Written By Nicole Golden
If you’ve seen the movie Wild, you might get the impression that girls are oblivious as to what to do in the wild or even how to camp. I must admit that on my first what I would consider ‘real’ camping/rock climbing trip I was a bit unprepared. On a side note, why don’t they let girl scouts go camping and learn everything the boys are learning? I would’ve been a lot more prepared for the wilderness (and I think this would’ve instilled a deeper love for the Earth & some type of independence in me) had this have occurred early on in my life instead of being locked up in a cabin playing telephone, singing kumbaya, making smores in a microwave, or sitting outside Walmart selling girl scout cookies.
Anyways, aside from purchasing a backpack from Dick’s Sporting Goods as well as a 40degree sleeping bag; there was not much preparation involved for my first climbing trip. I had inherited an old tent and cooler which I thought would be good enough to get me through. Now I have to say I was spoiled a bit, there were showers at this place and mirrors with sinks and a toilet. There was also food about 30 steps away from my tent site; but nonetheless, I was going climbing outside the next day- on real rocks- not pegs or plastic gym holds. Little did I know it had rained just before my arrival to the climbing location and the short hike uphill was a slippery slimy mud-fest- which I had to complete in my flip-flops since I didn’t have hiking shoes. Not a big deal but unprepared I was. When I climbed to the top of the first route
I was shocked; I saw this- holding all of my weight up!
Then I turned around and saw how high I was! I was so scared but I just faced the rock and told myself it would be ok and I’ll be back on the ground soon. When I got down I was filled with excitement and fear; and the need to climb something else! I was out of my comfort zone feeling challenged but thrilled at the same time. Fast forward to 5 years later and I’m climbing in Yosemite taking showers every 4-5 days…who would’ve thought? My point about this post though- is that girls can make it camping. After those 5 years I’ve gotten the whole camping thing together. I purchased myself the number one item for camping: a jet boil. If you don’t know what it is, check it out. All you need is some propane and you’ve got great meals for breakfast lunch and dinner. Another ticket item for women is the freshette (also look this up). Basically, you don’t need a toilet anymore, woohoo! Another couple of key things- water, wood, matches, knife, hiking shoes, pants, deet, basic tent that you could put up and break down in less than 5min., coffee and beer, and you’re good to go! My sister and I just returned from a camping trip and I have to say it was pretty awesome just the two of us out there eating smores and starting our own fires for 3 nights in a row. We were the only group of “all girls” at the campsite. And although when we first arrived we got looks like “those people can’t set up a tent or start a fire” or at least the feeling of “how long will it be until they ask me for help?”, by the time we left it was like we earned our place there. Whether these “looks” were real or perceived is to be determined, but the reason this kind of thinking is in my head is because of what I mentioned above: girls at a young age are not taught to be independent. They are taught to rely on someone else to hang their shelves for them. It feels good to step out of the typical ‘woman’s role’ box every once in a while, and it was really fun to just be girls figuring things out together.