Women In The Backcountry

How’s Tuesday treating you?  Mine started out in a wee bit of a rush.  I screwed up the alarm, and didn’t end up getting out of bed until 6:30 which means I was running around the house like a mad woman to try to get out the door in time.  Luckily, I was able to get to work at the same time I usually do, but it was very chaotic and stressful.  That’s definitely not the way I like to start my day which is why I’m a big fan of getting up a little earlier.

Other than that, there’s not too much to complain about here today.  We’re back to triple digit temperatures which I loathe with every fiber of my being, but I am so grateful that most of the summer wasn’t too bad and cooler temps are just around the corner!

Whenever the temperatures soar out of control, I immediately start thinking about the mountains and how much I wish I was there.  That is definitely where my mindset is today so I thought it was a great opportunity to talk about my favorite subject.  Backpacking!

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Today I want to focus specifically on women in the backcountry.  It’s a topic that I’ve been thinking a lot about, and I really believe I have a great platform to advance the discussion.

One of the primary reasons I started this blog was to promote my love of backpacking and to inspire other women to give it a try for themselves.  For so many years, activities and certain hobbies have been grouped into two categories-”boy things” and “girl things”.  As women, many of us don’t naturally gravitate to those activities that are largely male dominated.

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Although I see that changing as backpacking becomes more popular in general, it is obvious that the backcountry is still a male dominated world.  On our recent trip to Colorado, I found myself counting the number of women we came across.  Sadly, over the course of 60 miles, that number only came to three.

I used to be a girl who couldn’t fathom staying out in the mountains for long stretches at a time.  I was typically thinking of not having a shower and the hardships of being girl trying to go to the bathroom without the benefit of modern plumbing.  It was only after I challenged myself to get out there and fell in love with it, that I realized that I had been doubting my abilities to withstand a little bit of discomfort for a wonderful payout.

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I understand that many of you simply have no interest in spending days on end sleeping on the ground or wearing everything you need to survive on your back.  Hey, that’s okay.  I don’t really understand  why many of you crazy people like to run for miles and miles either.  To each his own!  But I would love to encourage those of you who may be doubting yourself a little bit to get out there and go for it.  Don’t let yourself be defined by what society expects of gender roles.  You may be surprised at just how capable you are!

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On a side not, obviously there are some challenges for females in the backcountry that men just don’t have to grapple with.  I’d love to hear what concerns you all about those details, and give some insight on how I handle those issues.  Leave a comment or shoot me an email.  I’d really like to do a whole post about it!

Have a great evening, and be sure to enjoy these last few days of summer!  Fall is just around the corner (<—read this as:  100 degrees can’t last for long!)

Do you love any activity that might be considered a “boy” thing?  What questions do you have about the logistics of being female in the backcountry?

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4 thoughts on “Women In The Backcountry

  1. Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes

    Since day one, I’ve always gravitated toward “boy” activities. I was a huge tomboy in elementary school and would play with the boys during recess–tag, kickball, capture the flag, you name it. That’s in turn lead to my participation in sports through middle and high school, but obviously, a lot of girls were on athletic teams. And now, triahtlon is a male-dominated sport, but more and more women are giving it a try thanks to events like IronGirl and women’s-only races.

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  2. Corrie Anne

    That’s interesting! Living in Denver, I don’t feel like hiking & outdoorsy stuff –even loving beer (haha) — isn’t really a male/female thing. EVERYBODY here is obsessed! I don’t really think of it being a girl thing — I always just say I’m prissy.

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  3. Heidi Nicole

    I’ve noticed this a bit. When I talk about our adventures into the mountains I’ve heard a lot of “my wife would never do that” or “I can’t sleep like that” responses which I find weird. I mean, I can dress up and be girly but I can also go days without a shower and sleep on the ground! But to each their own — I’ll bring back photos! :)

    As for the other “challenges” I’ve seen a handy little silicon thing we can use to pee standing up — a huge perk in the winter I’d assume!

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