Getting after it together.
I’ve always been more of a tomboy than a girlie girl. I grew up driving combines and tractors and taking laps in my brother’s sprint car after Saturday-night races—for whatever reason, it seemed that men had all the fun.
Upon moving to the mountains at the tender age of 18, I was tickled to see other gals rowing whitewater on the Gallatin or hiking for backcountry turns. Strangely, however, I didn’t hang out with them much. I had many lady friends with whom I ran, lunched, and giggled, but when I wanted to climb a mountain, take my skis on a tour of the backcountry, or perfect my Eskimo-roll in a kayak, I always called my current man-friend.
For a long time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I always felt more comfortable getting after it in the hills with dude du jour. Maybe it was a sense of safety. Or that I liked knowing I could keep up with “the boys.” Regardless, while days in the Montana wilds were always delightful and inspiring, I often tired of the chest-beating, the relentless testosterone-fueled charging, and the belay-station conversations that centered around upcoming trips to Moab or the Lochsa.
A handful of years ago, a difficult personal situation rocked me to my core, and I found solace and comfort in my gal pals—a well of strength I had no idea was bubbling just below the surface. Upon assessing the rubble that was my personal life, I began rebuilding where I always felt most at home—adventuring in the hills. But this time, I wasn’t interested in being the token girl on a Teton climbing trip or Canadian hut excursion.
As I soon found out, a day in the mountains with my favorite lady friends satiated my adventurous spirit, but most importantly, fed my soul.
For the last four years, I’ve had many adventures under the Big Sky. Most of them with gals who challenge me in their quiet, hilarious, fun-loving ways to charge harder than I ever did with the boys. And have more fun doing it. Après-work mountain-bike laps on Leverich are best enjoyed with Caroline, whereby we can swap kiddo-raising triumphs and challenges, all while ripping some really delicious singletrack. Backcountry ski days are so much more enjoyable when they begin with Kira’s homemade muffins. Climbing trips with Heidi often unexpectedly turn into silly headlamp sessions, resultant of all of the belay-station chatter hashing out job changes or southern-hemisphere adventures.
This doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy gettin’ after it with the fellas—I owe all of my male buddies for my trailer-backing skills and secret tricks to digging out a stuck truck. But it does mean that I discovered rather late in life that those who are having the most fun in the hills are generally of the female persuasion.
Let’s hear it for the girls.