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Michelle ‘SuperClassy’ Markel

Michelle 'SuperClassy' Markel

California

Born in San Francisco and raised in the desert Southwest, Michelle has always loved travel, exploring, and adventure, having visited 37 states and 16 countries so far.

After catching the thru-hiking bug in her early 40s, she gave up a solidly upper middle-class existence to live as wild and freely as possible. Since then, she has hiked more than 8,000 mostly-solo trail miles and accumulated many thousands more on the backroads of the US in her tiny van-home, stopping here and there to update this site and her 8 social media channels.

She is a maker, and used to run a production art glass studio, but now creates primarily online, primarily in the form of this website. It’s a weird existence, but she would not change it for anything in the world.

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My time on public lands has unquestionably changed my life for the better:

I’m stronger, more resourceful, more creative, and more capable, among other gains..

Fast Five Q & A:

What’s your primary activity on public lands?
Long-distance hiking & all-purpose exploring.

What do you do when you’re not hiking?
I live on the cheap in a van, advocating for public lands. I also like to read, daydream, and destroy my friends’ kitchens by doing what I like to call ‘Pantry Challenge.’ Mostly I stay too busy trying to manage this site and the stupid number of social media channels I’ve got going.

Why are public lands special to you?
I love the freedom, beauty, and solitude of public lands, and that the forests, deserts, mountains, and waters welcome all of us equally. Time in the outdoors and nature is so important, and the large majority of us don’t have our own private wild spaces to explore and enjoy.

When did you first learn about public lands?
The first time I remember visiting public lands was a trip to Joshua Tree National Park as a Girl Scout in elementary school. I didn’t know or understand the concept of public lands then, but the trip itself was so memorable. It planted the seed that grew into the great love of the outdoors I have now.

Any other favorite spots you recommend?
So many! We live in a beautiful country.. But the Cascades in Washington, the Sierra Nevada in California, the Wind River Range in Wyoming, Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, and high desert National Forests of northern New Mexico all come immediately to mind.

the latest from superclassy adventures:

opening the heart at three miles per hour

worky worky

Cave Creek Regional Park

Cave Creek Regional Park

What it lacks in acreage (and the creek for which it is named), Cave Creek Regional Park north of Phoenix more than makes up in recreational opportunities, from guided horseback rides to archery lessons, hiking to stargazing (telescope included)!

Redlands Conservancy

Redlands Conservancy

Learn about the conservation and land trust activities of Redlands Conservancy in Southern California!

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

The only water-based park administered by Maricopa County is also its most popular – at Lake Pleasant Regional Park northwest of Phoenix, you can fish, water ski, even scuba dive in addition to hiking, camping, and stargazing in the park’s almost 25,000 acres!

Cave Creek Regional Park

Cave Creek Regional Park

What it lacks in acreage (and the creek for which it is named), Cave Creek Regional Park north of Phoenix more than makes up in recreational opportunities, from guided horseback rides to archery lessons, hiking to stargazing (telescope included)!

Redlands Conservancy

Redlands Conservancy

Learn about the conservation and land trust activities of Redlands Conservancy in Southern California!

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

The only water-based park administered by Maricopa County is also its most popular – at Lake Pleasant Regional Park northwest of Phoenix, you can fish, water ski, even scuba dive in addition to hiking, camping, and stargazing in the park’s almost 25,000 acres!

Herngt ‘Aki’ Preserve

Herngt ‘Aki’ Preserve

Herngt ‘Aki,’ which means ‘Rattlesnake House,’ is an expansive 341 acres of hilly grassland goodness in Live Oak Canyon between Redlands and Calimesa in the East Valley of San Bernardino County.