Three mountain chicks, one mountain doggo, one national park, one lake, one very hot day.
This hike will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my very first MtnChicks hike! It was also my first hike after having moved back to the PNW.
“Are you here for the mountain chicks hike?” These were the first words that the three of us, complete strangers, said to each other. I suppose we looked like mountain chicks to each other, and perhaps our awkwardly looking around also gave each other away. THIS is what is so amazing about Mountain Chicks. It is a hiking group that not only empowers women to get out there but also connects you with other badass chicks with the same passion and love for the great outdoors.
I often have a very difficult time meeting people. I feel awkward and unable to make conversation. At parties or gatherings, I am one to linger around the edge of the room, migrating to walls where I can simply watch and enjoy everyone’s happiness – a wallflower. But Zoë, Sarah, and I hit it off right away. Maybe it’s the wild, maybe it’s our shared connection with it. Whatever it is, we started as strangers but finished our hike as friends. And while I have only now (in person) met two women in my chapter (which is now up to over 800 members!) I, and I’m sure others, feel as though we belong to this crazy, empowering, badass sisterhood. This is what Mountain Chicks does for me. What it can do for you!
It ended up being over 90 degrees that day and all three of us ran out of water halfway through. It was one of those times when you check the weather, register what it says, and think “yeah…that is definitely wrong. It won’t get THAT hot.” It did. Luckily for us, there was a boat shuttle back to the parking lot. And when we decided to take it, for a moment I felt like I was defeated. Because hiking is not only this beautiful opportunity to experience the wonders of nature, but for me also a chance to exercise in the world’s greatest gym, outside. When I don’t complete a hike I do experience feelings of failure. I don’t believe that and nor do I like it, but sometimes I feel it. I think it is important to be honest with myself and with anyone reading this. I have issues with self confidence and my abilities but every time I get outside, regardless of the outcome, I always feel more empowered, more whole, more mindful, more free. These ridiculous thoughts and self doubt that thousands of women experience every day… I say fuck em’. I took the shuttle back because my feet hurt and I was tired. I took it back because I ran out of water and because it was the SMART thing to do. I took it back because we already hiked the trail and I wanted to see what everything looked like from the water. It doesn’t matter why I did because it doesn’t matter that I did. I told myself it was okay to take the shuttle back, and that neither I, nor anyone else, was or would ever be any the lesser because of it.
This is important to remember when hiking. Because it can be really hard and it is important to be kind to yourself. There is no judgement in Mountain Chicks, nor is there judgement in most of the outdoor community. Everyone is at a different level of ability or fitness, but that is what makes the community so amazing! That so many different people, from different walks of life, can get together and enjoy such an awesome activity. These communities, hiking or biking or kayaking, are for everyone. Outside is, and should be, the largest level playing field in the world. Period. I never set standards for anyone else when it comes to ability, so why would I have them for myself? Motivation? Sure. Determination? Hell yeah! But there is no room for judgement in my life. Towards myself or towards anyone else.
Honestly, pretty much everyone in the outdoor community is just stoked out of their mind anytime anyone gets outside. Remember that the next time you are hesitant about opting outside. I guarantee 99% of the time you will be welcomed with an unparalleled level of enthusiasm and kindness!
Location: North Cascades National Park – N. Cascades Highway, Hwy 20
Length: 7.6 miles roundtrip (this mileage changes depending on where you look)
Elevation gain: 1400 ft.
Trailhead coordinates: 48.7206, -121.1216
Note: We were unable to find a really good lookout with views of the mountains or lake unobstructed by power lines, despite the reviews on WTA. Still an incredible hike and would recommend to a friend…or to anyone!