Saturday, May 14, 2016

Don't "hike like a girl." Just hike.

Apparently this weekend was "hike like a girl" weekend. I don't know who started it. The purpose, I guess? is to show women that they belong outdoors. Or something.

While I run into women sometimes who are afraid to hike alone, I have to say the idea that the outdoors isn't for women isn't in my universe. Who decided this? It's true that more kids should be outdoors, but I must live in a parallel world from the people who decided this was a good campaign. I see plenty of women outdoors. And, this sort of bugs me. It's similar to the articles that keep cropping up titled earnestly something like this: "Why hiking solo is something women should do. Here's some tips." I feel as though singling women out as if they were some special case is not helping. This should be "just get out and hike weekend." (Also? I STILL get the same questions when I hike alone as I did twenty years ago. "Aren't you afraid? Where's your gun? Are you really by YOURSELF?" From strangers! We don't do this to men. Let's stop this.)

Anyway, in the spirit of Just Hike, I decided to get outside, even though the forecast was truly horrible. Thunderstorms? Hail? Three inches of rain? Flooding! But, sitting at home didn't sound very appealing. So I gathered rain gear and took off. At first, I just wanted to hike a couple of hours. But....

I just wanted to see how far I could get, a common malady of mine. I crossed a scary bridge and headed up to Ice Lake.

I'm pretty happy to have made it across this bridge. But I have to cross it again on the way back!
I had no real illusions I would reach the lake. Last year, in a low snow year, it was possible, but it's going to be July before the high country melts out. Still, I wanted to see where the snow started. A couple of women came down the trail, professing fear of thunderstorms. See? Women outdoors.



I made it to the basin about two miles from the lake. That was as far as I was going to get. Happily enough, I turned around, watching some dramatic clouds. There was only a slight sprinkle, the ominous forecast never appearing.


It was a perfect day to hike. Not hike like a girl. Not separate myself out from the population as someone who needs encouragement to get out there. Just a hiker.


7 comments:

  1. What does "hike like a girl" mean anyways? I never understood that and found that when someone said "like a girl" it was usually meant as a derogatory statement: throw like a girl, hit like a girl, etc.

    People are always surprised when they hear I go outside alone too, the women seem genuinely concerned for my safety. I've had scarier encounters on urban bike paths than I have out in the woods.

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    1. I agree, my first impression is that it is deragatory, e.g. scream like a girl. I know it's not meant that way here but still. And it is mostly women who seem concerned for my safety also.

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  2. Although I'm all for encouraging everyone to get outdoors, do we really need a "hike like a girl" day? And I agree there's a still double standard when it comes to women vs men hiking solo. I'm more concerned with the possibility of my car getting broken into at the trailhead than I am of encountering a creepy person on the trail.

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    1. Exactly. And in all my decades of hiking, maybe one creepy person on trail, ever.

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  3. Well said! It's funny growing up with three brothers I never felt different. We were all raised and treated the same. No special privileges or constraints. I never felt it in school nor in my professional life. I heard about the glass ceiling plenty in my career but never experienced it myself. I've always worked and played in a co-ed environment and never considered the need for female-focused activities. My exposure to social media seems to have highlighted the issues. WEIRD that in real life not so much but hype states otherwise. Glad that I've been sheltered and have felt free to be just a hiker and outdoor adventurer.

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    1. BTW absolutely LOVE that second to last photo. It's a keeper!

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    2. Thanks. Just a point and shoot. I think it's been highlighted by social media also but as a ranger I was exposed to a lot of scrutiny that maybe other women didn't have.

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