The Time I Visited Glacier National Park (aka My First Foray into the Backcountry)

This post is a reflection on Wild Wilderness Women’s first annual Babes Off the Beaten Path (BOTBP) trip to Glacier National Park. This trip was an opportunity to explore what it really means to be a “babe” while taking new and experienced backpacking women out for an exceptional outdoors experience. If you’d like to share your words on “babe-dom” with us, or if you’d like to chat about how you can support BOTBP 2017, please contact us!

Submitted By: Jamie Furlan, WWW Member

The neural pathways in my brain are on fire: they are in overdrive taking in and processing so much beauty. I look to the left—ancient mountains rise boldly to the skies; I look to the right—mirror-lakes reflect those stark mountains and eternal sky back at me. I breathe in and pull the scent of damp forest and earthy soil deep into my lungs. The air is sweet in that fresh air kind of way. The sun warms my arms, my face, my very core. The silence and the roar of nature fill my being.

I am surrounded; I am engulfed; I stand in rapture amid endless beauty.

My muscles contract and propel me forward and up, and I feel strong. It is enough to place one foot in front of the other, to climb, to take it all in.

I feel gratitude for the unadulterated experience, for the opportunity to share it with others equally in awe of the spaces we are inhabiting. I am grateful for strong breath, for trees, for boundless sky.

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It feels good to disconnect from my urban life and, instead, adopt a more deliberate routine of unpacking my pack daily, setting up camp, pitching the tent, separating my snacks and toothpaste to be hung in bear bags after dinner. In the morning, I pull down the tent, pack up my bag, prepare to do it all over again.

There is comfort in the process – in doing and undoing and doing something again. Like intricate Buddhist sand art, the beauty is in the process, in the total concentration on the moment.

Over the course of the week, we eight ladies make our own kind of sand mandala made up of laughter over attempts at hanging bear bags; of the simple pleasure of a hot beverage on a damp, chilly night; of glimpsing streaks of the Perseid meteor shower on its pilgrimage across the night sky.

These moments are ours – we lived them, we breathed them, we carry them with us. When we venture out into wild spaces, we bring a piece of it back within ourselves.

On my trip to Montana I learned that the kindness of strangers extends far and wide. That women, when they come together, can be a powerful source of support and strength. That Montana is breathtakingly, heartwarmingly beautiful. That it’s a delight to spot a marmot against the rocks in the afternoon light.

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Being a Babe

This post is part of a series where Wild Wilderness Women is exploring the true definition of “babe” in preparation for our upcoming Babes Off the Beaten Path trip in Glacier National Park. Please consider supporting the babes forging paths for other outdoor women by making a donation on our fundraising page. If you’d like to share your words on “babe-dom” with us, please contact us!


Submitted By: Jamie Furlan, WWW member

Which of my many selves am I today? Am I pensive, or curious, or wild, or loud? Am I rock-solid or fluid or brazen or shy? I am all of these, at once, and others, still. “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” – Walt Whitman1

To me, being a babe is about recognizing the duality of my nature and accepting it. It’s about embracing my femininity and also the fierce warrior within me – acknowledging that they can coexist in harmony, and that I am stronger because of this.

Being a babe is about nurturing my many selves and allowing myself to grow, unswayed by social norms or media images telling me I should be a different way. I can be strong; I can be soft; I can be explosive; I can be still. I can be who I want to be: I am enough.

A babe accepts herself for who she is, and moves through the world with grace.

2Being a babe is about joining with my sister warriors in community, in support of one another. For when we come together, we create a wave of positivity that carries us through the fields and the mountains and the streams, aloft on the crest of our friendship. We ride on each other’s strength, and lift each other up, and this is right and good.

Being a babe is about allowing my multitudinous selves to exist in balance. It’s about celebrating my tenderness as well as my fierceness, and making space for the full expression of my self. Being a babe is about exploring both my inner and outer worlds. It’s having the courage to look inward and confront what I find, and the courage to look outward, roam the land and forge my own path.

Being a babe is about being a strong individual and coming together with other strong individuals, and uniting in our babe-ness. It’s about finding peace within myself, and securing my place among others.

If I can have peace in my heart I can blossom and breathe life into the world. And stand tall among the other babes – we each a beautiful stem – offering ourselves to the rainbow, comprising the rainbow; complete on our own but better as a collective whole.

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If a babe bares a lithe leg in the forest but there’s no one there to see it, is she still sexy? And if she bays at the full moon but there’s no one there to witness it, is she still wild? Why – yes! A thousand times, yes. She is primal, she is alluring, she is all fierce foxy lady.

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How to be a babe:

  • Be fiercely kind
  • Confront your fears; be brave; surprise yourself
  • Be raw, be real, be free
  • Own your babe-ness: if you feel confident, you exude confidence
  • Embrace the wild woman inside you – let her come out to play

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