#WildWomensProject: A Weekend with Inspiring Females

I receive a lot of invitations for press trips and unfortunately, I can’t attend a large percentage of them due to life commitments {#AdultingIsHard.} In the past three months alone, I’ve turned down a trip to the Canary Islands {painful}, a guided climb up Mt. Baker {truly, the toughest one for me}, a kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands, another heli-supported trip to the San Juan islands, a backpacking trip in Steamboat Springs, an uber ritzy week in Telluride {complete with a summit of Wilson Peak}, and a glamping excursion in upstate New York. I don’t list these out to sound arrogant; I’m simply trying to underscore my next statement.

A few months back, a random emailed bounced into my inbox from Amanda at BoldBrew PR. It was an invitation to an event, now called the #WildWomensProject on social media. It took place immediately following my already-scheduled trip to the San Juans for Hardrock, so I wasn’t sure I could make them both work. But something in Amanda’s initial email told me I needed to make this trip work; it was different than all of the other media trips out there. I trusted my gut instinct, scheduled some vacation time from work, finagled my schedule, and figured it out.

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And I am so, so glad that I did.

Located at the beautiful Opus Hut in the San Juan Range of Colorado, the venue couldn’t have been any more perfect. Perched at 11,600 feet, Opus is a hand-built, fully catered rustic hut that has enough charm to appease even the most discerning of traveler. It’s solar powered, has filtered drinking water and comfy beds and pillows, and the owner, Bob, is an amazing chef who crushes it for the daily meals. The afternoon soup {served before dinner} was quite literally the highlight of my day….but then again, food means a lot to me!

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The scenery straight out the door is epic. Towering peaks dot the skyline and the surrounding countryside is a veritable cornucopia of outdoor activities. Visiting in the winter? Backcountry skiing for days. Dropping by in July like us? You can drive your car within 1/4 mile of the hut but still slip into the hills for some lung-busting hikes filled with wildflowers.

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Alyssa from Outside Found

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Because climbing an insanely steep, wild flower-filled couloir is always a good idea

But more memorable than the hut or the outdoor activities was the fantastic group of women I had the pleasure of getting to know. Pro athletes. Social media influencers. Writers in the outdoor industry. Environmental conservationists and activists. All were present and accounted for, filling my head with ingenious ideas for the future of the outdoor industry. We chatted about career plans and life choices that led us to our present {and future} state. We discussed inclusivity while acknowledging the lack of diversity as we gazed upon the lily-white faces of everyone in the group. I spoke with Caroline Gleich about her activism efforts and Madeleine Carey about her career in conservationism at Wild Earth Guardians.  Jainee Dial and Lindsey Elliot shared Wylder Goods with us, the duo’s new online marketplace directed at the modern outdoors woman.

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We chatted. We hiked. We laughed. We ate s’mores. We shared stories. And we simply enjoyed the presence of other women from all walks of the outdoor industry.

There is a lot of open discussion these days about where the outdoor industry is going; what it will use to get there; who will be steering the ship; what type of audience it will attract. And while I sure don’t know the answers to any of those questions, I’m feeling highly confident that if this rad crew of women is guiding the ship, we have nothing to worry about.

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Huge thanks to the team at BoldBrew for the invite!

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13 Comments

  • Reply Lesley Glenn August 23, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Heather.
    I recently attended the Outessa Summit here in California. I have a few questions and thoughts and would like to run them by you. I was going to post here but decided not to, because I don’t want to leak everywhere at the moment but I will be emailing you.

    • Reply heather August 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Got your email, Lesley. I’ll respond soon!!

  • Reply Art August 24, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Amazing pictures! I am in awe at the beauty of that place

  • Reply Anne August 24, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I love that last picture! Whoever is hanging off the porch post wins at best photo pose over 😀 Is that Hildebear with Alyssa?

    • Reply heather August 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      It is! Hilde was such a sweetheart 🙂 She crushed our big hike too!

  • Reply RFC August 24, 2016 at 10:37 am

    You just go ahead and forward those opportunities you have to miss my way. I’m happy to help. HAHA!
    Signed,
    Wanderlust and trapped at sea level. 😉

    • Reply heather August 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Oh man, I was beyond bummed that I had to miss Mt. Baker in particular…in fact, I think they are climbing it RIGHT NOW!

  • Reply Elle August 25, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I follow many of the women that attended this event and it looked amazing! It is so inspiring to see rad women coming together to further the outdoor industry for females! The only thing that disappointed me about it was that (from what i saw) the group of women were all able-bodied and white. It would be so great to get some outdoor women of color and also outdoor disabled women involved. Just my thoughts.
    Thank you for sharing this amazing event with us!

    • Reply heather August 26, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Agree on all accounts. Like I mentioned in the post, this was actually a topic of discussion while we were there. Some of it was a byproduct of who accepted the invitation to attend, but the rest is definitely something the industry needs to work on. My M.Ed is actually in Outdoor Ed for At-Risk populations, and I’ve done a lot of work with adaptive athletes. It’s a fantastic population and I really would love to help them be represented more.

      • Reply Elle August 29, 2016 at 11:06 am

        How awesome that that was talked about! 🙂 That’s great that you work with those populations! I believe you can encourage them to be a part of this kind of thing in the future! 🙂

  • Reply alexa.al August 29, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Wow this adventure is really fantastic.

  • Reply Liz September 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I love your photos – especially the last one! It looks like you all shared an amazing time. More importantly, it looks like you shared great energy! Thank you for sharing this experience and encouraging everyone to live life to its fullest!

  • Reply Gen November 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    It’s sad to see not one person of color. With your platform I hope that changes in the future

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