A 2011 Gardner Edgerton High School graduate, Isabella Mullins, is a hiker — as was the protagonist in the memoir “Wild,” which was studied this fall by seniors in Brian McGee’s class at her alma mater.
Earlier this month through FaceTime, Mullins connected with a class from Ethiopia, where she has served in the Peace Corps the last 18 months. The interaction not only made the book more real to students, but may have inspired some to a life of service.
As a Peace Corps volunteer, Mullins helps young mothers learn about hygiene and other health-related practices, and she has conducted camps that teach children about gender equality, according to a press release from the district. She walks walks up to a mile to fetch water she must filter before it can be consumed.
Mullins has hiked The Appalachian Trail and plans to hike the Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails before entering graduate school to become a wilderness counselor. In that role, she would help troubled children manage their emotional issues through nature and activities like hiking and challenge courses.
In “Wild,” author Cheryl Strayed recounts her 1,100-mile solo journey on the Pacific Crest trail from the Mohave Desert into Washington state, and how the experience helped her recover from a difficult period in her life.