These Women Completed the First Thru-Hike of the Mexican Border
Plus, ultrarunning for healing and a collection of essays on traveling while black
I’m back from the backcountry of Colorado, where I met with some very rad people to have some big-picture discussions about Mappy Hour. There’s nothing like a few days of lugging your shit around in the mountains to make you appreciate the comfort of your couch, a hot shower, and a cold beer.
Last week at my office we said goodbye to the talented and kind Jonah Ogles, who published this fantastic piece in his final week with Outside. The perfect mic drop.
In November 2015, veteran thru-hiker Stephen “Otter” Olshansky was on the Continental Divide Trail in northern New Mexico when winter storms blanketed the area with several feet of snow. Pinned down and running out of food, he scraped his way to a campground latrine, holed up inside, and prayed for help to arrive.
What I’m reading
This Woman Used Ultrarunning to Heal from Abuse: Devon Yanko was sexually abused as a teenager. It took hundreds of miles for her to run away from the trauma. [Megan Michelson for Outside]
Traveling While Black: “I’m not a first-timer when it comes to getting my hair checked by the TSA. At this point, I’ve got it down to a science: If I wear braids in a bun, which is the most travel-friendly style, because otherwise they can reach down to the end of my back, I know someone is going to put their fingers through my hair.” [Morgan Jerkins opening a collection of essays for Traveling While Black]
The First Thru-Hike of the Mexican Border: After six months and 2,000 miles of hiking, Tenny Ostrem and Claire Wernstedt-Lynch finally reached the Gulf of Mexico. [Zak Podmore for Outside]
Shalane Flanagan Will Defend New York City Marathon Title at Age 37: She won the New York Marathon last year at 36. Now, after taking a good long while to consider retirement, she will try to do it again. [Lindsay Crouse for The New York Times]
Climate Heroes of the ‘Mothers of Invention’ Podcast: “During travels, in places like Sudan and Syria, she noticed that women in those countries were the most impacted by climate change—and the most impactful in trying to find ways to counter the creep of sea-level rise, drought, and man-made disasters.” [Heather Hansman for Outside]
Reminder: This is the new section where I include something I’m reading that strays away from the usual topics of this newsletter, but one I still think you’d enjoy. This week it’s not a story but rather a collection of music. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Queen of Soul died last week. I grew up on Aretha. She was one of my mom’s favorites (hi, Mom 👋), and some of my earliest memories are of the two of us cleaning the house while singing along to her powerful voice. In this short remembrance in The New Yorker, David Remnick writes a brief tribute to Aretha Franklin and lists videos of some of her greatest songs and performances.
Prayer, love, desire, joy, despair, rapture, feminism, Black Power—it is hard to think of a performer who provided a deeper, more profound reflection of her times. What’s more, her gift was incomparable. Smokey Robinson, her friend and neighbor in Detroit, once said, “Aretha came out of this world, but she also came out of another, far-off magical world none of us really understood. . . . She came from a distant musical planet where children are born with their gifts fully formed.”
Last but not least