As a woman who encourages other women and people of all ages, cultures, and sizes to get outdoors, I often feel inspired by other women who are devoted to similar work. These aren’t the women with gorgeous photos, perfect hair, makeup and expensive gear. They are those who just want to get outside, maybe just for a hike, with messy hair and hand-me-downs. These are the women who I can compare myself to.
My top 10 inspirational outdoors women might look different than those featured all over our social media feeds, but read their stories and see for yourself how empowering they are.
1. Bre Mirynech
Bre now calls Banff home, so you can find her exploring the mountains of Alberta.
“To me, exploring means so many different things. Exploring means getting outside into the natural world, experiencing new places, and trying new activities. Since I moved to the mountains, I’ve explored so many incredible places I’ll never forget. I’ve gone hiking, scrambling, backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and ice climbing. Each time has let me explore a new activity and see new places in different ways that I will never forget.
More importantly to me, however, exploring means exploring yourself. Through the places we see and the means we use to experience them, we explore so much of ourselves. We push ourselves physically, we test ourselves mentally, and learn things about ourselves we never knew before. We explore our boundaries, our fears, and successes we never knew possible. We explore relationships with the people we choose to explore with, learning to communicate, be vulnerable in front of others, and be a good teammate. We explore our failures, our strength, and our abilities. Exploring has showed me the person I am meant to be, a person I never thought was even possible four years ago.”
This adventuring mamma calls Utah home and not only does she have the job of taking care of her family but also manages to convince them all to get outside and play.
“Exploring to me is like a reset button. By the end of the week I’m craving dirty skin and wind swept hair. No matter what is going on at home or work, it brings me clarity. It allows me to be selfish and take what I need without demanding anything in return. Even if I am with other people it is about my journey and pushing myself. There is something so grounding about so much freedom.”
3. Linh Tran
Always up for an adventure, Linh shows her appreciation for Mother Nature by deciding to opt outside any chance she gets.
“I was born and raised by the sea. Salty air, rainy days, and sailboats were all I knew. We moved out West three years ago now and I still remember what it felt like seeing my first mountain. I felt a rush of excitement from the seemingly endless layers of blue and gray off in the distance of the Grand Tetons in Yellowstone. From then on, I promised myself to never let a day go by without showing an appreciation for Mother Nature. Which has led me to so many incredible outdoor experiences! Exploring, to me, means appreciating the simple things in life. It means finishing what you start. It means choosing to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly in every situation — because it’s ALL part of the adventure!”
An island girl in love with experiencing this beautiful, natural world that we all inhabit and sharing those moments of awe, exhilaration, and personal achievement along her journey through photography.
“Exploring is both how I learn about and challenge myself, as well as being my comfort zone, where I feel most at peace and connected. It’s that duality that keeps me engaged and excited about going the extra mile, waking up before the sun rises (when I’m NOT a morning person haha!), hiking by full moonlight, trying new physical activities, bushwhacking to waterfalls and searching for the next ridgeline to conquer.
If I had to boil it down even more, I’d simply say that exploring is a way of life for me. The patience, focus, determination, quick-thinking creativity when things don’t quite go as planned, appreciation for all the little things that do go as planned and being fully present in the moment are all interchangeable skills whether I’m spending time with family and friends, pursuing career goals, or exploring the wilderness.”
Lana is a Holistic Nutritionist and Social Media Marketer living and adventuring in Vancouver, BC, gratefully calling the PNW mountains her backyard.
“I play outside because it allows me endless opportunities to experience real-life magic. There aren’t words rich enough to embody the feeling of standing atop a mountain, watching the sunrise light up the skies above you, or of unzipping your tent to step out into still solitude away from a bustling city, or that’ll adequately sum up that moment of pure elation when you finally hit the summit after hours of sweat and grinding. I go to feel the indescribable, to push my limits and my comfort zones, to be immersed in rapture and the sheer beauty of the wilderness. I go because that’s where and how I feel most alive. That kind of high, it’s addictive, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!”
6. Liz Grambau
Born and raised in Utah, Liz is constantly seeking out adventure and new exploring opportunities.
“I was born and raised in Utah — park city, my dad had me on the boat in Lake Powell at 2 weeks old, cruising around the mountain on skis at age 3, and instilled in us a sense for adventure from the start. We grew up exploring all over Utah and surrounding states, skiing/snowboarding, camping, boating, hiking, fishing, etc. I was so grateful to grow up this way, and it has carried through to my adult life. Nature is what grounds me; it is part of my spirituality and reminds me every day that there is something much bigger than me. I find solutions to some of the biggest problems in my life by getting outside, getting in touch with my natural surrounding, and gaining that larger perspective. Exploring has always been a huge part of my life, and I hope that never changes!”
7. Hailey Mawer
Workaholic turned wanderer, Hailey Mawer calls Alberta home but heads out all over the world.
“Before I established a love for exploring, I used to define myself as a ‘nurse’. I was unbalanced, and felt like I was lacking direction, lacking purpose. I realized that if I needed a job to give me a life, then I either needed a new job or a new life. I chose the new life, and haven’t looked back. Exploring gave me the chance to re-discover myself. It has provided clarity in a world driven by money and social media, as a mean to focus on what is truly important. Every opportunity you get to explore is a chance for self-discovery and is a constant reminder that we are always learning, to adapt, to overcome challenges, the importance of self-worth. Every exploration leaves me with a surreal sense of accomplishment and purpose, and reveals the beauty of places very few get to experience. Be one of the few — Go explore!”
Content Creator. Story Teller. Social Connector. Currently located in Vancouver, Ally is a passion-fueled adventure-seeker whose goal is to creatively tell stories about what motivates her to continue to seek new adventures and live a full life. Ally’s goal is to get people outside their comfort zone by inspiring curiosity and showing empathy via storytelling and photography on her social channels.
9. Lena Little
Born and raised in Calgary, AB, the outdoors was woven into Lena’s childhood by her mountain-loving parents. Some earliest memories include weekend adventures as a family in Lake Louise, often squeezing the family of 6 into a cabin at Mosquito Creek Hostel, hiking in the summer, or X-country skiing in the winter.
“Now, newly turned 34, I can more fully appreciate the experiences my parents gave me as a child. Exploring the outdoors is now my choice, one that I whole-heartedly make whenever I can! 2016 was filled with mostly hiking, scrambling, and summit seeking. Standing on mountaintops gives me a sense of accomplishment like nothing else. The mountains challenge me, exposing my vulnerabilities, yet at the same time, reveal how courageous and capable I am as a woman, and as a human. I am continually driven to create mountain experiences, because it’s in these moments that I learn the most about myself, allowing me to evolve and become the best version of myself. This past year has been one of the best outdoor seasons I’ve had yet, as well as one of the most challenging. At the end of the scrambling season, on September 24, 2016, I fell off a rocky outcrop on Mt. Indefatigable, free falling 5 meters, landing, and then tumbling another 15 meters backwards, down the sharp jagged ridge. I was heli-slung off the mountain by Kananaskis rescue, and transferred to STARS so I could be taken to the hospital in Calgary. My pelvis was been broken in 2 places and my sacrum was fractured. I feel exceptionally grateful to have only broken bones. It could have been much worse. My mountain story continues as I recover and rehabilitate my injures. I have yet to fully understand and experience how my accident has affected me. But I do know my journey in exploring the outdoors has, and will continue. I have managed to hike one summit (Grizzly Peak) since my accident, and absolutely cannot wait for scrambling next season!”
10. Heather Rochfort
Heather spent the first 20 years of her life as a ballerina and didn’t discover the Great Outdoors until her freshman year of college at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“I think we all need to spend more time finding adventure: running on trails, sleeping in tents, exploring the open road, climbing big peaks, and traipsing about in foreign countries. To that end, I’m trying my best: I’ve cycled my road bike across the United States, lived in a tent for four months, honeymooned in a van, climbed 45+ peaks of 14,000 feet or higher, and pack-rafted the Alatna after being dropped in the middle-of-freaking nowhere by an Alaskan bush pilot. I’ve lived on three continents and traveled to 27 (and counting…) countries.”