Found

I was an indoor kid, a city kid, and I remained so into my adulthood. I didn’t even think about the outdoors. In the first six years I lived in Portland, Oregon, the most outdoorsy thing I ever did was drive up to the famous Multnomah Falls. Once. I struggled with PTSD, depression, self-hate and self-medicating. Being wasted all of the time was a huge PAUSE button on my life and as the years ticked on, I grew more confused about my place in the world; who I was, where I belonged, what I wanted.

Five-and-a-half years ago, I met my partner and one of our first dates was a hike. I didn’t know “how” to hike or what to wear (photo on the right!). I was self-conscious of my heavy breathing and sweating, but when we reached the top of the hill, I felt something bloom, a reckoning. Shortly after, hiking became the thing I did instead of filling the void with substance abuse and distractions. When I hiked, I felt connection. Connection to my body, earth, nature, my truth. It became a symbol for all I needed in my life: one-step-at-a-time thinking, forward progression as a metaphor, learning from the pain and discomfort and how to push through it productively.

The trail couldn’t tell me what to do with my life, but it’s lessons led me to connecting and building community with other unlikely outdoorspeople. In turn, leading to new, exciting opportunities. It feels like a future. It feels like being found. Where might the trail lead you?

#sponsored #REI #ForceOfNature #optoutside

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Who is a “real” hiker?

Whether you hike a mile or fifteen, or only a few times a year; if you use a mobility device on trails, or don’t see anyone who likes you; You Are A Hiker. When we base our worth as hikers on how many miles and feet of elevation we crush, or on our physical abilities, or inabilities, we miss out on the journey, healing and connection to all-that-is that can be found in nature. It’s not a race. You don’t get to stop and smell the wildflowers or dip your tired feet in a creek on a race.

I invite you to move your body in ways that feel good, for the joy of it. Be in your own journey, don’t compare it to someone else’s. It’s the doing it that matters.

It’s ok to challenge yourself. It’s ok to want to do more, harder, faster, longer, but it doesn’t make one a “real” hiker. That standard Instagram summit photo at golden hour is beautiful, but it doesn’t tell the story of a “real” hiker.

The outdoors is for everyone. If you need an invitation, this is it. If you need an invitation to quit these thought patterns, this is it.

If you hike, you are a hiker. Welcome ♥

#sponsored #REI #ForceOfNature #OptOutside

Location: Ozette Triangle aka Cape Alava, Olympic National Park, Washington

Continue reading “Who is a “real” hiker?”

Hike Trails, Get Money

I sort of hinted at this a couple of months ago, but it is finally official: REI got wind of me and I’ve been contracted to essentially keep doing what I do. They aren’t asking me to sell a product or be anything other than what I am, an unlikely outdoorsperson. For the next six months, you will very occasionally see that some of my posts are sponsored. They are also sponsoring the two meet-ups I posted about recently on Instagram.

As many of you know, REI, specifically with their #ForceOfNature campaign is making attempts to interrupt the common outdoors narrative. Obviously, there is so much work to be done and some of us have been doing it for awhile already, but this is a big deal. I’m a thirty-five-year-old, fat, queer, high school drop out who started hiking five years ago. When have you ever seen someone like me featured in the mainstream?

I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my experience and connect with all of you in the ways that we do. I feel like so many of my dreams are clicking into place. I’ve missed out on a lot of experiences and opportunities my peers have had due to lack of resources and access.

This may not be the most exciting news to my anti-capitalist, punk, queer communities, but I do hope you’ll support your girl in getting paid. I’m not making the big bucks, so don’t get it twisted. This will essentially help me to take a couple days off a month to focus solely on writing and adventuring and building community based on diversifying the outdoors. I still need a lot of help, financially, to keep doing all of this, so if you were thinking about donating to my patreon or paypal, I can absolutely use it. No pressure, I’ll stop touting it all of the time soon. 5% of monthly donations are donated to the Trans Assistance Project.

Thank you for your continued support!