mountain, woman, Canmore, Rockies, hiking, 35 trails

There is something infinitely healing in these repeated refrains of nature, the assurance that night after night, dawn comes, and spring after winter.” -Rachel CarsonĀ 

The Mission

35 Trails. One Year.

Between May 9th, 2018 and May 9th, 2019 (my 35th and 36th birthdays), I will be hiking, trail running, ski touring, paddling and otherwise completing 35 trails in order to raise funds for Forest and the Femme – an organization that brings marginalized women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside out into nature.

As I follow this path (or paths, as it were), I will be inviting friends and family, as well as not-yet-friends and generous organizations to join me. These sorts of endeavors are better done together.

My goal is to raise $3,500, because I like symmetry.

The Motivation

This year, I’ll be 35 which despite my top-notch counting ability is very surprising. It feels like an unlikely number. When I was young and sad, I never thought I’d see 30. Not to mention that despite being a teacher and witnessing the widening gap between the way my students see the world and the way I do, I still can’t believe I’m any older than 18.

But here I am, at 35, and determined to be graceful about it. After all, I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’ve written before about my struggles with mental health, and more recently, with chronic fatigue.

Both of these struggles lasted for years, both perhaps unnecessarily so. If doctors had taken my concerns seriously, or had better understood how to treat mental health and women’s health issues, I might not have lost so many years.

But I have also been lucky: throughout all of those years, I’ve had the mountains and forest and ocean to comfort and sustain me. I can’t overstate how important access to the outdoors has been for my mental and physical health.

Maybe it’s the year I’ve had, or maybe it’s being “of a certain age”, but I’m tired of thinking about myself and my own health.

Forest and the Femme caught my eye about a year ago, and I LOVE what they are doing. The women that they serve face steep barriers, in the forms of mental and physical health struggles, poverty, racism, and more. Access to the outdoors for many of these women is both complicated and so, so important.

I haven’t been exposed to even a fraction of the challenges these women have faced, but I do know what it’s like to be a woman struggling with mental and physical health, and the financial difficulties that can result from those things. I also really, really believe in the healing power of nature.

I want everyone to have access to that – especially women.

Ways to Help

Want to get involved? Here’s what I need:

  • Donations! Click on the Donate button to access the Go Fund Me page and make a donation.
  • Trail buddies! Join me for a hike, trail run, ski tour or whatever other self-propelled trail traveling method you prefer. Ideally, ask your friends and family to sponsor our trip by donating.
  • Corporate Sponsors! Is your organization looking for ways to give back and get some recognition in the process? Sponsor a trail trip, or make a donation, and I’ll write you up (in a good way), and share on my social channels.
  • Publicity! If you are a member of the media, or have a social media account, please consider sharing or getting in touch. The more people know about this, the better. The hashtag is #35trails

I’ll be updating the blog and my Instagram account with every trail I do, so be sure to check back in!

See you on the trail <3