Carrying My Own Weight: A Self-Proclaimed Weakling’s Journey to the Wilderness

By guest blogger, Anna K. When I was growing up, my family took camping trips every summer. At first we would go to large campgrounds with big groups of people and families from our neighborhood. They were the kind of campgrounds where there were designated campsites with parking spots, a water spit, and indoor bathrooms…Read more Carrying My Own Weight: A Self-Proclaimed Weakling’s Journey to the Wilderness

Setting My Default to Happy – The Name that Changed My Life

The first time I truly enjoyed myself on a camping trip was two months ago in Moab. I have loved camping and backpacking my whole life, and I often experienced joy on these adventures, but underlying that happiness I always felt anxious, scared, or stressed. The quiet of wild spaces that most people find to…Read more Setting My Default to Happy – The Name that Changed My Life

The Mountains: Not Yet Cool Enough

I grew up in Atlanta myself, and understand the unavailability of the outdoors and lack of connection with the outdoors for many multicultural urban youth. And it doesn't seem to be getting better. One thing I did connect with was hip-hop. Atlanta is a music city. Hip-hop influenced every aspect of my life in one way or another. At six years old, I had three main influences: my friends, popular trends, and my favorite rapper, Lil Wayne.

Imperfect Progress is Progress Nonetheless – “Welcome to the conversation, REI!”

This campaign is neither the start nor the finish of the discussion concerning gender equality and diversity in the outdoors, and we as a community have a lot of work to do. I am glad, however, to have one of the major outdoor gear outfitters onboard, and using its enormous platform to call attention to these issues. Imperfect progress is still progress. In climbing a peak, I would rather take one shaky step up and slide halfway back, then to stand paralyzed, waiting for the perfection, while looking at the summit from far below.

Not Throwing Stones from My Glass House – Surprises, Mistakes, and Lessons Learned in the Smoky Mountains

TheΒ phenomenon of judging others is not uncommon in the hiking world, or outdoors community at large. For example, in an opinion piece in the Denver Post, Gail Schoettler criticizes those who enter wilderness areas unprepared, saying, "taking the proper equipment is just common sense β€” and a lifesaver in case of emergency." Schoettler's use of…Read more Not Throwing Stones from My Glass House – Surprises, Mistakes, and Lessons Learned in the Smoky Mountains