Outessa @ Kirkwood was an inspiring gathering of women across the country, coming together to challenge themselves, explore their curiosity in outdoor pursuits, sharpen their skills, and bond with fellow outdoor loving and like-minded women.
Here are our highlights from our founder Georgina Miranda.
The Drive Up to Kirkwood.
As I got closer to Kirkwood, the stress of the weeks prior started to melt away as the beautiful forest and lakes came into view.
The Best Welcome.
Upon arrival it was a seamless registration and was greeted by loads of smiling faces stoked for the adventures that lay ahead. I checked into my Fancy Camp Tent and felt so at peace and grateful to be a part of this wonderful event waiting to unfold.
Force of Nature Panel.
It’s always an honor to stand alongside women you respect and admire that are trailblazers, thought leaders, and changemakers in their own right making the outdoors more accessible to other women and girls. I’m so grateful and honored that REI invited me to speak on this panel.
The panel was moderated by the one and only Steph Jagger. If you have not read her latest book Unbound, you should definitely check it out! The panel consisted of climber extraordinaire Kitty Calhoun also co-owner of Chicks Climbing & Skiing, Claire Smallwood, Executive Director of SheJumps, Deanne Buck, Executive Director of Camber Outdoors, and myself.
To be included in this line up of true Forces of Nature was the ultimate compliment and inspiration. These women have dedicated much of their lives and leadership for paving the way for other women in the outdoors and adventure space. They are leaders, fearless, compassionate, and we share a bond in that adventure and the outdoors has transformed our lives. The panel primarily focused on what each of us has had to connect to, let go of, or seek out in order to be a “Force of Nature.”
So much of being able to be a “force” in life is about connecting with your passion and those things that light you up inside and pursuing them no matter what. Your passion will ultimately help you overcome those moments of exhaustion and feelings like you can’t go on. At the same token, it is important to let go of the self doubt, fear, and discomfort that may come in going after things/experiences that do not come with guaranteed success. Our fear of failure should never hold us back from trying, exploring, speaking up, and being true to ourselves.
I love connecting with women from all walks of “adventure life.” We all have to start somewhere! Some were there to do things they’ve never tried before, while others are there to connect and enjoy time with like-minded women and sharpen their skills. I was grateful to share my journey and be a part of theirs. I often say, I was your unlikely adventurer, brought up in LA by a conservative latino family, late to the adventure game in life, but once I discovered my love for the mountains and a cause, there was no holding me back and it completely reshaped my life. I went from someone that couldn’t run a mile less than 10 years ago to now having climbed 6 of the 7 summits and on my way to complete the explorer grand slam. Something only 4 American women have done and less than 15 in the world. I hope my story and humble beginnings inspire other women to go after their dreams however big they may seem and start one step at time. Adventure has become a way I live, not something I go out and do. While yes I love being outside, climbing mountains, near the sea, traveling and more, I am often a force right at home in my city climbing the biggest mountain of all-entrepreneurship. Starting Altitude Seven has been by far my biggest and most challenging adventure. I have loved being able to harness my strength and courage from the outdoors to how I lead as a business woman and leader in my community. It has helped be strong in breaking all kinds of barriers, self perceived and societal.
Adventure is for EVERY woman no matter our background, body type, current skill level, or any other criteria. Adventure and the outdoors are for every woman to enjoy and for every woman to define what adventure means to them.
Fun Snaps from the Weekend Activities.
Great to rock climb with legend Kitty Calhoun! It was my first time back on a traditional rock climbing route since my shoulder surgery in October. Felt so good! It was an awesome and encouraging group of women of all skill levels testing their limits on route at a time. Kitty was amazing at explaining how to appropriately shift your weight and increase efficiency to not wear yourself out.
A Beautiful Farm to Table Dinner.
What a treat to have this beautiful backdrop, amazing company, and deliciously prepared food and beverages to pair. It was magical to say the least!
Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Lake Time.
The weekend was quite warm, so enjoying some time on paddle boards, kayaks, and jumps into the lake were splendid! We could not have asked for better weather to enjoy a gorgeous day outside and fine tune our skills.
Yoga with Manduka.
Again since my shoulder surgery I had not been able to do a full yoga class. So wonderful to move my body again this way alongside some wonderful ladies!
Women are powerhouse, a force of nature both on and off trail. There is so much beauty in coming together, being vulnerable together, learning together, and celebrating the joy of being outside and pushing our limits.