This one is for you. For you, the women who I have shared moments in the outdoors with. The ones who have hiked, guided, run, climbed with me. Women who have hobbled around on equally blistered feet with me, lowered the fly in lightning storms with me, eaten In-N-Out beneath overpasses like gremlins with me, shared near death experiences and tragic poop moments with me. This one is for you. For you, who have taught me the meaning of both strength and vulnerability – how one does not exclude the other. Outdoor women. Those brave not because they are unafraid but because they are more afraid of the loss that comes with never trying… those who feel the fear and move forward anyway, taking jumps and leaps and bounds into what is unknown.
This one is for you. For you who have laughed with me and cried with me, reveling in the strong emotions that outdoor experiences can bring. Thank you for embracing the mess – the mess of life, and the mess of a life spent outdoors. Tan lines and heat rash, dirty hands and dusty legs, ratty hair and grubby clothing. You have shown me a better picture of freedom, of the joys in being completely ourselves. No hiding, no fronts. Thank you for the reminder that out here, we stand on common ground. Bonded through the miles, and the steps, and the insanity of it all.
Out here we forge a friendship based on the simple act of showing up. You are you, I am me, we are here, and that is enough. This one is for you. We are different, oh so different. But no matter how far or close our beliefs fall, we agree on this: there is something special about the time spent outside. Something beautiful. Magical, even. We agree that something happens when we step out here: we learn more of ourselves and more of one another. It’s what makes these friendships so special.
This one is for you, strong women. For you who have shown me the power in independence, the strength of being a solo woman in the outdoors, and the pure beauty that brings. Thank you. This one is for you. You who have also shown that sometimes, adventures are better when shared. Being comfortable solo is strength, and yet so is knowing the value of community, and of strong female friendships. Thank you.
This one is for you. For you who dare greatly, love wildly, embrace the mess. Because of you I am a better, and braver, mountaineer, hiker, traveler, backpacker, and guide. I am a better person because of you.
This one is for you.