Why Do I Care What I Wear in the Woods?
Sticks & Stones is back
Hello, I’m back! It’s been a while. Since I last sent out this newsletter, I got married and had a kid, said goodbye to my oldest dog, adopted a Great Pyrenees, edited a lot of stories, and grew a single lemon on my indoor lemon tree.
Here’s a photo of Beckett, my now seven-month-old, and me on his first ever backpacking trip the other weekend!
It’s good to be back writing Sticks & Stones. I might change up the formatting here and there to see what sticks. I may also send these more sporadically than I have in the past, due to some bandwidth issues and the general chaotic nature of life with a baby. Please holler with any feedback or reading recommendations, as always! I love getting notes from all of you.
What I’m reading
This week, the outdoor industry lost a legend: Hilaree Nelson, who was an amazing skier and mentor to many. My colleague Alison Osius, wrote an essay in response to the too-common double standard about adventurous moms that followed.
We can all only draw our own lines in the sand, and manage risk carefully, vigilantly. Even so, much is prone to luck. I nearly met disaster in the relatively safe genre of sport climbing, on a sunny September day about ten years ago, when a non-climber knocked down a mega rock that bounded toward my friend and me. I wasn’t even climbing, but sitting on a rock eating a sandwich. I jumped up, cowered against the cliff and behind a tiny tree; saw the spinning disk come right at me. It hit the wall and tree—which, believe me, has never been the same—and split into three pieces, one of which caught me in the chest, spun me around, and knocked me 20-plus feet down the gully. The rock was 40 pounds; it’s still there. My two boys were teens, as are Hilaree’s.
Read “In Defense of Adventurous Mothers” on Outside.
Speaking of adventurous women, after binging every single season of Alone during the pandemic (and also watching a so-bad-it’s-good survival miniseries, which I wrote about here), I was absolutely thrilled to see Woniya win the spin-off series the other week, making her the first women to win a season of Alone. Our articles editor interviewed her, and my favorite quote was:
I think that world has, for a long time, seen survival skills as more as being for men, even though all of us had ancestors—men, women, children, elders—who used to live in the wild. And from that perspective, I don’t think it’s such a big deal for a woman to win. Plus, I think the lack of a female winner is more because we haven’t had as many women participate in the show, even though women have always been really strong on Alone. And the fact that it wasn’t just myself going the distance, but that three women were the last three participants standing on this season, is really cool. I’m proud to represent that.
I had the pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend from grad school recently, and we got to work together on a fun essay she wrote: Read Sarah Fentem’s “Why Do I Care What I Wear in the Woods?” for a chuckle and reflection on belonging.
It’s so dorky to admit you want to look hot, and even more embarrassing to admit that you want to look cool, while sleeping on the ground or hauling your sweaty body up the side of a mountain. Guilty as charged.
Today I’m reading, though I haven’t finished it yet, the latest from The Atavist: “Alone at the Edge of the World” by Cassidy Randall.
The following morning, McIntyre stood on a boat alongside DHL Starlight to record an interview. He started by asking about the most challenging aspect so far, to which she replied succinctly, “Being becalmed.” Then he asked, “What challenges do you face as a female sailor that’s different to men?”
Goodall raised her eyebrows and laughed. “Come on,” McIntyre prodded, “what’s different?”
She tried to laugh it off. “Uh, I don’t have a very quick answer for that. Um, I don’t know. I guess I’m maybe not as strong as—”
“Oh, yes you are,” he interjected. “OK, we’ll pass on that one.”
Long reads Twitter
If you love a good long read, let me suggest a new account to follow. The Outside team and I just launched @outsidelongform Twitter, dedicated to (you guessed it!) long reads. We’ll tweet a lot of our own, of course, but also plenty from around the web and the outdoor space.
Last but not least
This is me.
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