hike like a woman
Volume 7: September 2018
BECOME A MEMBER:
ADVENTURE BOOK CLUB
MAGAZINE AND GEAR GUIDES
HIKE LIKE A WOMAN LOCAL GROUPS IN YOUR AREA
CLASSES AND CHALLENGES
Page 1: NEW SECTION! What Did He Say? The Things My Husband Says On The Trail
by Crystal Osborn
Page 3: Who Is Your "Sole Sister?"
Page 9: NEW SECTION! Backpacks And Books by Jessica Hubbard
Page 11: Recipe: Amazeballs by April McPherson
Page 12: Gear Review: Sawyer Mini Filtration System by Cheryl Ridlon
Page 13: NEW SECTION! Twisted Trails by Lori Roberts
Page 15: Product Review Previews
Page 16: NEW SECTION! Trail Tales and Backpacking Fails by Jill Dunbar and Christina Brickwedde
Page 18: Take Your Daughter On A Hike Day
Page 19: NEW SECTION! Backcountry Daydreams by Kathryn Petroff and Michelle Long
Page 20: NEW SECTION! Of Tails and Trails by Sarah Kyllo
Page 22: Recipe: Mexican Brownies by Jessica Hubbard
Page 23: NEW SECTION! Just Breathe by April McPherson
Page 24: NEW SECTION! The Hometown Tourist by Jenn Wanders
Page 25: NEW SECTION! International Adventures by Marianne Hoffman
Page 28: Recipe: Let’s Go!! Matcha Energy Bites by Maya Love
Page 28: Gear Review- First Thoughts: Keen Terradora Evo Boots by Lori Roberts
Page 29: Article: Healing In Nature and Sisterhood by Emily Marquis
Page 30: Reader's Submissions: "Sole Sister"
Page 32: Letter From The Editor by Lucy Walker (Magazine Editor of Hike Like a Woman)
Soooo much awesomeness... so make sure you check us out here:
she looks like you and not me"
These last few months my family and I have been on a hiking hiatus. I was in the final trimester of my pregnancy (with our little girl Julianna) and told to not walk more than a mile a day. I tend to have rough pregnancies, and get put on some kind of rest towards the end. This time was no different. So this article is going to be a little different. Instead of it being about what my husband says on the trail, it’s “What Did He Say - Delivery Room Edition”!
Our second daughter was being born via planned c-section (repeat), so we had a good idea of what to expect and knew what to pack. I was busy packing loads of comfy clothes, everything I’d need for nursing, and of course all the baby stuff. My husband, on the other hand, was packing a suit. This didn’t shock me one bit. You see, when our first daughter was born he wore dress clothes in the delivery room. He said he wanted to look nice when his daughter got to see him for the first time. All the while I look like I’ve been hit by a semi truck on the operating table, lol! This time around I helped him get his dress clothes picked out and put together so when he got to meet his new bundle of joy she’d see him looking nice.
We got to the hospital, checked in, went to our room, and I started to get prepped for surgery.
Here I am in the hospital bed, getting my IV put in, blood drawn, and all the necessary tests done while my husband is hiding his face in the corner because he can’t stand the sight of needles. The whole time I kept reminding him that the IV was a tiny needle, and the noises he was hearing were only going to get louder when we were in the operating room. It became a running bet if he was gonna “go down” (faint) in the OR. Poor guy is so squeamish. Luckily, he didn’t pass out, he was able to hold my hand and help me through the whole process, I’m very grateful because I needed it. I had a horrible reaction to the Spinal anesthesia which caused me to vomit and dry heave almost the whole time during delivery. I was so scared, laying on my back, only able to turn me head to vomit stomach acid. My greatest fear was suffocating on the OR table, but Jeff helped me try and relax and kept me calm. After a few minutes, and lots of pressure, little Julianna was born! The first words out of my husband’s mouth was “aw man, she looks like you and not me” with this little smirk on his face. (Yes, he’s joking everyone). I laughed because our other daughter is a spitting image of him, and he was so hoping to have another blond haired/ blue eyed girl. Instead, Julianna came out with dark hair, dark eyes, and a tanner complexion.
It’s been almost 2 weeks since we had our second daughter and we are adjusting to normal life, or as I like to call it “The New Normal”. And as I sit here, looking at photos from the delivery day of my husband in his nicest dress clothes, fresh out of the OR, holding our daughter, all Ican do is smile and laugh. He’s an amazing father and husband!
Now, the countdown is on until I can hit the trails again. This time with both our girls and the kooky husband who always makes me say, “What did he just say?!”
Crystal and Jeff "The Diva"
WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?!?!
The Things My Husband Says
On The Trail
By Crystal Osborn
Who is your "Sole Sister"?
"Sole" because it's not about where you came from but where you are going.
"Sister" because she will go down any trail with you whether is be easy, difficult, dirt, water, grass, rocks, etc.
Local Sole Sisters
by Annie Copeland
I knew for myself the trip was everything I wanted it to be. The trail was beautiful, the weather was great, and I felt challenged but accomplished. I wasn’t sure if everyone else felt the same way. I worried that it had been too much for them or that they didn’t find the same sense of connection with nature as I did. But those fears subsided when the topic of what we were planning for next year came up at our celebratory dinner out. Maybe I have a few “sole sisters” after all.
I did not come from a family who hiked. My mother was too busy trying to put food on the table and my dad was off somewhere with wife number 3 – or 4 – I forget. We didn’t know anyone who hiked, and we had no family around, so where did my undeniable need to get (and stay) on the trail come from? For the answer to that, I have to go all the way back to 7th grade.
Ms. Boss was my Science teacher, but she was really so much more – she was my mentor who helped develop my love for the outdoors. Whenever possible, our classes were held outside – even occasionally in the winter. She would take us to the woods next to the school and show us the life that was all around us. She taught us what we could eat and what we couldn’t, what plants were medicinal, and which were poison and how all of the animals and insects depended on each other to survive. She even somehow managed to get permission to take us on an all-day hike to pick blueberries! (Ah, the 70’s – before SOLs)
By the time that class was finished, I was inherently changed. Since that time - and we’re talking 40 years – my heart has belonged to nature. As soon as I get back from a hike, I start planning for the next one. Heck, I even live in the woods! As soon as my boots hit the trail, parts of me relax that I didn’t even know were tense. I feel peace, joy, and the sense of being “home”. I love it – and I am forever grateful to Ms. Boss – my most beloved Sole Sister.
I was hesitant to start a local hiking group through Hike Like A Woman. I was leary of meeting strange women in the woods, of hiking with people I wasn’t used to. It was definitely outside my comfort zone to say the least but it also offered up a way to connect with other women in my area and connect them to our community.
Hike Like A Woman Heartland’s River Region was born and I was nervous to schedule my first hike. What if they didn’t like my pace? What if we didn’t click? What if……….? “All the questions of doubt ran through my head like a player piano spitting out an endless tune.
There has never been a great number of women to attend my local hikes but I do have a core group of women that are almost always joining me for some adventure. This core group has become my “Sole Sisters”
We’ve trodden many trail types, long ones, short ones, flat ground to sandstone bluffs. We’ve even hiked more than one trail in a day. These “sole sisters” of mine have hiked trails where if we stopped we were instantly feasted upon by hordes of mosquitoes, been covered in ticks, chiggers, sweat and even a few snowflakes.
Over the miles, hills and through the woods we’ve formed a bond. We laugh, talk, and learn from each other as we huff and puff our way through the woods. Each outing I learn a little more about them, it can be something that teaches me how different we are or it can something that teaches me how much we have in common.
They don't judge my pace, in fact they keep it with me, despite the fact I hike more like a turtle rather than a woman. They're patient with my need for pics or videos, even offering to pose or coming up with creative ideas for them.
They actually encourage others in their hiking hobbies. Many of us enjoy not just hiking but finding heart shapes in nature, studying plant life, creatures big & small or just having a good talk while surrounded by nature. Whatever it is, they are there for support and to help you in your endeavors.
I stepped outside my comfort zone, finding not just some great gals to hike with but a group of “Sole Sisters” who share my passion for nature as well as nurturing others. Now I look forward to our monthly hikes and get even more excited when someone knew joins us instead of dreading meeting a strange woman in the woods.
Finding My Sole Sisters
I’ve never had a lot of what I would consider “sole sisters” – at least, not when it comes to outdoor adventures. Most of my friends and family gave me funny looks when I started hiking. They couldn’t understand why I would use up holiday time to go slog through the backcountry for days only to come out dirty, sore, and with my feet full of blisters. As much as they liked hearing about my trips, they never showed any interest in trying it for themselves or coming along for the ride.
So, when my aunt suggested we plan a trip together I jumped at the idea. She had done a lot of hiking when she was younger and was, in fact, my inspiration for tackling the Chilkoot Trail. It had been a long time since she had backpacked and thought it would be fun to get back out there. We decided we’d throw the idea out to the rest of the family and see if anyone else was interested. I wasn’t expecting much of a response.
I was pleasantly surprised when four other women from my family came back and said yes! I got busy planning – researching trails, organizing permits, and making gear lists. Besides myself and my aunt, no one in the group had done a backpacking trip before and I wanted it to be something they wouldn’t forget. We settled on the Galatea Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country. We would spend the night at Lillian Lake, a backcountry campground that overlooks a picturesque alpine lake. I hadn’t hiked this trail before but from online reports, it didn’t sound like anything we wouldn’t be able to handle.
We headed out of Calgary on a cool morning in August. Our timing just happened to be perfect as the recent heatwave had subsided and the wildfire smoke cleared up as we hit the trail. There were three mother-daughter pairs in our group, six women who I never would have thought would be making their way into the Alberta backcountry together. I felt proud of each one of them as we followed the trail along the creek, through the woods, past gorgeous alpine vistas, and finally to Lillian Lake. The hike was a lot harder than I was expecting. The trail challenged us and we were all happy to drop our heavy packs for the night.
As a group, we worked our way through the usual backcountry rituals – set up camp, filter water, prepare dinner. We spent the evening around the campfire, chatting with other hikers who were also spending the night at Lillian Lake. We passed the chilly night snuggled in our sleeping bags and woke to the sun breaking over the mountain and spilling across the lake. After coffee, breakfast, and packing up, we headed back out along the same trail. The tough uphill sections from the day before were now precarious downhill sections and we slowly and carefully made our way back to the trailhead.
Mentors from the Past by Valerie Hopkins
During the spring/summer 2018 I fell in a deep crevasse and shut down. I’m special needs mom of a beautiful nonverbal autistic boy. It can be very isolating. Sometimes I get so wrapped in our kids’ schedules, doctors, therapies, IEP’S that I forget to take care of me. Hiking is a form of self-care for me. It helps me refocus and feel refreshed. During this time, I could barely set foot outside, let alone hike.
In March 2018 my life was a train-wreck. We almost lost Raylan at Children’s Hospital/ ICU in Denver. I held my son in my arms as he seized and spiked a fever of 104 degrees. His oxygen dropped to 68. I was afraid he would go to sleep and never wake up.
A month later after an extensive hearing test and several MRI’s, Raylan’s doctor looked at me and said, “Prepare yourself, he may never talk.” In that moment everything around me crashed. I began to cry uncontrollable as I sat waiting for him to come out of surgery. It was then my spiral turned into a twister.
Bonnie, my dearest Bonnie. She’s a rock and a beautiful sole. Her son Max is in Raylan’s preschool class. Bonnie has been a source of light for me whenever I’m in a dark place. Words cannot describe her. One day she asked me to take her hiking. We went to my favorite place “Medicine Bow Peak”. She didn’t care it was a 2-hour drive and that we’d be wrangling five kids. She gets it.
Bonnie came into my life at a crucial and huge turning point. After Raylan was diagnosed with Autism, I began to cope by overloading my plate with busy work. Anything to get my mind off reality. Then Bonnie stepped into my life. That day we went to Medicine Bow Peak, was the day she pulled me out of my cage. I realized I was not alone and that through nature I can heal. With nature I can connect with my children and friends in ways unattainable anywhere else.
Bonnie found a way to connect with me. Through the mountains or a local park, I will hike anywhere with her. She is indeed my Sole Sister.
We all have that one person that we see ourselves growing old with. You’ll wear your grey hairs with pride. You’ll say things like “darn kids these days”. You’ll have matching jackets. You’ll be that pair that people see and think to themselves “I hope I’m like that when I’m older”.
Your sole sister.
During the week you struggle to find time to connect. Work and kids and life get in the way of getting to spend time with each other. Your lives are different. She works full time while you stay home with the kids. You live the single life while she’s married. She eats organic while you’re a sucker for a good drive-thru. She likes rock n’ roll while you like country.
You’re different. Until…
You get on the mountain.
Suddenly, nothing else matters than you, your sole sister, and the trail. When you’re together you’re the same person. You share a passion for the outdoors and it brings you close. You share stories of your personal lives. You offer encouragement and support when live is challenging, as well as when the trail becomes more difficult. You look to each other for direction in personal matters, as well as when the path forks. You congratulate accomplishments in work, motherhood, and life, as well as at the top of a mountain.
Simply spending time with each other is enough to rejuvenate you both. However, considering she’s your sole sister you’re both revitalized by your sisterhood, the power of women uniting, AND by nature.
Cherish your sole sister. She’s your strength, your inspiration, and your best friend.
Besides all that, who else are you going to conquer mountains with wrinkled, braless, and carefree?
Growing up I was a tomboy. And being a tomboy meant that I usually had a lot of guy friends. Sometimes throughout my life I have only had guy friends. At one point a new woman started at my office and we had a little in common and began hanging out. I remember telling my best guy friend how excited I was to have a female friend.
In fact, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was so desperate for that close female bond, that I overlooked her flaws and how much we didn’t have in common. It was almost like I had crush on her – a bestie crush. In the end, she only became my friend because she had a crush on my best guy friend. So when they broke up, she dropped me like a sack of rotten potatoes.
And despite the fact that she hurt me pretty badly, the lesson I learned from that relationship I wouldn’t redo any of it. We ended up not really having anything in common. She changed her ways to fit in with me and to impress my best guy friend.
I found myself going for pedicures and loaning hiking boots. I longed for that female bonding. And though that was the only time I have ever been for a pedicure, I really enjoyed the besties day out.
After that relationship, I learned how important having a soul sister was. I have a real sister and we are close. And I have a best friends, whom I’ve extremely close with as well. And I love these relationships.
The only unfortunate thing about those relationships, is that neither of them live in the same town as I do. So going to happy hour or a night hike after work to vent about frustrations doesn’t really happen.
When I met my coworker and we began to hang out, it was like a breath of fresh air. I finally had someone in my town that I could do lunch with, or go out for drinks with, when the mood hit.
I did have that with my best guy friend, but it’s just not the same. A soul sister is just special. A soul sister is someone my you can share you secrets with. Someone you can gush about the guy your dating with. Someone you can ask, “Is this thing normal?”
A soul sister can give you advice on hiking and backpacking in a way that a male best friend can’t. By the way, feminine wipes are the bomb!
After my coworker and my best guy friend broke up and we parted ways, I realized how much I craved a soul sister. It made me appreciate my best friend and sister so much more also. It really showed me the value of having that close female relationship.
From the moment I arrived at the Hike Like a Woman Ambassadors Retreat until the moment I left, I had an overwhelming sense of belonging. As I recognized each of these women as sister, I also accepted my place as their sister. Some of the women I have met before in person, but only briefly. Some I knew only on line and some I knew not at all. It was beautiful to share space with these wonderful women for more than a moment.
We are each unique and different from the other. We come from all over. As far north as Vancouver, BC, from the southern hemisphere in Ecuador; East and West in Baltimore, Oregon. We are all spectrums of the age range, young and not-so-young. Several of us are Grandmas or at least Grandma age. We are tall, short, large and little. We are all levels of fitness and abilities.
We are the poster child for ‘your looks or abilities do not determine your worthiness’. We are NOT the perfectly poised, coiffed instagram photos you see of many outdoor women. (Though some of is are certainly physically lovely enough to do this kinda thing if they want) Inclusivity begins with being real. We are real women, every day women. Some are outdoor pros, but most of us are not. Whether you get outside for 1 mile, 20 miles or somewhere in between, you belong.
There is an easy acceptance among this group of outdoor women and I think for most groups of outdoor women. There's an absence of judgement and a desire to help that is welcoming.We inspire and encourage one another. We always have each others back. Always. The outdoors are the
"Darn Kids These Days"
by Sam Palmer
The Importance of a Sole Sister
by Mara Kuhn
by Michelle Carner Long
by Mickey Sanderson
From Different Mothers
by Jill Dunbar and April Mcpherson
great equalizer. 1500 feet elevation gain in one mile is difficult for everyone, just invarying degrees.
I've made the best friends of my life since I began hiking. Our paths may not have crossed in the real world, but they did on the trail. Nowadays we share all kinds of interests together. Music, poetry, books, and volunteer work. My life has been forever enriched by my sole sisters. You know who.you are. I'm forever grateful for the love.
Jill’s Story: My husband and I hike and backpack together all the time. We’ve been pounding out the miles as a team for almost 40 years. We are partners on the trail. I really don’t have anyone else to hike with, nor have I felt the need to hike with anyone else. I have a few friends that like to get out every now and then, but they aren’t as avid a hiker as I am.
A few years ago, when I became a Hike Like A Woman Ambassador, the world of hiking took on a different look for me. I saw pictures and began to read stories and of small groups of women, friends, hiking and giggling on the trail together. As I became more involved with the HLAW community, I began to crave the experience of hiking with other women. I wanted to share the trail with another woman, too!
Women are a special breed. We see the world differently than men do. The colors seem brighter, the clouds take on different shapes other than a duck or a dinosaur, all the animals are our friends and the wind whispers to us. I dreamed of a Sole Sister to share the same experiences with...
April kind of fell onto my path. If it weren't for the fact we were HLAW connected, we would have never met. I haven’t known her really that long. In fact, I met her almost a year ago. We’ve hiked together only three times. She lives in another state. She’s 28 years younger than I am. We come from completely different backgrounds. Our commonality? ADVENTURE.
HLAW brought us together. Adventure is the glue that holds us together. We have road tripped together, we have driven 6 hours to adventure together, spent a few weekends together and have daily conversation. We have plans to have many more adventures together. I don't have anyone like her in my life - she will be part of me forever. She is my Sole Sister.
It’s a funny thing, about Jill and I. How we met maybe not so much, but just how instantaneous connections can be. In reference to “Sole Sisters” and it being more about the places we go together instead of where we came from to begin with, our story is a perfect example. An example that age makes no difference when a commonality is found and our adventures are always just that, adventures. Conversations are never sparse, judgement is non-existent, and we sort of just get each other. Every adventure we have is different from the last, yet each time we get together it feels as if we are picking up from where we left off the time before. To find such a connection in such a roundabout way (that honestly would not have happened if not for Hike Like a Woman), is a rarity in life and something you hold close when it comes your way.
We all have that special person in our lives; the one that hears your woes, your triumphs, your fears and is comfortable in each other’s silence. I’m talking about our trail sole sisters. In my case, I just can’t choose one…I have many and each are very valuable in my life. They remind me every day that I matter, I belong, and I am liked.
I was lucky this past year to be part of Hike Like A Woman. Being an ambassador was a highlight in my life. I have been blogging side by side with these ladies for an entire year but never met them. At the end of each year, Rebecca, the founder of HLAW holds a reunion for the alumni ambassadors. That is where I found my worldly, Sole Sisters. We are women from all
over the world with different beliefs, backgrounds and thoughts. However, we all have one thing in common and that is the respect and love for the outdoors. It’s a magical thing that we were brought together and instantly liked one another. When we went for our first hike there was nothing but support,encouragement and patience. There was no judgment and every bunch of steps the group that was ahead waited patiently for all to catch up. I really loved that. It’s as if our hearts recognized each other and knew our friendships would carry on for a lifetime.
My local sole sisters that I spend weekly with are so important for wellness of my soul. I call it self-care. The only way I can tackle my work week is to spend a day outdoors with my tribe. My chosen activity is hiking. I can walk the trails in complete silence, vent, touch my surroundings or listen to the sweet sounds nature delivers. My sole sisters know what I am capable of but challenge me to overcome my fears and better myself.
Whether it’s from far away or local my sole sisters are my tribe that I am blessed to have in my life.
This is my sole sister Kimyetta with me, HLAW Ambassador Alumni Felicia. We come from far different places within the US; Kimyetta was born in New York and I was born and raised in Texas. When Kimyetta was still young she came to California and I didn’t make it out west to settle until I was thirty. It took our first kiddos joining a recreational soccer league at age three for us to meet, and boy was that some fun bonding! She home schools her two kiddos and has her own photography business, while I am an attorney for an insurance company and am currently out on maternity leave with my third child. Our typical days are very different.
Regardless, we find a common bond in our love for our families, the community we live in, the importance of friendship in our lives, and a love of the outdoors. Whenever I get the itch to go on a hike, whether with kiddos or just ladies, Kim does what she can to be available and is naturally one of the most flexible people I have ever met. If I say I want to leave super early, she’s there. If I have my hands full with baby at a trail head, she’s applying sunscreen to my seven year-old (or will hold baby so I can go pee behind a rock!). She always has enough snacks to share with everyone, is patient and kind, and just rolls with it! I sometimes get anxiety when things aren’t exactly how I’ve planned them, and she’s helped show me it’s going to be just fine. She makes having a good time so much easier and I’m so thankful to have her as my sole sister on the trails!
by Lori Roberts
by Felicia Kemp
Off Trail: Finding My Way Home in the Colorado Rockies
by Jane Parnell
Belonging; a desire inside each of us to feel welcomed and embraced, not for being the same, but for being ourselves, for following our hearts and dreams, even when life is hard, and painful, and sometimes tragic.
Jane Parnell’s quest to belong to a place that accepts her for who she is takes her across the plains of Kansas to the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she embraces the life of a mountaineer at a time when the word woman was not synonymous with mountaineering.
Parnell recounts her youth of summers spent in the Rockies with her parents and older sister, and her love for the mountains. After graduating high school, and her sister, Alice newly diagnosed with schizophrenia, Parnell accepts an invitation to enroll at Colorado College, leaving her family behind to begin her life and seek out adventure.
She finds comfort in a relationship with her co-worker and soon to be husband, Karl. He introduces her to the world of topographic maps, steep climbs, and breathless views as they explore the tallest peaks of Colorado together. It seems nothing can get in the way of happiness until she is assaulted by an officer from a local military base. Her world is turned upside down, and it seems no one is on her side, not the police, not even the hospital where she seeks assistance after the attack. She looks then to the mountains for solace and comfort.
By the time Parnell is 30 she is the first woman to climb the 100 highest peaks of Colorado. Her drive and determination push her to keep seeking, keep climbing even when her marriage to Karl eventually crumbles and falls apart.
While she may lose faith in the people she encounters throughout the years, Parnell never loses faith in the beauty and majesty of the mountains that surround her. As she works to rebuild her life and gain perspective, the Rockies, always present, embrace her with open arms and a sense of belonging.
Footnote: Off Trail was given to me by one of the fabulous members of the Hike Like a Woman Adventure Book Club. A big thank you to Jolene Galloway Munsey Flowers for sharing this wonderful book with me!
By: Cheryl Ridlon
Last year I went to Rainier National Park for a solo backpacking trip, and was excited to test out my new filtration system. After trying different types over the years- gravity fed, hand-pumping one, pressurized ones, I was optimistic about the tiny, 2oz simple system that Sawyer Mini touted.
I have to admit, I just stared at it all for a bit when I first got it; it seemed so small, so simple. Had they left something out? It comes with the tiny little filter unit, which is good for 100,000 gallons and has proven in tests to remove 99.999% of all protozoa and bacteria! The filter can be used like a straw and attach to a regular water bottle, but I like using it with the provided collapsible squeeze pouch. It also come with a large syringe that makes cleaning a breeze.
The Sawyer mini is extremely versatile; buy a dollar bottled water off the shelf on your way to the trail head and when you finish it,refill the bottle at streams or a lake, screw on the filter and use it as a straw filtering water as you drink. Or, put the filter "in-line" on your hydration pack tube after filling at a natural water source and again, it'll filter the water as you drink. My concern with that was when I happen upon locations with pure water sources (campgrounds, ranger stations, etc), the hydration pack and bottles would now be contaminated so I'd have to continue using the "filter as you drink" method, even for clean water
So, here's the way that works best for me: I use the squeeze pouch as the dedicated water collecting container. First, I fill it with stream or lake water, attach the filter and drink the first pouch-full to ensure I start the day properly hydrated. Refill the pouch and then simply squeeze the water through the filter into my hydration bladder and other water bottles. I think it's very easy to do and quicker than gravity fed or hand-pump units I've used; I found that rolling the pouch like a tube of toothpaste was most effective. When it's late season, some of the water sources may dry up and I need to make sure I carry enough water, so after filling my water bottles I fill the pouch one last time, then cap it and save it for later, either drinking it first via the filtration straw or squeezing it through the filter to top off my hydration bladder.
It's important to clean it after every use, but this is incredibly easy to do, too. Simply fill the large syringe with filtered water, then attach it on the end opposing the arrow and push. Flush it through a few times and it's done.
I've used the Sawyer Mini numerous times while in Washington, Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. While I often use it backpacking, it's light enough that I've been able to use it on distance trail runs where I know there are water sources. It's a relief to be able to reduce the weight in water I need to carry down!
Lightweight, easy to use, quick and affordable... Sawyer Mini is one of the best, though least expensive gear purchases I've made!
Energy / Dessert Bites aka April’s Amaze-Balls!
Quick backstory: I made a batch of these to take to the HLAW retreat in late July, and did not expect them to be the talk of the weekend (trust me, there was endless humor here when referring to “my balls”...but I’ll spare you the details). Aside from Rebecca’s nut allergy, I’m pretty sure everyone else got to try at least one, and those lucky enough snagged a couple! This recipe was featured in our Outdoor Cooking Challenge video series (check our Youtube page!), and I love it for it’s diversity. So many options and yummy for dessert and an on-the-go snack!
Ingredients: (makes about 15-20 medium-sized bites)
2 cups of quick-cook oats
½ cup of sticky sweetener (I use honey, you can substitute agave, maple syrup, etc)
½ cup butter of your choice (I prefer almond but there’s peanut, cashew, sunflower, etc)
½ - 1 tsp. of vanilla
1 -2 tsp. of cinnamon (you can omit this if you want)
Dash of salt
Here’s where it gets fun! You’ll want a ½ cup of whatever mix-ins you want. My favorite combo is: chopped up dark chocolate chips and hemp hearts! There’s always m&ms, coconut, dried fruit, flax or chia seeds, raisins, almonds or other nuts - the options are endless!
Pour all ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and stir! Mix away until ingredients seem well combined. TIP: If mixture seems too DRY, add a little more honey/butter. You want the mixture to not be overly sticky, but for the ingredients to combine well.
Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes or so (too long and it may dry out), and once you’re ready, form mixture by hand into however big or small you want your bites to be. I find just rolling them in my palms work well, and the shape form nicely. My preferred size is about 2 inches across or so.
Store these in an air-tight bag or container and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks or so. You can also freeze them for a longer shelf-life. I find that by throwing a few in a ziploc on my way to a trail, makes them just the perfect softness to be munched on when the hiker-hunger hits.
Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
It literally happens overnight. Slowly dawn creeps away from 5:00 a.m. and closer to 6:00 a.m. Dusk comes earlier too. Leaves begin to change color as they sway in the crisp breeze landing softly on the trail. The temperature dips and the rains start. Mushrooms in waiting begin to appear. The trail you once knew completely changes making it a new adventure.
People’s faces turn as we brace for colder darker days ahead. Fashion changes. Shorts slowly get tucked away. Long pants and layering begin. Woolly hats and scarves are wrapped loosely around our necks. Mittens and gloves are on stand-by. Fall has come. How long will it last...only Fall knows? Sometimes winter steps in briefly but usually Fall comes back to finish its course.
Although it’s cooler and gets dark earlier; Fall is quite spectacular with colors of yellow, orange and red. It’s a site to see. Leaves are scattered about. When I’m hiking I love forming piles of them into hearts or having my friends throw them in the air. The children play in the leaves while the dog’s race through them. Capturing these moments with my camera is my passion.
Rain continues to fall, and the days become shorter and shorter. Hikes are now a hustle to the top and back before the park gates close.
Traditions carry forward as Halloween arrives. Pumpkins get carved into funny or scary faces. Some watch horror movies while snacking on candy & chips. Kids travel door to door dressed up as their favorite character politely trick or treating.
Not long after the time changes. We call it Fall back. It’s the one time change I like. I leave my old-fashioned clocks alone and for one day it feels just a little longer.
Fall is for pajamas, hot chocolate, pumpkin lattes, fireplaces and snuggling under a warm blanket. The mosquitoes are long gone. It’s my favorite time to hike. The photography is spectacular.
That’s what Fall feels like in Canada. What’s your September-November weather like?
bringing you all different types of trails, animals and photography along the way.
with Lori Roberts
on the images
to see what we are
Lauren Jones Fraser's Story
I was hiking Angel's Landing at Zion with my sister. We ended up there on spring break, so it was super busy. We got an early start and were actually heading back down the trail when everyone was heading up. As we came down Walter's Wiggles (a bunch of super close switch backs) I couldn't hold it any longer! I waited until no one was on the switch back we were on, knelt down and used my funnel (freshette) to pee. I hear someone above me start laughing and say "I got one of those at my office Christmas party and thought it was a joke!"
Val Hopkins's Story
Oh, mine was my first hike in Germany. I had been in the country for just a short amount of time, but I could just not wait to get on the trail! I ordered the guidebooks, but they were all in German and I barely knew how to say, “thank you”. Nevertheless, I was determined to go. So, first day - less than 2 hours in - I notice that I haven’t seen a trail marker for a while. The trail has turned into a curvy dirt road, but I kept going - certain that another marker would turn up soon. Then I heard clapping, so I sped up to get around the next bend -and I walked directly into a horse show arena while a show was going on. I’m standing there - full pack and wearing a bright red rain poncho (which matched my bright red face) - facing the shocked audience with horses and riders all around me. I froze. A rider got off and said loudly, “You’re obviously American.” I nodded,
still frozen in place. She grabbed the guidebook from my hand and pointed out that I was supposed to turn left a few kilometers back. She also pointed to the sentence that, in bold type and in the only English in the book, said, “Don’t miss this turn or you will end up in a horse farm.” I nodded again, gave her my best “Danke” and sheepishly turned around and practically ran back to the trail. That’s not the first time that I got lost on that hike, but it was definitely the most memorable! I looked like a giant red hiker-monster! All of the Germans that I met on the trail dressed in neatly ironed casual attire, stayed at guest houses (like a B&B) and hiked with day-packs because the guest houses will shuttle your luggage to your next stop. I learned a lot about hiking in Europe that trip.
BONUS!!! Some of our reviews have giveaways!!!
Each quarter Christina and Jill will bring you real-life stories of outdoor adventures that didn’t turn out exactly as planned. We want to hear from you! Send us your stories (500 words or less) about your personal #trailtales and #backpackingfails to firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject: Trail Tales, and your story could be featured in our next issue.
gEAR REVIEW PREVIEW
Watch for these upcoming product reviews here:
Cumberland River Mile 32
263 Green Turtle Bay Drive
P.O. Box 102
Grand Rivers, KY 42045
Everyone has a feel good story about their trip into the outdoors. “The weather was so beautiful!” “The food was absolutely perfect!” “Our campsite was bug-free!” “Our gear was outstanding!” “The trail was even better than I expected!”
But what about those behind-the-scenes fails that everyone is too embarrassed to admit to? You know what I’m talking about ~ those epic #hikingfails that are so unbelievably bad that you are too ashamed to tell anyone. Ladies ~ it’s time to spill your guts and tell us the never been told stories about your greatest outdoor fails. Believe us when we say, “You are not alone”.
Contrary to popular belief, we are not perfect. We all make mistakes. We are human and that also means we have the ability to laugh at ourselves and others mishaps.
Annie Copeland's Story
For me? Probably when I went paddling on the French Broad River in W. NC, I had to go sooo bad. Finally when the guys stopped to cast some lines I beat feet up a hill to take care of business. Relieved, I stood up and as I pulled up my pants, a car drove by. Turns out there was a highway there and they saw the Kentucky full moon shining in NC in the middle of day!
From House-cat to “Hike”cat: How to Hike with Your Cat
Despite my love for watching funny cat videos on YouTube, if I’m honest, I’m more of a dog person than a cat person. Part of the reason why, is that I’ve always thought dogs are the pets that you can take hiking and camping, whereas cats just want to curl up by the window or roam outside looking for prey. However, I’ve been hearing lately about people who hike with their cats, and I was intrigued. I did some research and asked other women in the Pacific Northwest about their experiences hiking with their cat. After seeing their photos and hearing their experiences, I’m convinced cats are a lot more adventurous and fun that I would have expected.
Sarah Armentrout and her cat, Christmas, have gotten used to hiking and camping together in Washington. They started to hike when he was 2 years old so she says it is indeed possible to take a housecat into the big outdoors if the cat likes it. She recommends starting small with some walks around the neighborhood or a local park with a leash and harness to see how the cat does. Christmas rides in her backpack and comes when called so he is able to roam around the campsite without a leash. Christmas also enjoys curling up Sarah in her hammock while resting at camp.
Did you know there are adventurous cats with their own Instagram accounts? One example is Leon the Adventure Cat. He is pretty adorable and you can learn more about him on the blog dedicated to him: https://leonadventurecat.wordpress.com/ Leon has his own Instagram @leonadventurecat and hikes with his owner Megan Ferney. She has lots of great info on her blog, including reviews of leashes and backpacks and how she harness and leashed trained her cat. Megan first got the idea to hike with her cat when she realized that tiny house living is hard for a cat, and she was looking for a way for her cat to have a fulfilling adventurous life. Hiking and the great outdoors has provided that opportunity. If she hikes on a long hike, she uses a backpack with a
getting Inspired by Nature
with Kathryn Petroff
We Sisters, we three.
Born from Earth, Water, Wind and Fire.
Grown to graceful ganglion branches the color of bone.
Always akin, even when alone.
Arcing, twining, grasping.
A sinuous path to and away from home.
A delicate dance of knowing,
beckoning to each other through
Heaven and Hell.
Seeking forgiveness, understanding and joy before, in full bloom, we wither upon this earth.
by Michelle Carner Long
Sometimes you just need a four-legged friend while you are outside on adventures. What kind of gear does your dog need? Why hike with a cat? Should you have an alpaca carry your gear on your next backpacking trip? Find these answers and more in upcoming columns in “Of Tails and Trails”.
By: Sarah Kyllo
OF TAILS AND TRAILS
By Jessica Hubbard
Autumn begs for warm, gooey, chocolate goodness. And, what better way to welcome in the cooler days of fall, than to fill your home with the smell of freshly baked brownies.
Check out these buttery, rich morsels with a just a hint of cayenne heat.
P. S. These are sooo good the next day with a hot cup of joe around a morning campfire!
2 sticks butter (1 cup) + 1 tsp butter to grease parchment paper
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups sugar
1 c all purpose flour
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together dry ingredients except for sugar.
Melt butter, let cool slightly, then add eggs, vanilla and sugar. Stir till sugar is dissolved.
Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and combine well. Set aside.
Place parchment paper in 9x13 baking dish. Grease paper. Make sure paper is hanging slightly over sides of dish. Pour in brownie batter and spread evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes. Check for doneness using toothpick. Middle of batter should be slightly fudgy. If not, add another 5-10 minutes of bake time making sure to check doneness after each additional 5 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes, cut into squares and enjoy with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of dairy or coconut milk. Store in airtight container.
I’ve also made these in half batches by cutting ingredients in half and baking in an 8x8 dish.
blanket on the bottom and lets Leon jump out when he is ready to hike.
Susanna Jorgenson from Washington hikes regularly with her cat Ellinor, whose favorite thing to do is hike in the snow and roll in the dirt. Susanna and her partner had dreamed of getting a dog to join their adventures, but found that their living situation in an apartment did not make it realistic. Her partner had seen a cat hiking on a trail about 8 years ago and brought up the idea of getting a cat instead. Since they knew they wanted a cat that might enjoy the outdoor experiences, they researched breeds to find the most adventurous one out there, knowing that some cats just aren’t into it. Susanna started training Ellinor at a very young age, just a few weeks after they brought her home, and safety pinned a small harness for her. They started in a local park before heading out on local city trails and eventually to her first real 10 mile hike. Susanna gave Ellinor the option of riding in a backpack the whole way but surprised her by preferring to walk on her own and a hiking relationship was born.
Hiking with a cat doesn’t come without a set of challenges. Sarah says it’s important to be watching for predators, exhaustion, and make sure the cat has enough to drink. Her advice is to bring twice the amount of water you think you will need and offer restroom breaks if your cat is in your backpack. She also will wrap bags of ice in towels and keep them around where the cat sits at camp if it is hot out to keep the cat nice and cool. When cats are exerting themselves and having fun, they can easily forget to stop and drink water. Offering water often, having apple slices or wet food, can help with water intake. Susanna says that getting a cat to go potty outdoors has been her biggest challenge when hiking with her cat. On long hikes, Ellinor eventually just accepts that she has to do it and will go outside. Since most people have to drive to a trailhead in order to hike, getting a cat used to long car rides can be a challenge as well. Susanna has developed a system of bringing her cat’s litter from home in a shallow plastic container for those long car trips.
Where to start?
Thinking of taking your own cat on the trail? Start young and start small if possible. Harness training and leashes take time to teach, and it’s best to learn these skills at a park close to home instead of on a long backpacking trip. Be patient and recognize that if you are hiking with your cat, you might be on a different timetable as you let them explore or move at their pace. You might have to pick up the cat or put the cat in your backpack at times, or head back earlier than you’d like if the cat just isn’t enjoying the trail. Be observant of your cat and their level of fear or enjoyment and find out what type of hikes they like. The more you know your cat’s personality and habits, the easier it will be to tell when to stop hiking or when they are having fun. If you will be camping with your cat, be sure to keep an eye out for predators and keep the cat in the tent at night to keep them safe and comfortable.
So… should you hike with your cat? The answer is, it depends. For Susanna, the extra training time and patience is all worth it as she explains: “I love that I can go anywhere with Ellinor. From chill days picking blueberries to backcountry skiing she brings a lot of fun energy to an outing. Ellinor tried backcountry skiing this spring and was a champion! I can’t wait until winter to bring her on more little ski trips. People’s reactions to her on the trail is also priceless and it is fun to stop and chat rather than just have a passing hello. She also brings a lot of fun back into shorter hikes that my skills/ physical levels just normally don’t gravitate to anymore.”
Big thanks to Susanna, Megan, Sarah, and their feline adventure buddies, Ellinor, Leon, and Christmas for sharing their stories and advice. Happy hiking!
By April McPherson
The segment devoted to helping you live for the moment and find your truest, kindest self. Follow along as ambassador April McPherson gives you simplified tips and suggestions for the everyday woman.
Jenn Wanders is an outdoor enthusiast and passionate traveler and believes neither has to be limited to far off places. The Hometown Tourist will feature tourist hotspots and hidden gems all found near Jenn’s current hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
A Ghost Town
The town of Rodney is rich in history as well as tragedy. Incorporated in 1828, Rodney was at one time in the running to be the state capital. At its peak, Rodney was home to 4,000 residents, a doctor, a dentist, two newspapers and the state’s first opera house. However, a series of unfortunate events, including two yellow fever epidemics, the Civil War, a fire that destroyed most of the town, and finally the Mississippi River changing its course led to the decline and eventual abandonment of the city. Rodney was officially taken off the states register in 1930.
In addition to the outdoors and history, I love exploring abandoned places. There is a dark beauty in the abandoned that fascinates me and I love capturing that beauty in photographs. Needless to say, as soon as I learned of Rodney, before I even arrived in Mississippi, I knew I had to visit.
Rodney is 50 miles southwest of Vicksburg. There is only one serviceable road into Rodney, half paved and half gravel, but easily traversed in any type of vehicle. As a bonus, I did find a couple of small mud puddles to dirty up the Jeep!
According to the research I had done, there are two churches, a school, hotel, general store, as well as several abandoned homes and miscellaneous buildings left in the town, and maybe a handful of residents. What we found were the two churches, a couple of miscellaneous buildings, only one of which was accessible, and a town that is attempting to repopulate itself.
I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more to explore, but truthfully, the churches were more than enough to justify the hour drive. Mt Zion was established in 1850 and is the first building you will see as you enter the town. Despite its many years of neglect, it is still breathtakingly beautiful. The Presbyterian Church, which appears to once again be having services, was the site of a Civil War skirmish and still bears the cannonball evidence.
If you are in the area I would recommend Rodney as a side trip, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to visit.
with Jenn Wanders
THE HOMETOWN TOURIST
Can I just start by reiterating how great the fall/autumn season is? It honestly is my favorite time to hike, camp, and travel, and for me, it always feels like a transition into a “new beginning,” granted this is ironic as the season technically is a time when things in nature die. Hmm…okay, I digress! Just as seasonal changes happen throughout the year, we all go through our own changes at the same rate, if not more often. This can be overwhelming, exciting, frustrating, and anything in between. This is where mindfulness comes in quite handy.
I’ll be honest, the word seemed sort of loaded and generic to me when I first started practicing and integrating it into my life. However, with a little explanation and everyday tips that anyone with 3-5 spare minutes can accomplish (which is everyone!), let this article be your gateway into art of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is generally defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensation.” Sound confusing or just flat our weird? I promise it really is simple. To be mindful is to be aware. In any given moment of the day, to be able to take a moment for a deep breath and be conscientious of your thoughts and feelings is really the core of being mindful. You would be amazed and how good even a single deep breathe feels in the middle of your workday, or even in the middle of a hike!
Now, some tips to take with you throughout your day:
I. First and foremost, GIVE YOURSELF THE TIME. I was not kidding early when I said even just 3-5 minutes is plenty to give you a quick refresh in the day. Whether at work, home, or while running errands – time is time!
II. If you have somewhere quieter, that may work best for some. However, even in the middle of a busy and stressful day, it might prove helpful to stop in the middle of a little bit of chaos to regather yourself. No place is too loud nor too quiet for a little bit of mindfulness.
III. During your deep breaths, eyes open or closed, notice the sounds around you, the thoughts that circle through your head, and even the way you’re feeling. These small mindful practices are not about clearing your mind or getting lost in the day. It’s simply a way to help you through the day and be aware of your surroundings.
Practice this routine to eventually make it a daily habit and simply watch how you become more mindful of yourself, your friends and family, and your surroundings.
Hola Hiking Amigas...
I just recently relocated to amazing and diverse Ecuador. I’m excited to share my adventures with you as I discover this beautiful land and all it has to offer. The climate and terrain varies a lot throughout the country. From sea level tropics to breathless elevation in the high Andes...Glad to have you along for this crazy ride!
with Marianne Hoffman
Hola! Greetings once again from amazing Ecudador. I love sharing my new county with the HLAW community. The landscape and geography of this beautiful place is unreal.
I was invited to visit Chimborazo Volcano near a city called Riobamba. What an adventure! Chimborazo stands high above the clouds at 20,548 feet (6263.47 meters). It's seriously magnificent. We viewed Chimborazo from two different sides over two days. The first day we walked through lush, green, tiny indigenous villages. I loved that the young local girls greeted us at the small train depot and danced in thier colorful skirts. Then, these beautiful little girls reached for our hands and walked us through the streets of their little town. They led us to a dusty dirt path where we walked a few miles into another tiny village. It was surreal walking along these winding roads at the base of this spectacular volcano. Bonus, I was able to purchase freshly spun alpaca yarn for my other passion...knitting!
Day 2 was completely different landscape. Stark, rugged and imposing. Chimborazo looming high above. It was intimidating, surreal and other wordly. The sky was clear , blue and snow capped. Father Chimborazo reigned in the distance. The first Refugio sits at 15,900 feet and I was hoping I'd be able to breathe and function at that altitude. I have been training for almost 7 months but this was by far the highest I had ever been. I was so proud that I could actually breathe when we arrived and I didn't have the throbbing little headache in the middle of my forehead that I got early on hiking in Ecuador. What I didn't expect was the fuzzy brain and slight confusion I felt. I was panicked looking for my very necessary sunglasses when it was pointed out I was wearing them!
We entered the rRefugio and ordered cups of hot, steamy coca leaf tea. After sipping two cups of this yummy black tea the confusion lifted and I felt much clearer.
Unfortunately, there was an uncharacteristic crazy windstorm happening on the mountain. Hurricane force winds were pelting us with volcanic sand and tiny pebbles. Even under my sunglasses my eyes were filling with sharp pieces of sand and rock. I was determined to hike at least a little bit on that spectacular formation. And so, according to my compass I slowly made my way to 16,200 feet. I didn't want to turn around but the conditions were just too unrealistic and dangerous in the 80 mile an hour gusts. I turned around, planting my poles with each slow step and made my way back to the Refugio. My hair , eyes and clothing were filled with sand. I trudged back to the truck, folded up my poles and tried to empty the black sand from my pockets. what I didn't expect was how much tall and proud Chimborazo called to me. Something about his energy was surreal and intimidating yet drawing me to his mysteries. I want to go back.
Finding a pair of hiking boots will be one of your most important things you will buy when taking up hiking. After all your boots must carry your load, keep you dry and comfortable for all your adventures. I like a hiker that lasts for several years and so far, Keen has never let me down.
Keen Canada provided us with a pair of Terradora Evo Mid Sky Diver/Little Boy Blue hikers at no charge. My Initial thought was wow these are so pretty and the cushion panel on the inside made them feel so comfortable. There’s nothing more exciting than slipping on a brand-new pair of stylish, lightweight pair of hikers. I’m looking forward to gear testing them on our local mountains & trails. Stay tuned for my full review and a free pair giveaway from Keen Canada for a lucky Canadian reader.
We like to think our Standard of Cute is pretty sky-high here. But we wanted to do more than design clothes that get your baby noticed in a crowded grocery store. We wanted to design clothes that would make your life easier too: Leggings cut to fit over cloth diapers, shirts minus that scratchy tag babies hate, super cozy hooded bath towels and bodysuits with easy on/ off snaps.
Click on the logo above to view their new "Woodland Collection"
By Lori Roberts
Let’s Go!! Matcha Energy Bites
1-cup nuts of your choice, almonds, pistachios, or pecans
½ cup pitted chopped Medjool dates
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. matcha green tea powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
It’s so easy! Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until mixture begins to stick together when pressed with your fingers. Use a Tbsp. to roll small amounts and use your hands to roll into balls and set aside. Mixture makes about 12 balls. Put balls to set up untouched in freezer for about 30 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in a zip-lock in the freezer.
Maya Love – Recipe contributor
Maya Love is an urban cyclist and foodie. She lives in London, Ontario and blogs about everyday bicycling and food at email@example.com
GEAR REVIEW PREVIEW
In September 2012 I embarked on one of the most beautiful and challenging journeys of my life; motherhood. My eldest daughter Magnolia was born. We lived (and still do) in Colorado for many reasons, a large one being our outdoor lifestyle. The only thing that Colorado lacks for us is blood family. My husband and I both left our respective homes immediately after high school and never looked back to reside in our home states. As we grew and traveled, our independence guided our way. Because we have been independent as well as lived and traveled far from home and family, we developed a new family; deep friendships. When my daughter was born the lack of family support in the vicinity became apparent which I felt added an extra element of challenge to motherhood. I worked full-time until Magnolia was nine months old and then left the corporate world as there was no balance and it didn’t seem to fit in my new life. At about the same time, we moved further up into the mountains, about forty minutes from Denver. It seemed like once again I was starting all over and I had no “village”. With no schedule, no job and no village; I paused enough to notice that my postpartum depression was still a reality. Some days I had a hard time making it through the day with one smile on my face.
One day, I told myself there was a better way and I looked to my roots of healing and decided to start getting back into nature on a regular basis. I also knew that it was time I started creating my own village and finding my local family. I looked online for a local meetup group and saw that the next day there was a Mom hike meetup group in town. I pulled out my kid hiking backpack, boots and proclaimed to my dog and daughter that tomorrow we were going on a new adventure and getting out of the house.
With a sense of uncertainty and vulnerability, I pulled into the trailhead and parked. There was only one other car. There sat my future sole sister, Miriam. With her was her dog and infant son in his hiking backpack. After introductions, we waited for others to join. When we realized that no one else was coming, we set off on the hike. We instantly hit it off. Miriam was from Germany and was a wildlife biologist. As we hiked sometimes 3-4 times a week carrying our kids over hundreds of miles, she quietly talked to me of her life through a wise accent. We connected on motherhood, being a wife and current events. We learned of each other’s pasts and talked of dreams afar. Our kids bounced up and down in the packs and laughed at each other as we would alternatively stop for snacks or a diaper change. We explored a new hike in the area each time and Miriam taught me about different plants and wildlife she had studied. As time went by, another Mom eventually joined our hikes, Jamie with her son in tow.
Miriam and I became wonderful friends. I am not sure that she will ever know how she helped save me from the dark depths of depression. For that I will never forget her or those hikes. Eventually she moved back to Germany and as both our families grew, we exchanged letters once. Each time we walked through the woods, up and over mountains, I reconnected with my strength both internally and physically. I felt completely grounded, connected and free in the woods. I was able to get my daughter into the fresh air and offer vistas of changing aspens and deer frolicking by. Our dogs would chase the squirrels and romp through the creek crossings together.
Times of depression and anxiety have been something I have experienced, like many women, throughout my life. Postpartum depression was one of my darkest. As I feel myself encroaching upon a dark time, I go back to my core. Remember Miriam and the motivation she gave me. Go to a trailhead, bring a friend and walk through the healing woods. I have called many places home. I truly feel at peace with a fresh breeze on my face, the chatter of birds, the smell of trees and a friend to ease my soul. As I now have two daughters, I hope I can continue to offer them the same roots of foundation in nature and sisterhood.
HEALING IN NATURE AND SISTERHOOD
Jackie Campos Bleisch
"We've been hiking buddies for the last 3 years though we live at least two hours away, discovering trails across CA, and very recently PNW- WA, OR and Canada. She is heaven sent- my hiking buddy Jenny Litton"
By Emily Marquis
"My dog Lacey is my sole sister. She is the best hiking partner I could ever ask for. She was returned four times before I adopted her and I believe we were meant to find each other."
Carly Rose Johnston
"Amanda is definitely my sole sista! I've never met a stronger, kinder, more amazing woman in all my travels! Through smoke, torrential rain, sweltering heat, bone chilling cold, jokes, tears, awe inspiring views and crushing disappointment. She keeps me going when I need a kick in the ass and an attitude adjustment on the trail."
"My sole sister is my sister. So lucky to have someone who enjoys the trails as much as I do."
For use on clothing, tents, sleeping bags and other outdoor gear, Sawyer Permethrin is more than just an insect repellent- it actually kills ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, chiggers, mites and more than 55 other kinds of insects. Permethrin is also effective against the Yellow Fever Mosquito, which can transmit the Zika Virus.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Highly effective at deterring a wide array of insects including mosquitoes and ticks, Sawyer's 20% Picaridin insect repellent is more effective at repelling biting flies than DEET. Safe for use on the whole family, the non-greasy Picaridin offers all day protection, has a pleasant low citrus odor and won't damage plastics or synthetic coatings.
I have met many women through my adventures. Some have come and gone but my true friends, my "sole sisters" are one of life's greatest blessings. They encourage me through the switchbacks life throws at me both on the trail and off. They carry my load when it is too much to bear. They tell me stories when I need to get my mind off the pain in order to push through. They sing at the top of their lungs to scare off the bears, hogs and creepy men, LOL! They give me their dry boots when hypothermia is starting to set in and wear my wet ones the rest of the way. They call me up after surgery and tell me it's time to get up and start walking again. I don't know where I would be in life if it wasn't for my "sole sisters".
I hope each and every one of you
is blessed with at least one "sole sister"
along the trails both in the mountains
and in life.
PICARIDIN INSECT REPELLENT
PERMETHRIN INSECT REPELLENT
WE KEEP YOU OUTDOORS
by lucy walker /magazine editor for hike like a woman
HIKE LIKE A WOMAN