We asked some of our fellow outdoor gals to tell us their "Nature Is Female" story.
What it's like for them to be females in the wild. What nature means to them.
What memories they have of the outdoors. How nature has shaped them.
We love the unique, realistic, and heartwarming perspectives that all of these women and girls have shared. Reading their accounts gave us goosebumps, and made us think and feel more deeply about the place of women and girls in nature.
We hope you enjoy these stories, learn from them, and connect with them.
"It’s been interesting for me to experience firsthand how people find it peculiar to see a woman hiking and camping alone in the outdoors.
In 2015 I embarked on a three-week road trip out west by myself to explore and photograph our western public lands. Yes, I am married, but I chose to do a trip alone, it was 100% my intention so that I could focus on photography and hiking and only had to worry about myself.
During this trip I kept coming across people who couldn’t grasp why I’d want to do this solo. I had strangers approach my campsite asking me if I needed help building my fire because they saw that I was by myself. I even had campground hosts express how sorry they felt for me and that they will be checking on me throughout my stay because they’re concerned, simply because I’m by myself. If it came up in conversation that I am married, people would immediately ask, “Why isn’t he here?! Why would he let you go on a trip all by yourself?! He should be here to protect you!!”
That solo trip made me realize that there is still this stigma that women can’t handle being alone in the outdoors, that it’s too dangerous for us and we need men to protect us. This mindset was rather surprising to me, honestly, because when I’m out for a day hike I can’t help but notice that the number of women on the trail will often outnumber the men. I’m definitely seeing a shift in the right direction, perhaps we just need to talk about it more!"
-Krissy Gehring | @krissygehring
"I love being outdoors with its simple wonders and spectacular displays. 70 years ago I had the privilege of growing up in a small Wisconsin farming community surrounded by lush fields of peas and corn and cows! As I think back it seems like we were always outside—playing ball, mowing lawn, skating on backyard ice ponds. I learned that weather mattered. There were abundant harvests when the weather blessed us and devastation when violent storms mowed down entire crops.
Early in my life, my parents purchased a one-room cabin “up north.” It was 30 minutes down a dirt “road less travelled” overgrown with six-foot ferns. I loved daytime’s simple adventures of boating and fishing and doing endless surface dives and handstands in the clearest of lakes. I loved the quiet wilderness sounds at night, counting whippoorwill calls and hearing the frogs croaking in a nearby pond. Kerosene lamps, a two-holer, and ice-box—none of the comforts of home and yet, it seeded in me a soulful connection and comfort with nature.
Fast-forward with a honeymoon drive to our new home in the Pacific Northwest. Here we found mountains, little snow and lots of rain, salt water with orcas and salmon, no walleyes! We raised 3 kids in a city—peppered with day hikes, some camping, spirited times at the ocean and playing on Hayden Lake. As a family we climbed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I’ve trekked in Nepal and rambled inn to inn in England. Last year we tracked tigers in India and trudged up to Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan.
I have loved those challenging, exhilarating adventures in the wilds of places unknown. They have deepened my self-understanding and heightened my awareness of how interconnected we are as global citizens. But it’s the day-to-day connection with nature that truly sustains, strengthens and renews me—the simple pleasures of early morning bird songs or walks along the shore during low tides. Or, it’s like last night: sitting on our back porch, in a gift of pure joy our 5-year old grand-daughter made “flower stew” out of our garden’s blooms. With her blunt-nosed scissors and careful attention she created a masterpiece of color and design."
"As a woman, nature has shaped me in many ways, but it all boils down to two main themes: the nurturer and the force of nature. Spending time in nature, even just lounging in a hammock with a cold beer or taking a short day hike, has given me such an appreciation for how tremendous Earth really is. When I think about all the tiny details that put humans in this exact place in the universe for this moment in time, it truly makes me want to protect it like my life depends on it, because it does! I think I’ve recently realized that this nurturing sensibility is part of what led me to my current career in sustainability. Oppositely, there are times when I’m in the outdoors and it makes me feel like a total badass force of nature that can take on anything thrown my way. Sometimes it literally takes summiting a mountain to get this feeling, but when I finally accomplish whatever I set out to do it gives me such a sense of strength and power. This empowering and uplifting effect is what gets me back out in nature every time!"
-Katie Kumerow | @katie_kumee
"As a female paddler I have gone days and even weeks without seeing another woman outside my group during long paddles and portages across Minnesota and Canada. There is a spark of joy when we do see another woman, some internal mutual recognition of “Hey, we belong out here.” Having been introduced to the world of paddling through a summer camp I am especially tickled to meet young girls on the trail. I know they see me hucking a pack or carrying a canoe along a portage and they feel reassured that they, too, are determined, powerful and strong enough to do the same.
I was 13 the first time I shouldered a wood-canvas canoe. My 115-pound pencil-thin frame would have been driven directly into the ground under its weight if it weren’t for my massive hiking boots. On that seven-day trip I spent a quarter of my days pining for ice cream on my return and the rest of it wondering what my parents had gotten me into. I counted 40+ turtles, a raccoon, deer, and a handful of eagles in between dairy cravings and portages.
When we got off trail and returned to civilization, I was thrilled to wash off the layers of sunscreen and bug spray and dig my spork into a block of mint chocolate chip.
Today, I have similar (albeit fleeting) feelings while on trail, but they alternate with a much stronger wild love for the muddy, itchy, beautiful experiences I choose to partake in outdoors. Type 2 fun is a special kind of enjoyment and I love meeting all the magical people—especially women—out there who share a similar appreciation for dirt and chaos."
-Hatie Parmeter | @whoamagwhoa
"For me, Nature is Female stands for the women that represented nature when I grew up as a child. Whenever my grandfather would come home with the catch of the day, my grandmother would provide the whole family with an incredible meal. They went on road trips and camp trips through Scandinavia, with their children and grandchildren, in their VW T1's and my parents in their Bedford camper. Now that I think about it, they have been a big influence on my love for Scandinavian nature. I know that they would be happy with the fact that I moved to Denmark.
Both my grandmothers looked for natural solutions when one of their children or grandchildren were sick. And both of them were strong and natural beauties. They told us about the beautiful island they came from and we would sing songs about the beaches, ocean and mountains. Long after they both passed away, I finally traveled to their homeland, the Maluku Islands, where I felt more spiritually connected with my ancestors than ever and where I found my love for the outdoors. I dove into the sea, crawled through caves, gathered cloves and coconuts, and hiked mountains in the place where my grandmothers did the same when they were young.... It made me feel strong, wild and free.
So whenever I go outdoors, for a hike, a microadventure, or a multiday trip, I carry my grandmothers with me—they guide me, cook with me, and inspire me."
-Aïscha Tomasoa | @thebohohobos
"Nature represents a powerful source of positive energy in my world. My connection to her feeds my health and happiness.
Hiking the wooded trail, floating the stream, or being still in a park bring me fuel and strength. I experience restoration as I open my senses to take in her offerings. The peace of nature—quiet, but not silent —fills me. Her colors and details amaze me around every turn or bend. My feet celebrate the soft cushion of pine needles. I find the familiar and relish the reliable reward. Yet I am thrilled with the new discoveries and the ever-changing story she tells.
I relate to her through our shared priorities of nurture, growth, and balance. Surrounded by our village, my daughter and I find resources that support our well-being, meet our needs, and help us grow through experiences toward a better life balance. In turn, we offer resources to those around us to empower them. Our village, in its relatively tiny scale, mimics natures vast systems. And ours works even better when connected to Nature’s beautifully balanced model.
To share experiences in the outdoors with those we love, strengthens relationships. Together with my daughter, my dog, or my dear friends, we drop the distractions of our daily lives in favor of a focus in the moment and pleasure in immersing ourselves in natural spaces. We deserve these shared rewards and are better for them.
Nature. She is strong. We are connected. Her strength is mine."
"To me, being a girl in the wild is exciting, and new. What I mean when I say new is; something could happen at any second, something could change, it prepares me, and whatever happens is always different, and neck chilling, goose bumps, exciting!
It could be a rainy month, when the grass is always wet, and the frogs are chirping with the birds. It could be fall, where the leaves on trees, especially birch trees, changing to different colors making everything beautiful, and where animals all go looking for food for hibernation. Or the squirrels dig holes in your yard burying their nuts. It could be summer, when hummingbirds come up to flowers.
Nature relaxes me, it lets me look around at my surroundings, surroundings like a grassy field, or meadow. Sometimes, I even just lay down in the grass in my own backyard. Listening to the grass whispering when the wind blows, birds singing their songs, how green and pretty the trees and plants are, see the different colors and combinations of flowers. Butterflies, fluttering around the wildflowers, deer, walking around with their fawns.
All of that is nature, nature is calming, and lets me think clearly, nature is my home. A place where peace is, a place where I can have fun, no matter where it is."