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Find Your Tribe

Behind every strong woman is herself

By: Kat Dellinger + Save to a List

I've often lamented the fact that more women don't recognize the inherent power in female friendships. Especially when it comes to building an outdoor community. Don't get me wrong - I love a solo adventure as much as the next person, but when I tackle a backpacking trip with my "mountain wives", the lift in my step is a little lighter and the breeze at my back feels a little stronger. Those intangibles are because of my tribe.

I'm not going to lie - these relationships don't appear quickly out of a mist or happen overnight. It took a good 4 years of fostering an outdoor alliance before I found them. At first, there were only two of us. We knew we loved backpacking and hiking and decided to plan a long weekend trip - without our husbands. There were a few struggles and a LOT of laughs. After several more excursions, we added a third who we knew and loved ... and then a fourth. Each one of us brings a different gift to the group dynamic. There's a planner, a cheerleader, a go-with-the-flow champion and a task master. Not one of us encroaches on another persons "specialty" and it works. At the end of each day hike or back packing trip at least one of us says "I am so glad to have you all in my life". 

So how do you do it? Years ago I joined a meet-up group in the area for hiking. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a "can we hook up?" group than "meet up" group due to the overabundance of males. So I opened my eyes and ears at work and it started there. Another option are female-only private groups on social media platforms. Prior to hiking the JMT last year, I was on the "Ladies of the JMT Forum" daily, gleaning tips about everything for my hike - and planning to meet some of those incredible women out on the trail. In my opinion, women backpackers are a unique community. We are quick to offer non-condescending advice and open to each others experiences as a way to learn and become better outdoor stewards. Is there no local group in your area? Then start one on your own. Research the hikes within a 50 mile radius of you, and put it out there for others to join you on some trips. You never know - your tribe just might be waiting for you to make the first move. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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