Well, it’s taken me a few weeks to process all that went on when 18 wild women went off the grid for three nights near Telluride. An intimate group of writers, photographers, filmmakers, artists, athletes, brand ambassadors and media mavens—from Minneapolis to Boulder to Vancouver to the vans some call home—walked into the backcountry to see what kind of magic we could stir up at the High Camp Hut.
The Wild Women’s Project is the brainchild of Amanda Goad of Bold Brew, a creative and communications shop that does a lot of work for clients in the outdoor industry. Based in Durango, Colorado, the team is focused on “building meaningful cultures, innovative landscapes and gritty people,” according to its website. After spending a weekend with women from around the country who are blazing new paths in the outdoor industry and beyond, I’d say we moved the needle, in our own incremental way, on gritty, innovative and, most importantly, meaningful.
We hiked, we chatted, we laughed, we cried—maybe more than most of us thought we might among, well, perfect strangers. In a place that felt exposed to the elements, we too gave into vulnerability. Surrounded by jagged peaks and quaking aspens, through snow thunder, ice, sleet and alpenglow, and because of an energy that only being in the outdoors can create, we created.
We told our stories and challenged each other to live them even more authentically; we tested products and shared our candid comments; we mentored each other, older to younger but the other way around too; and we wondered aloud why women’s voices are not more prominent in the outdoors when we all feel a similar passion for it.
But we also played to create new space for our ideas. We hiked to alpine lakes and skipped rocks; we walked and talked like we’d know each other from another life; we took turns stocking and stoking the wood-fired hot tub; we rested and read under shared blankets; we ate some serious spices of life and slept three to a room; and we learned watercolors and tarot and how to make a bee condo.
Only in reflection did I realize that we filled up almost every waking moment with beauty, awe, grit, inspiration and connection. It was an exhilarating break from the hustle. We were nourished by something bigger.
The question that remains is what will we all—each dynamic, eclectic, thoughtful, influential individual—do to demonstrate not just that the future is female, but that the connections we forged are forces with which to be reckoned—and revealed.