There I was, all 300+ lbs of me, looking at the back side of over 40 athletically built men and women. I didn’t have time to process their sneers or even the hiking leader’s encouragement to quit while I could. All I could hear was the pounding of my own heart and the rattling coming from my lips that sounded more like my old VW sputtering to start up. I’m certain I told myself a few times that I was going to die on that hillside as I was hiking up a nearly 4000ft elevation gain in less than 3 miles. I was the slowest, the heaviest, and the most out of shape. I was also the most determined. I made the more than 5 mile hike and passed my wilderness navigation exam to boot. It was a lonely victory with no one there to celebrate or understand the amount of grit that it took hauling all of my 20 billion fat cells to the top of that mountain.
I share this not for sympathy, but rather to share why starting a chapter of Trail Dames in Iowa is so important to me personally. Trail Dames is not about who can make it to the top of the mountain first. It’s about making sure everyone gets to the summit and is able to take time to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors all along the way. It is about taking time to celebrate ourselves and each other. As one of the Head Dames, my hope is that no curvy woman ever need feel discouraged, shamed, or alone in pursuing their outdoor dreams.
So, if you are looking for a safe place to dust off the ol’ hiking shoes, not feel judged for walking a little slower, want to add a little adventure to your life, maybe try pushing yourself to new limits, and/or find kindred spirits who love the outdoors, then this just might be the right group for you. I want to encourage you that there is a sisterhood of hikers of all shapes and sizes, all ages, all different backgrounds and beliefs. Some women are brand new to hiking and others are seasoned trail warriors. What binds us together is our love of the outdoors and our willingness to create an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance no matter where we are on our life’s trail. Check out our Chapter’s events by clicking the link below. We will offer shorter hiking experiences, as well as challenging hikes and other outdoor adventures to choose from based on your comfort level and interest.
Yours for the hiking,
“Trail Mix” (aka Stephanie)