Screaming!!!!!!!

As many of you already know, last month I was one of 36 women to be chosen as an ambassador for the online community, Hike Like A WomanHike Like A Woman is the brainchild of Rebecca Walsh.  She envisioned a community of like-minded women who would encourage and inspire each other to get outdoors and enjoy all the gifts Mother Nature has to offer.  She wanted to share her knowledge of the outdoors with others in hopes of motivating them to do the same.  Well, it worked!!!!! She has built an online community which has over 14,000 followers!  She must be doing something right ~ and the community is gaining new members every day.

hlaw3

A few months ago, Rebecca posted an idea that she hoped would help expand her philosophy ~ why not create an ambassador program to help her spread the word? What she originally had in mind, was to find 12 women who would contribute blogs and articles on hiking and backpacking, trip reports, stories of inspiration, hiking hacks, gear reviews, book reports, favorite hiking snacks, and more, so the website could take on a different personality.  Rebecca didn’t want HLAW to be all about her.  She wanted to extract ideas from different women of all ages, backgrounds, demographics and levels of knowledge in the hiking community. She crossed her fingers and encouraged women to apply for her pilot ambassador program by filling out an application and submitting an essay on why they should be picked as an ambassador. She hoped for any kind of a response. Well, guess what?  She received 118 applications ~ one of which was mine!  WOWZER!!!! She was bowled over by the unexpected enthusiasm of women who wanted to be a part of the HLAW Ambassador program.

hlaw2

Now, Rebecca had a big problem – who to select? How in the world does one read through 118 applications and select only 12 to represent? She looked through the applications and decided she had to open the program up to more than just 12 women.  She eliminated applications until she came to a manageable number of  30 women representing the US and 6 international ambassadors.

Frankly, I had forgotten about applying for the HLAW Ambassador program.  I had seen it flash by my newsfeed on Facebook.  I doubled back and read about it.  Intrigued, I applied, thinking it would be so great to share with other women who enjoyed hiking and backpacking as much as I did.  I LOVE hanging with my friends, but, other than my husband, Dale, I really don’t have anyone close to me who enjoys the outdoors like I do.  So, I filled out my application, wrote my stupid essay, thought, “no way in hell, Jill”, pushed SEND and that was that.  Over the next few weeks, a post would appear from Rebecca, “Narrowing it down to 80 applications.  Will let you know by email when I decide…”. Holy moley!  That’s a lot of women with more knowledge, charisma and experience than I have. I’m done…. So, I forgot all about it and channeled my energy towards other things.

On July 23rd, I opened an email from Rebecca, fully expecting a sweet, “Thank you for applying, but….”. The email thanked me for applying , the response was overwhelming, blah, blah, blah, and oh, by the way, “I’m excited to announce that I selected you as an Ambassador!”  

SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!!    Oh.  My.  Hell.  I was chosen.  I WAS CHOSEN!  Wait.
What? I was chosen??? Really?  Me?  From Nowhere, Colorado?? Me? Really?? I must have read and reread Rebecca’s email numerous times.  I still have it.  I think I’ll print it and frame it.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would even come close to being selected.  Call it self doubt.  Call it being humble.  Call it low self esteem. Or modesty. Whatever you call it, that was me.  And it still is.  

hlawteam

I am a Hike Like A Woman Ambassador.  I am a Hike Like A Woman Ambassador. I kind of like the sound of that!  ♥  My girlfriend, Cindy, who didn’t know at the time (we were sworn to secrecy ……great… that was soooo hard!), noticed I had a spring in my step as I cruised by her office. It does give you a sense of validation to be one of 36 chosen from 118 applications. I’m still internally SCREAMING on a daily basis. 

I’m starting to sweat bullets and have a touch of anxiety as the deadline approaches for my first submission.  But, I have all the other ambassadors and Rebecca inspiring me and encouraging me along the way, so that gives me the confidence that I can handle whatever comes my way.  I am not alone in this journey.  And that’s what we are all about. There are amazing women within this group of whom I have come to know and love as if I had known them forever. They bring so much to the table and I look forward to collaborating with them over the next year. 

Best part of being involved in the ambassador program? I get to help encourage and inspire others ~ whether you are a seasoned veteran hiker or a novice to the outdoors,  we all need someone in our hip pocket to give us the little extra push to walk off that cliff backwards….

 

Walking Off a Cliff Backwards

Thirty-eight years ago, while as a student at Western State College (now known as Western State Colorado University) in Gunnison, Colorado, for the first time ever, I walked off a cliff backwards.  I had equipment and teammates to support me in my journey downward until my feet touched the ground.  Once my feet were planted firmly on the rocky soil of Hartmans Rocks  (I don’t remember how I even got there), I fell to my knees and literally kissed the ground, thankful for the trust I had to have in my equipment and in those who were in charge of my well-being.  I mean, who would want to make that dreaded phone call to my parents: “Mr. and Mrs. Norcross? I’m calling to inform you that your daughter has made a very unique splatter pattern on the rocks.  Looks kind of cool, like a Spirograph pattern, ya know? Anyway, could you please give me your address so we can scrape her off the side of the cliff and ship her remains to you in an envelope?”

climbing

Not me, man.  So, I can understand why my mountain rescue teammates would want to ensure that I survived this simple act of walking off a cliff backwards.

Thirty-five years later, I again walked off a cliff backwards.  This time, there were no material things or physical bodies to arrest my free fall… I dove headfirst into a world I had always fantasized about, but never took the first steps to enter, until 3 years ago when I entered the world of backpacking and hiking.

My husband and I have been together for 36 years ~ married 32 of those years.  We have been through a lot.  Births, raising a family, deaths, illness and other factors that could tear a marriage apart. But we persevere.  So, this blog was born for many reasons ~ I won’t go into detail, but for the most part, my husband and I want to share our adventures.  We are a team in the game of life.  We love our children and our grandchildren as much as a human possibly can.  We realize they have their own lives and we have ours.  It’s just the two of us now ~ so we have decided to make the most out of our time together as much as we possibly can.  Adventure awaits!!!

ct1

I LOVE BACKPACKING!!!! Did I say that loud enough?? I always have.  I was introduced to it during my years at college by my teammates on the Western State College Mountain Rescue Team which I was a part of for 3 years.  I love being outdoors.  I love hiking.  I love identifying flowers, plants, animals, valleys, peaks, and sharing with others.  I love the simplicity of knowing all you need to survive with, is on your back.   I love the freedom from all the technical communication gadgets that were invented to make our world an easier place to live in. I love saying, “We’re going off the grid for a few days.  Will phone when we return.” Dale, on the other hand only hiked as a necessity; a horse trail to clear, or a fence to be mended, or a game animal to chase which would help to feed our family for the year.

Dale was raised in Meeker, Colorado, smack dab in the middle of the hunting culture. That’s all he knew.  You didn’t hike or backpack just for the freedom of doing so.  You hiked because you needed to hunt an elk or deer.  You backpacked the carcass out of the forest.  It was work.  Not play.  You snowshoed not because you wanted to experience the crisp, winter chill or see the snow sparkle and glisten upon it’s surface, you snowshoed to shovel the snow off of cabins in the winter so you would have one come spring.

snowshoe

With that in mind, we have been been at a tug-of-war for 32 years.  Three years ago, I finally won!!!  I somehow managed to open Dale’s eyes to adventure in hiking and backpacking.  He is now on the lookout for adventures ~ so much, that at times it’s overwhelming, but I’m not gonna kick it!  We enjoy sharing together, pointing out cloud shapes, blooming Columbines, tundra, peaks, listening to Pikas call to each other, where to set up camp, how many miles to hike on a given day, sharing meals, taking care of each other and making decisions together to insure our survival.  Life at it’s simplest.

Marvine Hike 2016 004 - Copy

We enjoy dragging our friends down our path.And they seem to enjoy the ride, as well.

devils

We all have so much fun, but at the end of the day, it’s just Dale and I.  And that’s what counts. This blog is dedicated to all our adventures, past, present and future ~ my hope is that others will enjoy and realize that everyone has their own cliffs to walk off backwards ~ “life is a great adventure, or nothing”.  What you choose to do with it speaks volumes as to who you are.

lifeis