this at a birthday party, you didn't do birthday parties right. Obviously we're at the bottom of the pyramid. Because we're the strong friends. 

are you convinced yet? 

If you read this entire blog post, you certainly can spare an additional 30 seconds to vote for two gals in need. Click here to vote! Make sure to click "Hannah & Danielle" and entering your email address for your vote to count.