Today, I witnessed something on the trails I have never witnessed before. The women outnumbered the men. By a lot. The first woman I encountered was even breastfeeding her baby while descending the trail (something I admire since I’ve never had the coordination to even try). There were other women carrying their children, young women giggling and snapping selfies of each other, others going solo with a dog or trail running. The women freakin’ dominated that trail!
When I started this blog back in 2014 I was looking for inspiration. I mostly hiked solo and I was looking for community and to hear other women’s experiences and stories. They were hard to find. I discovered the Outdoor Women’s Alliance and She Explores, but back then they didn’t have nearly the following and diverse content they do now. Those were the years when I rarely saw other women hiking alone. When I hiked to the top of Sourdough Mountain I was met by a man who asked if I really hiked all the way up there all on my own. When I led an all women’s backpack trip we were literally asked, “where are all the men?”
We’ve come a long way since then. Women are no longer tolerating the sexism and sexual harassment that have muddied the waters, not just in the outdoors, but sadly in many aspects of our lives. Women are speaking up with social media campaigns like #metoo and Time’s Up (omg, Oprah’s speech, right?). Outdoor brands are getting called out for their sexist advertising and their failure to understand women’s bodies with “pink it and shrink it.” And instead of sitting around and waiting for the industry to change, women have stepped up to build their own outdoor brands.
Is there still work to do? Yes, of course. Couldn’t you say 2017 was the year of women? Sure. But the difference is now it is becoming normal. I expect to see women of all types on the trails, I expect to see women represented in outdoor media. I didn’t bat an eye at that woman breastfeeding her baby via ergo. This is the outdoor world I want to see represented and this is what I want to be my daughter’s normal.