Aspiring biologist and hiking enthusiast Emilia Posada of Buckeye has a creative way of expressing herself while tackling Arizona trails. The 9-year-old was inspired to embrace her personality after reading the book Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle. “I like the part about playing in sand and dirt and wearing hiking boots with dresses,” Posada says. “The book teaches you that it’s OK to be yourself.”
With a little help from her mom, Cintia Borda, Posada blends her love of girly dresses with hiking the rugged trails of the West Valley’s White Tank Mountains and other challenging routes. For easier trails, Posada wears her signature princess-style dress over proper hiking attire. For difficult treks, she carries the dress in her pack and dons it at the summit.
Posada and her mom organize hiking excursions for her homeschool group. “We learn different things depending on the trail, but we focus mostly on plant life and water conservation,” Posada says. “The White Tanks have lots of petroglyphs, which we have studied, and [we] learned about the Hohokam… When I take my friends hiking, I teach them about the diversity of the Sonoran Desert.”
Because the mother-daughter team lives in the shadow of the White Tanks, they hit the trails several times a week, giving the famous dress a workout. “[The dress] has become a staple for our hikes,” Borda says. “So I already got her the same dress in a bigger size for our future explorations.”
If You Go
Skyline Regional Park in Buckeye has nearly 20 miles of trails including barrier-free walks and difficult mountain climbs.