Our Mission

Right To Hike, Inc. is dedicated to celebrating the life of our friend, Meredith Hope Emerson through raising funds and awareness for causes close to Meredith's heart.  We hope to honor her memory by sharing her courage, love of the outdoors and belief that all people have the right to live without fear.

Who We Are

In celebrating the life of Meredith Hope Emerson, friends and family have founded Right to Hike, Inc., a non-profit organization that plans to support causes that were close to Meredith's heart, including hiking safety.  Funds will be donated to purchase emergency solar/wireless phones for greenways, parks and trailheads, as well as the support of humane societies and others.  Meredith had a love for the outdoors and we hope to continue this message, while encouraging safe travels.

Meredith Hope Emerson

Meredith Emerson was a person who touched lives and spread sunlight wherever she was. She lived in various places during her childhood, but called Longmont, Colorado her home. Meredith, known to many friends as “Mere,” was energetic, spontaneous, and feisty. She had a loving heart and positive outlook, but was also outspoken in her opinions and not afraid to stand up for herself and others. She loved to debate politics and current events, and had a great interest in history; she read and wrote poetry and fiction. Her main academic passion, though, was the French language. In college at the University of Georgia, she majored in French and studied abroad in Avignon, France.     

Her favorite pastimes were outdoor activities such as hiking and snow shoeing. She loved animals and adopted her black lab, Ella, from a rescue shelter. She and Ella spent many hours hiking trails all over Georgia and Colorado. Meredith also loved martial arts, and had studied Judo and Akido for three years. In fact, she worked her way through those disciplines with such dedication — achieving green and blue belts — that she was posthumously awarded an honorary black belt.    

Meredith had so many friends and touched so many people, that she sometimes seemed to live enough for two. When Meredith was born, her head popped out and she immediately opened her eyes and started screaming at the top of her lungs, being heard down the hospital hallway before her shoulders had even emerged. She lived her life with the same gusto with which she came into this world.    

Meredith went missing on January 1, 2008 while hiking in Blairsville, Georgia. A massive search and rescue operation immediately began during which thousands of people from across the country contributed time, money, and energy to help find her. Meredith’s story gained national media attention. She was found murdered on January 7. The overwhelming outpouring of support in January 2008 was a testament to Meredith’s goodness and vibrance. Her family and friends, acquaintances and associates, all remember her with a fondness that is inspirational.

But it is perhaps Meredith herself who best sums up her life and her light. In her personal journal she once wrote a list of the “Things that I am grateful to God for”:

  • a warm bed

  • children who wave just because

  • butterflies

  • swings

  • family

  • cookies

  • love

  • candles

  • friends

  • Jesus