Become a Force of Nature

                        This post is a partnership with REI

I remember when I was a little Washingtonian girl, camping in different forests, hiking to see waterfalls, fishing all day on the lake from a little boat, clam digging, and picking red huckleberries and honeysuckles on walks. That was my NW childhood. My mom, was my female role model, she took me out into the great outdoors. She was afraid of heights, but pushed herself in front of me. Other than her, I had no clue other women were adventurers. I just thought it was the norm, since everyone I know played outside in the 90’s. I wonder if I would have sought those women out to learn more skills, had I known they were doing things in the wild?!

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I have been a fan of the mountains, lakes, and rivers since I can pretty much remember. I knew what fed my wanderlust from a young age; mountains, they give me all the heart eyes. Something about their majestic views and snow-capped peaks at winter made me feel at home.  All grown up now and still the NW captivates me. I actually think it may be even more wonderful as an adult! The mountains are actual within my reach.

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I started investing time outdoors, little adventures in the NW here and there to recreate my childhood for my children. I never knew it would lead to a wanderlust inside my soul. This last year, I found and joined in with a group of women who love hiking. They all hear the mountains calling (like me) and they answer. I decided to take a chance to push past my comfort zone and I am feeling like the sky is the limit. Though I am finding the sky, does have limits for me. They just need to be overcome.

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Have you ever been so knee shaking, hunched over, tears welled upon tears scared?!?! That’s me with heights. Especially, cliffs, bluffs, and bridges! and pretty much all things MOUNTAINS. But ladies, you wouldn’t believe the tribe of adventurers I get to hike with!! They have made a human chain for me and helped me down the side of the bluff holding my hands and speaking courage over me,. It was sisterhood at its best. I am a secure enough woman to hold another woman’s hand when I am scared and vulnerable enough to admit/ask for help. Some would say this is weakness, but to me it felt like strength. Trusting others is a lesson we all need to learn, especially when we need help. That’s what our girl tribe is there for, far away or close enough to hold your hand/to be a shoulder, the space between disappears when we link hands and focus on the mission. I am overcoming fear with every hike and being able to respect my region more and more. I feel like I am becoming a force of nature.

 

photos by Angela Strand of NWHEALTHYMAMA
photos by Angela Strand of NWHEALTHYMAMA

 

So what is a force of nature? The general description is a natural act of God that humans can not control. But in this sense it is humans banding together to bring a passion for nature in a storm if you will. Even cooler when it is describing a movement of WOMEN. That’s where REI comes in! They starting something BIGGGGG, for the rest of 2017, they are shining a light on WOMEN who make the outdoors their playground. They even came up with a hashtag for us to use to connect with other adventurers. #forceofnature

 

Have you ever wanted to venture into the great outdoors, but didn’t know where to start? REI has that covered! They want to lead the charge of getting women equipped and recognized for their love of outdoor life. They have opened up classes all over to help ease you in or level you up. Maybe you already hike to the tip-top of the highest peaks, but have never kayaked, there’s a class for that! Or maybe you rock climb, mountain bike, and trail run, but wanna see the sunset through a lens. YEP, there’s a class for that too!!!

  • 300+ Outdoor School events and classes across the country for women starting on May 6. Through the summer, we’ll hold over 1,000 experiences designed to educate women to live a life outdoors, including weekly events on “Force Wednesday” – register now! – REI

SO now you are interested right?! Guess what it gets better! Not only are they boosting women outside, but inside too! They are dedicating 2017 to women! Not only are they working hard on recognizing women in their own company, but they want to make YOU (me too!) a part of the campaign.

They also teamed up with Outside magazine in May for a women in active outdoor adventure lifestyle issue!oum-1493622000

They are getting rid of the “pink and shrink” marketing and making gear for women by women with the goal of creating more technical gear as well. I love this because not every girl is a girly girl and really some of us like pink but don’t want to wear it on every adventure. I mean sometimes we want red or teal, hehe. I have true respect for what they are doing for our future girls, they will now have female role models in areas that typically were male runs sports. I don’t know about you, but it excites me to think some day maybe my girls will know they names of these ladies because of this campaign! I am glad to be the person showing them the NW the way I have seen it, but not every adventure is my style and now there are ways for them to learn outside of my experiences! Check below for some statistics they have put together for us. I am excited to see what the rest of 2017 holds for women, seems like it is only going up from here!

 

Thank you REI for chosing me to help get the word out about this empowering campaign. I was given a free class of my choice to try in my area for sharing! Check back later for my recap!

Sweat ’til You Shine,

Carleeh

 

 

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