Liz “Snorkel” Thomas
Liz Thomas (aka Snorkel) is a thru-hiker most known for breaking the women’s unsupported speed record on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. She has also completed end-to-end thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail (the so-called “Triple Crown”). Known for backpacking light, fast, and solo, Liz has also walked a bunch of other North American trails including the “Little Triple Crown” (Long Trail, Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail) in one season. In 2013, Liz walked the world’s first urban thru-hike, the Inman 300 in LA. It was surprisingly pretty rad.
Despite growing up in the California suburbs as a “sheltered” child with a Japanese mom who made her practice piano all the time, Liz tried to spend as much of her formidable years on the small, narrow patches of open space not captured by the sprawl. Once she got to college, Liz went crazy—by hiking mountains solo in the dark before class. For Liz, ultralight backpacking transformed the outdoors from a realm of burly, bearded men with 80 pound packs to that of strong, speedy women with endurance. Since discovering ultralight backpacking, Liz has spent the past seven summers doing nothing but walking (and eating copious amounts of food whenever she comes upon a town).
Home: Denver, CO
Favorite Training Grounds: The great thing about being a transplant to Colorado is that there are so many amazing places to explore that I usually haven’t had to go to the same place twice yet. An exception to that is the Incline on Pikes Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Current Plans: Walk the Pacific Crest Trail really fast. Eat a Ben and Jerry’s Vermonster by myself.