Guest Blogger: Morgan Kwan

I write an informative blog (Beauty in the Backcountry) with a sense of humour that aims to encourage girls to get outdoors.  A couple of weekends ago I got a chance to directly do that, me and 20 other women ventured out into the backcountry for the weekend.  Twenty women might seem like too many, but the purpose of the trip was to break down the intense and intimidating stereotype of backcountry activities and prove, to many of these first time hikers, that anyone can enjoy the backcountry. 

So they placed their trust in me and some fellow experienced outdoors women and followed us through glacier creek crossing, they delicately traced our steps through snow patches and together we gasped for air as we climbed high above the tree line to the Alpine Club of Canada’s Bow Hut.  The hike is easily achievable as a day hike, but we decided to stay a couple nights at the hut to take advantage of the scenery, day hikes and to give the girls a solid intro to hut camping or as I like to call it, glamping.

For many of the girls, this was their first time putting on 35lb+ backpack and hiking for several hours.  The hike and seasonal elements encountered along the way really tested personal determination.  One of the beautiful things about hiking and backpacking is that at some point a person realizes only they can get themselves to the summit, and that’s when they realize they are a lot stronger and capable than they first thought.  These girls all had that “ah-hah” moment! Not only did they conquer the gruelling ascent, but they did it smiling, laughing and encouraging the girls around them to keep pushing on.

Once everyone got to the hut the hard part was over, the glamping could officially begin! From cooking up some gourmet meals (i.e.; Moroccan Chicken, Vegetable Curry, Pesto Pasta), wine, the signature cocktail the Arctic Whisk with a Twist, and endless games of Bananagrams and Cards Against Humanity, there was never a shortage of laughter and good girly conversations. With a dedicated fire stoking crew, the hut remained a cozy temperature for everyone to strut their hut fashions; leopard pants seem to be the new it item. During the day we ventured up to the glacier and another nearby summit to take in the expansive views.  The landscape resembled something closer to Mars than Earth, and the overwhelming size of the towering mountains really gave perspective on how small we are in this world.  What better place to bond with your girlfriends and connect over the beauty of your surroundings, this was hut camping.

Not only did the trip prove that anyone can be a backcountry beauty, but it established a new level of self-confidence and determination in some of the girls.  It didn’t matter who was the first one up, who was the slowest, who had the best gear or who had the most experience.  All that mattered was that each of us wanted to enjoy a weekend in the outdoors, whether it was our first time or our hundredth time, we were all there for each other.  This is what happens when you bring a gaggle of girls into the backcountry; leaving egos at the trailhead and being open to new experiences. For a full account of the weekend check out my blog post.