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Hike Like a Girl Weekend Was Awesome. Now Let’s Make Some Societal Change.

Last week, I wrote in the High Country News about why closing the gender gap in the outdoors is important and steps women can take to reclaim the outdoors.

This weekend, I joined women around the country (and world!) in an effort to do just that. Hike Like A Girl Weekend, May 14th-15th, was designed to encourage women everywhere to push outside their limits. Whether that means going to a new area, going solo for the first time, or hiking an especially difficult route, women all around the country joined to show their presence.

Walking and marching have long been a part of protest. But if a protester walks in the woods, does it create any change?


On my hike, I saw women of all colors and shapes reaching for new heights. Although I was hiking solo, I eavesdropped on a few groups and heard women say, “Who knew that hiking could be so much fun?” and women say, “I never knew the mountains could be so beautiful!” These women’s minds were changed.


A photo posted by Minty Winty (@minty.winty) on

A photo posted by Teresa Baker (@teresabaker11) on


Hike Like A Girl Weekend changed women themselves, too. I heard so many people say, “I never thought I could make it all this way.” In fact, I was one of those women. My original hike (trip report to follow later) was an ambitious 6-peak, 8,000 foot gain hike over 25 miles. The full extension of the hike—which I’ve only done once, 10 years ago—adds 3 more peaks and seemed far out of my reach. But, on Hike Like A Girl Weekend, I surprised myself. I was faster than I expected and added on those last 3 peaks with relative ease. I found out I was stronger than I thought. I know other women discovered their strength this weekend, too.


A photo posted by JoAnn (@joannkelmaz) on

A photo posted by Katie McGinn (@kerinmcginn) on

A photo posted by Chelsea (@chelkyrie) on

While upping the number of women in the outdoors is a great help in closing the gender gap, a more equal and just outdoors world is impossible without cultural change. This means not just changing the way that women think about the outdoors, but changing the way that men think about women in the outdoors. It means changing media portrayals of women outdoors. It means changing perceptions of what it means to be an outdoorsy woman. It means, most importantly, removing barriers to entry for women in the outdoors, especially legal and professional obstacles.

I’m talking about how women get paid less than men—even in the outdoor industry: how women have to work harder to prove ourselves as able as men in a series of outdoor jobs, from rangers to gear sales reps to athletes. I’m talking about women rangers still getting harassed in this day and age. These are the real obstacles to society’s perception of women being equals in the outdoors.

Hike Like A Girl Weekend was Step 1. Now, asking demanding more for women is Step 2.


How I Became a Backpacker

In an article that came out today in <a title="Mushroom Trip Report" href="">Trails Magazine</a>, I discuss my transformation from sedentary to migratory.
In an article that came out today in Trails Magazine, I discuss my transformation from sedentary to migratory.

As a kid, teenager, and young person, I constantly had a restlessness in my feet, but I didn’t know why.

In an article published today in Trails Magazine—an online magazine that focuses on the athletes and culture of long distance backpacking—for the first time, I’ve written about how I became a backpacker.

For a lot of people just getting into backpacking, it’s easy to think that I was just born a Triple Crowner. But like a lot of serial long distance hikers, I came from a fairly sedentary, smart-kid restless lifestyle and transformed into a lady who lives to be on the trail.

Please check out the article (scroll down: the full version in English is there!!!) I’m hoping that by reading this article, a few people (teenagers?) may be inspired to get out there.

How did you transform into a backpacker?


Everything you need to know about Women’s Hiking Issues

The Trail Show’s Women’s Issues episode is now out–featuring 50,000 miles worth of female-powered experience
The Trail Show’s Women’s Issues episode is now out–featuring 50,000 miles worth of female-powered experience

Whether you’re a hiker, hiker to-be, or friend or family of a hiker, there’s no more fun place to get all the information you need than from the people at the Trail Show. TTS is a podcast that’s been around for over two years with a well-respected repository of all news, tips, and tricks related to hiking.

After numerous requests, TTS finally put together a women’s issue show, the Red Tent Show (yeah, they really did call it that). Instead of the usual hosts, the Red Tent show utilizes the wisdom of 5 accomplished female long distance hikers with more than 50,000 miles of experience. I was lucky enough to be part of that crew (along with Angelhair, Trainwreck, Salamander, and our host, Princess of Darkness) so can give you a sneak peak at some of the topics we covered:

-Safety on Trail

-Women’s Outdoor Gear

-Women’s Hygiene (including dealing with “that” time of the month while on trail and sex in the woods)

– How Men can act better on trail

-Could birth control lead to hiking injuries?

Even though I’ve been hiking-while-woman for 29 years now, I honestly can say I learned a lot of tricks and tips from talking with these other accomplished lady-hikers.

I went into the Red Tent show expecting that we would all have the same advice, and was blown away by how different hikers have developed different ways of addressing the same issues.

To learn more, download the Red Tent show from the Trail Show.


The women’s issues specialists