Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Women’s History Month – Adventurers

Gertrude Ederle Conquers The English Channel

In 1926, on her second try, the 18 year old daughter of a delicatessen owner became the first woman to swim The English Channel, considered the world's most dangerous swim. In spite of rough weather, Ederle beat the record time of the five previous male swimmers by almost two hours. New York City came out in full force with a tumultuous ticker tape parade in celebration of an event hailed as "a vindication of women athletes." Ederle's record stood until Florence Chadwick broke it in 1950.

Louise Arner Boyd Pioneers The Antarctic

When she was only 13 years old Boyd inherited her family's fortune and began to travel. In 1924, she visited the Arctic on a cruise liner and was hooked. Thereafter, she financed, outfitted and led her own expeditions, beginning with a futile 1928 search for a missing Norwegian explorer that took her across 10,000 frozen miles. Her scientific explorations in Greenland brought revelations about glacial formations, plant life, and animal life and she helped prove the presence of a previously unknown underwater mountain range. In World War II she served as a technical expert in the War Department and in 1955, became the first woman to successfully fly over the North Pole.

Susan Butcher Faces Down Wolves and Moose

Boston-born Butcher came to detest city life and yearn for the outdoors. Her love of animals led her to study veterinary medicine, but dyslexia persuaded her to give up studying and take to "mushing." She won the Iditarod, the dog-sled race across Alaska's wilderness, three years in a row, starting in 1986, enduring snow blindness, blizzards, avalanches and the perils of the northern wilds each time.

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