As a life update, I’m exhausted. This new job means constant interaction with new people, figuring out a new schedule for training/nutrition/social life, and generally finding my feet, losing them again, and picking up where I left off. I love everything about it, and I’m tired.

However, today is International Women’s Day and I am writing a blog about outdoorsy women, so I couldn’t resist. Did you think I was going to stop talking? You know me better than that.

At first, I was going to repost a Women’s Adventure magazine tribute, but that just felt lazy (it is a good article, here), so instead I decided to think about all the female role models I have in my life. I strongly believe in the power of mentorship and role modeling, especially for women. As a child my mom was my greatest role model, but after her passing I looked to women far and wide around me for advice. I looked for their strength, compassion and love. I looked for their smarts and skills and drive. I watched, I listened, and I soaked up their mannerisms, values, confidence and care.

I could say there was one woman who captured all of those things, but that would be false. There are many. I could name a hundred, but I wanted to extend acknowledgement and gratitude to a specific five women who came to the top of my head who have made (or continue to make) a lasting impact on my life.

1) Kimra – I love being around you. You motivate me in all ways (career-wise, sports-wise, life-wise) and I admire your ability to persevere through challenges, take risks, proceed with optimism and learn while doing. You will always be Captain Kimra to me.

2) Christa – Not only my training partner, friend and confidant, I admire your dedication and sharply clear mind. I’m so grateful for your honest advice and feedback, our ridiculous decision to sign up for St. George, your grounded nature combined with your drive and utter acceptance of my crazy personality .

3) Sue – This one’s a hard one, because we didn’t leave things in the best of places. However, I will forever be grateful to the woman who believed in my hard skills, and trusted me fully to run programs and make changes at work. While we didn’t always agree, I learned so much from you and you taught me how to empower not just girls, but all people– teach them, believe in them, and give them the space to do.

4) Ms. Casserly – My middle school math teacher who let me get away with doing art projects to show math skills. I believe Ms. Casserly was one of the first teachers I had that showed me “alternative education” was a real thing. I drew pictures of horses and calculated the area and perimeter of each drawing. I crafted clay models to calculate volume. For the years I was in her class, I believed I was good at math. Additionally, the care she showed me was undeniable; I would come to school an hour early and cry or vent about what was going on at home. Ms. Casserly always listened, and then we would work out algebra problems on the white board.

5) Megan – So many things! I love our conversations– too many topics to name. Mostly, I have become a stronger, more vocal feminist because of your passion for the subject and the way your values directly impact your actions. Thank you.

There are so many names that go on this list! It’s a shame I don’t have a week to name everyone, but I hope you know who you are, and I plan to add more appreciations soon.

The picture associated with this blog is with two women, Michelle and Hannah, hiking during golden hour on the Lost Coast a few weeks ago. I remember feeling so much peace and camaraderie with these ladies on the trail, and real solidarity while we were backpacking together. With an expansive, ever-changing world out there, it’s important we stick together.

Go out an acknowledge an impactful woman. Not just today, but every day.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Always Time for Appreciations

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