The Men Behind the Women of Hike Like A Woman

Hike Like A Woman is a brilliant website brimming with women who celebrate being a woman in the outdoors and who inspire each other on a daily basis. I am one of the lucky few who is both an Ambassador and a staff member of HLAW. We are first and foremost, adventurers. We are bloggers, vloggers and freelancers. We are day hikers and backpackers. We are horsewomen, skiers, snowshoers and climbers. We mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. We blog about our day hike to amazing waterfalls or our solo hike into the wilderness. We write articles about our hopes, our dreams, our families, our hiking buddies, and what scares us. We take our audience on a magic carpet ride in search of the perfect piece of hiking gear, backpack snack or the perfect trail. We tell stories of our time on the trail and share our victories and defeats with each other. We are a sisterhood. We are a tribe of outdoor women.

But hidden behind the curtains, standing in the shadows, are the men who support us and embrace our philosophy. Without them, we would not be the women we are today.

My husband, Dale, and I just celebrated our 33rd wedding 19884106_10155434598052398_6597964975313584957_nanniversary. We met in college and have been a couple for 37 years now. Throughout the better part of my life, Dale and I have adventured through life together, as a team.  He supports every zany idea I come up with. He is there to catch me when I fall, brush me off and set me back on the path.

Engineer pass

He wholeheartedly supports my position within the Hike Like A Woman community. He helps edit my blogs and articles. He makes suggestions for topics and takes me on amazing adventures so I may share them with others. He pushes me to be a better person than I was the day before and he inspires me to be the best I can be. We are a team. He is the man behind this HLAW woman.

I asked some of my fellow HLAW ambassador buddies to tell me about their behind-the-scenes man ~ Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to some of the men behind the women of Hike Like A Woman: 

 

HLAW Ambassador Jennifer Simmons, her husband Scott, and their growing family

Kristin Smeltzer My lovely man is allergic to the outdoors. Literally allergic to all flora (he got tested). He is the only person I know who has managed to get bitten by a possum. The outdoors is just really not his thing. But he understands how much being outdoors means to me. He encourages me to take time out hiking and camping as he knows it strengthens me mentally and physically. He encourages me to do things he wouldn’t do – like go overseas for a month hiking and travelling with no fixed plan. You can’t get a lot more supportive than that … 

Rebecca Connell Walsh My husband challenges me to push myself harder than I think I can, to set bigger goals than I think I’m capable of achieving, and to reach for the stars. But if I miss he catches me when I fall, and lifts me back up again. He’s my best friend, my confidant, my mentor, and an amazing father to my little boys. He’s the best thing to ever happen to me. 

HLAW founder aka Bossypants, Rebecca Walsh and her husband, Al Walsh

Ruth Schmidt I must say that all of the guys I regularly hike with (husband included) have been fantastic and have helped me out on numerous occasions. My husband helped me when we were kloofing in the Magaliesberg and I started getting cramps from the cold water (https://youtu.be/yc1vTKZ1hDA), and of course my friend Ralph and cousin Benjamin carried all my stuff and helped me hike out of the Drakensberg when I dislocated my shoulder.  https://youtu.be/IbhRLh843nQ


Amanda Lucy Haskins Where do I even begin??? Tim has carried me mentally, physically and emotionally through one of the most difficult and challenging parts of my life. He has helped me to work my way from the wheelchair up to 6 miles of hiking (and he hates hiking!). He carries me to bed when I am in too much pain to walk.

I ask him constantly why he would want to be with a broken girl when there are so many healthy girls out there. He still sees me as Wonder Woman even when I am sobbing from the frustration of not being able to be the me I used to be, from the pain and from countless doctors visits with no answers.

He has made all my dreams come true while carrying me. He took me and my dogs to see the ocean, which was my final wish before I passed away. He got me my dream farm to live on, which brings me so much peace and joy. He loves me through the good times and the bad (which have been many). I don’t know how he does it with the patience and kindness of a saint. I never imagined anyone would love me the way he does, or see me the way he does or stand by me through it all. I am truly blessed to be loved by this man! I wouldn’t be the strong woman I am today without my Beast giving his strength to me. 

Lucy and Tim
Tim and Lucy will be tying the marriage knot in September ~ Congratulations!!!! ~

Lucky Charms for the Trail

When we pack for a backpacking trip, we pack the essentials to ensure our survival.

Simply put ~ Food, clothing and shelter. But, there are other tricks we have up our sleeve that we can’t do without on the trail.

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Please do not make me leave my 4 year old trusty compression gloves at home!

Lucky charms, tradition or superstition, call it what you will. I’m a firm believer. If it works to ensure a safe and uneventful trip for us, then I make sure I do the same thing over and over again.

I wear the exact same clothes. That way there is no overthinking of what to wear. Worked last time. It’ll work this time. Unless I’ve gained weight and have to buy something new ~ which now makes me cranky to think that I have gained some weight and I’ll be a Nancy-No Fun on the trail. 

I wear the exact same jewelry as I did on the previous backpack trip and I paint my nails the color of the trail I’m on.

Before our hike in the Grand Canyon, I had scheduled a nail appointment. I thought that was a silly thing to do, as I’d probably screw up a good manicure. Nope! It turns out that my nails were extra strong and didn’t break. Plus, they looked good, too! They hid the dirt well. We all need to utilize a little vanity every now and then, plus have fun with it.

The only jewelry I wear while backpacking and my CT green nails!

Before our hike on the Colorado Trail, I scheduled a manicure. My nail technician suggested I paint them the color of the iconic trail markers. They matched perfectly! I wore the same jewelry on the trail that I had worn in the Grand Canyon. 

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Spidey always goes where Dale goes…. They’re a team!

Dale packs his lucky Spiderman bendable action figure as his co-navigator. He goes wherever we go. He transfers Spidey from his daypack to his backpack when necessary. That little man goes with us wherever we go. Why? No reason other than it wouldn’t feel right if we left him home. 

My trowel always clings to the left side of my pack ~ never the right. Do not ask me why…

Then there is the trowel I carry. It can always be found on the left side of my pack. Dale suggested putting it on the other side and I about stroked out. I don’t know why I can’t pack it on the right side ~ I just have a phobia about screwing up the good vibes. When I try to go against the grain, it just doesn’t feel good. 

I have an irrational fear of screwing up good karma on the trail. So I do everything in my power to make sure I won’t upset the trail gods. All our pack trips have been successful and uneventful. So, I believe all our charms, superstitions and traditions have paid off. What are your superstitions? Do you have any lucky charms to ward off the bad vibes one might encounter in the woods?

 *Remember ~ it’s only weird if it doesn’t work. *

Is It Summer, Yet?

Summertime is a long time coming when you live in the northwest corner of Colorado. It can snow one day, be 65 degrees the next, blow the salad off your plate, then rain that afternoon. I have sat in my front yard, wrapped in a sleeping bag on the 4th of July, watching the fireworks while it spit snow on us! While waiting for the weather to straighten out, trip planning is on the books.

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Camping at Steamboat Lake, Colorado

Our favorite summer trips are the ones we take with our friends. And family, of course. But because our kids don’t live in town, anymore, we often hook up with friends. Dale and I have taken our friends fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, boating and 4 wheeling. Going on adventures is so much more fun when shared with other like-minded adventurers. Our fun meter always seems to get cranked sky high.

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Bechler River Trail, Yellowstone National Park

I have laughed with my friends in a cabin until my sides hurt so bad that I prayed for a somber moment. I have played cards for shots of my favorite drink at an outfitter’s camp located deep in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado, only to brush my teeth with the leftover rum and coke in my coffee cup the next morning. My husband and I have listened from our sleeping bags, to our camp mates in the next tent trying to herd a bat in the direction of the nearest exit while trying not to wake us up with their squeals. We all take turns fixing the best camp dinners ever ~ it’s kind of an egotistic validation type of thing. We have fished until our arms hurt from catching too many fish. We have  hiked switchbacks while hollering to each other, “Hellooooooo!”, in a British accent. Somehow, I don’t think these moments in time would have occurred if it was just Dale and I by ourselves. Dignity seems to go out the window when we run in packs.

 

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Los Blancos Locos

There are 6 of us who are great friends. Our kids have grown up together. Two of us are co-workers. Four of us are co-founders of a business. We all come from diverse backgrounds, but our thirst for adventure has brought us closer together.

Every trip we take together is a grand adventure in companionship. We have climbed up mountains together.

We have slept under the stars together. We have crossed over 12,000′ passes. We have hiked into camp only to play cards and cheat our way to victory (Doug!) We have sat in the hot springs of Chalk Creek together until our skin wrinkled and almost fell off!

We are more than just friends, we are a small gang. 

It takes a certain type of chemistry to hang with people who like to have the same adventures as you do. It doesn’t work for all couples, but it works for us! All the decisions are made easily.  All the small jobs that come with a hike or camping trip are distributed with ease.  I don’t know how or why it happens ~ it just does.

Just before the beginning of summer, we will all meet at the local hangout, Chippers, in Meeker.  We will get out our calendars and pin down a weekend when we are all free. We will mark it down then discuss where to go and what to do.  As the special date gets closer, we will meet on a back porch to outline details of the trip. A few days before the trip, us gals will head to the grocery store with a list of food that would feed a kingdom. We will not starve.

When the day of our adventure arrives, the vehicles will be gassed up, our coolers packed, our backpacks ready to go and we all pile into our cars laughing and yakking all the way to our destination.  Our trip together will be filled with non-stop adventure. We will return exhausted but with many memories that will be revisited between ourselves year after year.

friends

Wandering Chardonnay Podcast ~ you’ll love her!!

https://hikelikeawoman.net/2017/05/hiking-with-chardonnay-2/ So my podcast is out on Hike Like a Woman! It was my first time doing a podcast interview. We did the interview back in December, so I was still in trail prep mode. Rebecca is a great interviewer, checkout some of her other interviews they are more informative. I was nervous, if you […]

via Podcast giggles — wandering chardonnay

Has Hiking Ruined You? Are You A Dirtbag Hiker?


Modesty, manners and appearance. Those words resonate politeness, discretion, and dressing appropriately for any occasion. Every day I strive to practice these characteristics that I want to be remembered by. But recently, I have come to the conclusion that this is not always possible.  Why? Because I fear hiking has ruined me.  It’s ruined my manners, my politeness and certainly the way I dress. It’s turned me into what we hikers affectionately call ourselves ~ dirtbag hiker or hiker trash.

Whenever I am on a long day-hike or a backpacking trip for a week, it’s like flipping a switch in my personal habits.  My manners, modesty and appearance pretty much go out the window. My trips usually entail a survival mode so I’m not really too concerned about fashion or being classy.  I can dress up pretty good when I want to.  But when I’m hiking, there’s a certain type freedom I feel when I get to throw away all the con-

Stayin’ classy at 11,800′

straints that society puts upon us. 

I started thinking about some of the ways hiking has ruined me and how it has made it much harder for me to flip that switch. My hair gets tucked up into my baseball cap. Sunscreen takes the place of makeup. Hiking clothes take the place of a nice blouse and high dollar jeans.  Boots take the place of my Dansko clogs. I wipe my nose on my sleeve instead of using a tissue.  I drop my drawers behind a bush only if there is one available. If not, well, my hiking partners just need to avert their eyes (my poor husband!).

A couple of weeks ago, Dale and I were traveling through SE New Mexico and West Texas. We stopped in Carlsbad, NM for a few nights to visit the Carsbad Caverns NP and to hike up Guadalupe Peak.  We pulled into the trailhead parking lot. The lot was filled with quite a few hikers and campers and other tourists just milling around. I still had my jeans on and needed to change into my hiking pants. Without thinking, I jumped out of the car, stripped off my jeans, grabbed my other pants from the backseat and proceeded to put them on in the parking lot, not hiding behind a car door or even aware of the people around me. I had forgotten to flip that little switch from “hiking world” to the “act like a lady world”.  

There are numerous other forehead slap moments, but I thought I’d ask my fellow Hike Like A Woman ambassadors for their epiphanies, their moments when they realized they were ruined and had become a Dirtbag Hiker:  

Kristin Smeltzer ~ “I think hiking has ruined me!!  On the way to work and I thought…not sure if I put deodorant on before heading to work. So I stop at a shop on the way and pick some up. Waiting for my connecting train, in my work gear, and just started putting it on! No filter didn’t even think

Amanda Lucy Haskins ~ “I came home from camping for a week by myself in Cataloochee, NC. Hadn’t had a bath all week, had been chopping wood, hiking, fishing, building fires, etc. And went to the grocery store on my way home. Smelling like a cave woman and campfire.
Covered in mud, suit, dirt and who knows what else. Didn’t think anything about it until every one started staring at me and smirking. Not to mention I shop in the upscale section of town and it was a Sunday so everyone else had on their “church clothes”. Lol”

Mara, right, and her friend, Lagena, getting coffee and food after a week of being in the wilderness

Mara Kuhn ~ “One of my best friends always worries about how we look and smell after hiking when we go out to eat. And I’m like, “nah, it’s a hiking town
they’ll understand.” He’s a guy and I’m a girl, something backwards about that 😂 But he never wants to go to the “nice” places. I just don’t care. If I saw anyone who knew me, they’d totally know what I was up to anyway”

Gretchen Elizabeth ~ “Hahaha, that’s great! About a month ago I ended up in a fancy restaurant in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. I had just finished hiking the Badlands all day, but was still feeling pretty cute in a mostly black ensemble & flowy white scarf. Unfortunately, the ENTIRE backside of me was coated head to toe in thick, hard, caked on red mud from when I took a brief tumble down the slippery hillside. It was pretty funny to watch the whole dining room double take as I walked on in” 

Kathryn Petroff ~ “When I got back home from the CO Trail last fall, I had the whole day to myself without my husband and kids. That’s a rare gem of a moment to 

Looking her best on the Colorado Trail

have the house to myself. I was filthy and tired, but all I wanted to do was sit down on the ground and read. I had no motivation to peel my hiking clothes off to take a shower…not even my boots! I just sat there on the hard ground like I was at a campsite. For the next several days all I wanted to eat was my trail food.

Dirtbag hiker babe

It took me a while to readjust to the comforts of home, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it until my husband pointed it out. I’m sure I’ve picked up all kinds
of interesting habits as a hiker, but living in a mountain town, they go unnoticed…it’s the norm here  ~ This is a great post idea! Hail to the sweaty, stinky hiking goddesses! ~ Andrew (Kathryn’s husband) said to tell all y’all it’s totally hot when women embrace their hikertrash

Jennifer Hewitt ~  I just came off a 4 mile hike, it’s 87 degrees today, I’m hot, I’m literally dripping in sweat, I’m covered from head to toe in a gross suntan lotion/dirt mixture, and I’m sure I smell, but I needed groceries so here I am at the grocery store… and no f*cks are given about how I look or smell because I feel great  ~  I love the smell of campfire on my clothes”

This dirtbag hiker LOVES mud!

Michelle Carner Long ~  “I think, for me, I’ve kinda always been this way in some ways. I’ve never had much personal modesty. My motto “If they ain’t seen it yet, it time they did”. I’ve never been super girly, so I’ve never really dressed to impress. Though I’ve still wanted to look pretty. Age, has taken care or that vanity.

There’s no denying the graying hair, loose, sagging skin and body parts. Facebook has been incredibly helpful in letting go of vanity. I purposely put up and let stay tagged unflattering photos of myself. Aging is hard enough without being all hung up in it. As for being dirty, stinky and messy from the trail. I love it. No need to primp and tidy myself before seeing the public. As Jennifer said, I have no f#$%s to give. It’s really freeing. I too, sometimes stay in my nasty clothes once I’m home. Relishing the feeling of a job well done” 

Tina M. Lanciault ~  “we were backpacking for 7 days in WY one year (about 6 of us) and we had just come off the trail, dirty and smelly after not taking a shower for seven days. We first thought we should go to our hotel and shower first before going to get something to eat. I was so hungry, all I could think about was eating a bacon cheeseburger and fries. We stood around for a few minutes and said “screw it” let’s eat and drink we can get showers later. So into the first restaurant we saw. Some people looked at us funny but I must say those where the best tasting french fries I ever had and I didn’t care then what anyone thought and I still don’t today after a day on the trail. I love coming home from a backpacking trip or camping trip and still smelling the campfire on my coat or jacket. I guess we’re all HIKER TRASH I love it!!!”

Ardeen Duckworth ~ “I love that, how the need to eat – and eat ALL THE FOOD – trumps everything else. I’m the same, I feel like Pigpen from Charlie Brown tromping into the restaurant, but nothing will stop me! And inside my head I am, to be honest, pretty righteous as I look at the lovely dressed up ladies and think of how hardcore I feel. And yeah, the waft of campfire out of the coat closet a few days later is the best!!”

 ChuckandLorna Radcliff  ~ Hiking or backpacking in Florida is just a hot, sweaty and stinky experience. I personally don’t glisten like most ladies ~

Even grandmas can be dirtbag hikers!

– heck no I sweat buckets in all the awkward places. My pants always look like I peed them, my back is drenched, my pits are huge circles of sweat, and my hair will be drenched. In fact, I put the hair up in a hat from the go, wear black hiking pants to camo the sweat but nothing covers or masks the unmistakable smell of sweat after a day or two of hiking without a shower. Last backpacking trip my hiking pants were literally ringing wet with sweat. I was hoping I had sweat my butt off, but it was still back there. I wear my sweat, dirt and stench with pride! This Grandma gets out there – that’s all that matters to me.

Lisa Munniksma ~ I prefer “dirtbag hiker” to “hiker trash,” but I identify either way. As a farmer, too, I am always meeting friends in town for a beer or just going to the grocery store and running into people looking a wreck–no one even bothers asking anymore.

 

In the end, I think it goes back to the basic fact that hikers don’t care what others look like – we are all equal on the trail. But when society rears its ugly head, all the stares and negativity start to flow. I cherish my dirty nails, crazy hair and sweaty clothes – granted there is a time and place for it – but, it’s a sweat and dirt earned from hard work and massive enjoyment.  We are all ruined…. and that’s not a bad thing! And don’t forget to flip that switch!

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And, yes, I can clean up when I need to!