About an hour from most places in San Diego there is a magical place, a real diamond in San Diego County, Palomar Mountain State Park. The Sierra Nevada like atmosphere and 5,400 feet of elevation make Palomar Mountain State Park a unique habitat to San Diego County. Lush forests, babbling creeks and gorgeous views are endless in the park. Home to a few historically important sites, great weather, diverse flora and fauna, and many hiking trails make it a hiker’s paradise.
Palomar, the Spanish name for pigeon roost, was named during the Spanish colonial era in California when Palomar was known for its band tailed pigeons that are present on the mountain. Prior, Lusieno natives called Palomar, Paauw, and lived in seasonal villages on the mountain. There is still evidence of them today, mainly in the form of morteros, or grinding rocks. In the 1880’s, the start of settlement came when George Edward Doane built a cabin where the present day Doane Valley Campground is located. By the 1890’s the mountain’s population had grown significantly and supported three schools and three hotels, including Bailey’s Cabin, which operates as a private lodge today. Four apple orchards were planted around this time, and still produce apples that are used for the annual Apple Festival in October. A fire lookout, Boucher Hill Lookout, was built on Boucher Hill on the 1920’s. The lookout today is operated by volunteers and visitors are able to take a tour of the tower during the season (May-December- 7 days a week from 9am-5pm). In the 1930’s Palomar Mountain State Park was born. Most of the park’s roads, trails, and picnic facilities were built by the Civilian Conservationist Corps. Palomar is also home to Scotty’s Cabin site, Big Willie’s gravesite, and the Weir on Weir Creek, which are accessible by hiking trails.
The mountain receives on average 30”-40” of rain a year and snow in the winter. This humid climate supports the densely wooded forests and vast vegetation in the park. It is included in the California mixed evergreen forest sub ecoregion that California black oaks, firs, cedars, closed cone pines, other California oaks and conifers are grouped in. Cooler days and even cooler nights than the majority of lower elevation areas of San Diego County make the mountain a great escape from the warm summers. Wintertime can bring snow, and the trails are awesome for snowshoeing.
The diverse array of wildlife, including the southern mule deer, raccoons, western grey squirrels, skunks, gray foxes, coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes and mountain lions are present in the park, and make their appearance every once in a while to guests. In the late spring through summer, flowering trees, plants, and shrubs share their beauty with us. Dogwoods, wild lilac, wild sweet peas, azalea, lupine, goldenrod, buttercups, and Indian paintbrush are just a few you can see in the park.
With miles of trails, there are many variations that accommodate most levels of hiking. Our favorite hike is the 11 mile moderate outer loop route. Touching most areas of the park, hikers get to see much of the diversity the park offers. The hike starts at Doane Campground, follows French Valley Trail to the Weir on the Weir Trail, up Baptist Trail to Adams Trail to Boucher Trail and the lookout, then down Boucher Trail to Silvercrest Trail, and all the way down Chimney Flats Trail to Thunder Springs Trail and back to the trailhead. With this route, you experience everything the park has to offer from the 500 year old Live Oak canopies, a stunning meadow in French Valley, historical Weir on Pauma Creek, a heart pumping ascent to Boucher Lookout with expansive views to the ocean, Black Oaks on Boucher Trail, a visit to Big Willy’s grave and the apple orchards, and ending at Doane Pond. Palomar is truly a magical place and we highly recommend the trails. Make sure to stop at Mother’s Kitchen afterwards for lunch!
A few things to know before you go:
Parking is $10 per car & Seniors are $9 per car
Camp spots can be reserved here:
Fishing is allowed at Doane Pond with a valid California fishing license.
Dogs are allowed in the park but not on any trails.
Check out Scott Turner’s trail write ups for Palomar Mountain SP on Modern Hiker here:
Hike It Off Magazine supports Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park, the officially recognized non-profit association that supports the park in cooperation with the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Check out Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park as well and consider making a donation!
Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god -Aristotle
As most of us hikers know by personal experience and proven by recent scientific studies, not only is hiking good for your body, it is also beneficial for your mind as well. It turns out, in a study done by Stanford in 2015, hiking in nature contributes to lower depression. (http://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/) So in a time where we have so many everyday distractions that can cause anxiety and stress, hiking is a great way to get outside, disconnect, and feel good, both physically and mentally. Hiking for many, is also a social experience, as hiking with a group offers a way to connect with others and share the same passion with like-minded people. But what happens when you don’t have someone to hike with or you just want to get away sans your hiker friends? Go solo!
Solo hikes, for me, are even more beneficial to my mind and reconnecting with myself through nature than group hikes. All those distractions of life we try to escape from by hiking sometime sneak along with you on the trail in the form of your hiking partners. Maybe someone is little grumpy, or wants to complain about their significant other, or just won’t stop talking. Maybe someone is having a bad physical day and needs to turn around ending your hike too. Don’t get me wrong, hiking with friends is amazing, but can be distracting, causing that connection with nature to be lost. When I hike solo, it’s just me, the trail, and the weather; no distractions and a perfect time to re-connect with myself and hike off some of those stresses and anxiety. Solo hiking becomes much more of a spiritual experience for me and I notice how much I am one with the earth. I come back feeling so rejuvenated and grounded at the same time.
But what about the dangers of hiking solo? I can’t tell you how many people freak out when I tell them I sometimes hike by myself. “Aren’t you worried about psycho killers on the trail? What about getting eaten by a mountain lion?” I always smile to myself when I hear this and think about my husband’s favorite movie quote in a scene from Heat where Al Pacino yells at Snitches “You can get killed walking your doggie”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=575xM6Uljw4 Al Pacino’s quote really holds some truth when you look at the stats. On average, around 5,000 people a year get killed by being hit by a car. Compare that to the roughly 35 people a year that die hiking and it doesn’t seem so dangerous. And those mountain lions that everyone is afraid will eat me? According to Wikipedia, since 1890, there has been less than 25 fatal mountain lion attacks in the entire U.S. More people died from contaminated cantaloupes in 2013 than mountain lions since 1890! The facts are mountain lions just don’t eat people and it’s extremely rare to even see one (I’m still waiting to see one even after the 1,000’s of miles I’ve hiked in cougar country).
When I go out on a trail alone, I feel so free- so connected. It’s such a great feeling, knowing I am capable of doing something that scares most people and loving every second of it. When you think about it, it’s only been a couple generations since everyone became so disconnected from the wild and somehow it became “scary”. My Grandfather lived in a time where normal people lived in the wild, slept under the stars, and hiked every day because they didn’t have access to horses or cars. Oh what a time that must have been to live!
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting solo hiking is for everyone but I do think everyone should try it at least once and see if it is for you or not. If you’re new to solo hiking, here are some tips for your first few solo hikes:
Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
Insulation (extra clothing)
Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
Repair kit and tools
Nutrition (extra food)
Hydration (extra water)
A couple months after my accident (click here if you don’t know my story) my surgeon sent me to physical therapy to learn to walk again. I had been in a wheelchair for two months and my once strong legs were in a state of severe atrophy. My ligaments and tendons in my ankle were all stretched to their capacity and extremely unstable. Couple that with the throbbing pain I was still experiencing from having all my cartilage in my ankle blown out (think bone on bone) and the sheer trauma of the injury, I had a long and uphill recovery and was very concerned I wouldn’t be able to hike again.
I endured a couple months of physical therapy which got me from the wheelchair, to crutches, and then to walking, albeit with a severe limp and lingering pain. I was so happy for the progress but knew I needed something more, something that could not only further my healing physically, but mentally as well. No one talks about how difficult an injury like this is mentally. I was depressed, hooked on pain killers, and needing something else. Throughout my journey, I wrote a blog (see my blog here) that really helped expel some of the darkness I went through, but I was ready to move onto something that would connect my body and mind in unison healing.
So I joined my local yoga studio, Sage Yoga. I had practiced yoga years before and remembered how amazing it felt physically and mentally. It seemed like the perfect solution- and it was. I started easy and had the most amazing teachers who helped me modify the poses that adapted to my ankle’s abilities. I started building strength and balance again and felt 1000 times better mentally. One of the most important things yoga brought back in me was my confidence. Confidence to go on my first hike again. It was short and slow and I was kind of scared but after that hike I knew I would be ok.
I directly attribute yoga to my ability to hike again. I am sure without it, my recovery would have been much longer and harder and I may not have ever reconnected that part of me mentally that had also been damaged. Since then, yoga is still a big part of my life and continues to heal my body and mind. I continually torture my body with hiking- strained legs up mountains, tight hips from heavy packs, weak knees from downhill movement, and fatigued feet from miles upon miles of hiking. The one thing I have found that snaps my body back the fastest- yoga. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Some of my favorite yoga poses for post hikes are butterfly pose (hips), rag doll (lower back/Quads), pigeon (quads/hips), toes pose (plantar fascia- great if you have plantar fasciitis), dragonfly pose (hips), and any twist (multiple body parts).
So, I literally thank the universe for this every time I hike in the form of a yoga pose on my hike. It’s me honoring myself for taking care of me. So if you see me on top of a mountain in tree pose, you’ll know it’s my heart giving gratitude for the path that led me to being able to get to the top of that mountain physically and mentally and to be present in that moment to enjoy it for all that it is.
It seems there has been a reoccurring theme lately in many of the Facebook hiking groups I am a member in- dog poop. Many well intentioned hikers just do not understand the importance of Leave No Trace- especially when it comes to their furry best friend’s feces. Since I hike a ton with my dog, I have researched the reasons why Leave No Trace is ultra-important, especially when it comes to bagging and carrying out my pooch’s poop. Here are the main arguments I see among hikers, time and time again, along with what is the recommended course of action by LNT advocates, biologists, and multiple studies.
I always pick up my dog’s poop at the park but not when I am in the woods. Wild animals poop in the woods, so my dog should be able to poop in the woods too.
At first, this does seem like logical reasoning to why it should be ok to leave your dog’s feces in the woods. I can’t tell you how many piles of coyote crap I have stepped in- it’s all over on some trails I hike frequently. The main reason this logic is flawed is that wild animal feces ≠ domestic animal feces. Think about what that coyote eats vs. what your dog eats. According to www.westminstercollege.edu, a coyote’s varied diet includes scavenging the large kills of other animals, insects, fruits, berries, and prickly pear cactus. Coyotes preferred diet includes deer, elk, rabbits mice squirrels, pocket gophers, beavers, ground nesting birds, amphibians, lizards, snails and fish. It’s a diet high of naturally occurring protein and calcium and is 100% biodegradable. In fact, some studies have shown that the fertile scat of some wild animals is actually a benefit to the eco-system. Researches in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park recently performed a study on samples of bear scat mixed with soil containing Chokecherry seeds in their park’s greenhouse. It turns out, they found the seeds are more likely to germinate after passing through the bear’s system than just dropping off the plant. The seeds have a thick coating that the bear’s digestive system helps to break down making it easier for the plant to germinate.
Now think about what your dog eats. If you’re conscious and feed your dog a high quality food, it contains many ingredients including added nutrients and preservatives. If you feed your dog a lower quality food, it contains much more than that. I googled Purina Dog Chow ingredients just to see and this is what I found:
Ingredients: Whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, chicken by-product meal, egg and chicken flavor, whole grain wheat, animal digest, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, mono and dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, yellow 6, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, yellow 5, red 40, manganese sulfate, niacin, blue 2, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite
Not very natural to say the least. All these added nutrients, fillers, chemicals, and preservatives go right into the delicate environment. Added nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, create unstable environments that cause algae blooms and feed invasive plants and weeds.
What’s one poop from my dog? It’s not even that big.
According to Leave No Trace Organization, across the US, 83 million pet dogs produce 10.6 million tons (that's 21,200,000,000 pounds) of poop every year. That’s a lot of poop! Imagine if everyone that is hiking with their dog left their dog’s mess. Plus an average dog poop takes about a year to decompose. So as you can see, it can pile up fast and stick around for a long time.
People complain about my dog’s poop when horse’s poop so much more and they don’t have to clean it up.
Again this comes down to diet and internal processing. Horse manure contains grass and grain fibers, minerals, shed cells, fats, water, sand or grit depending on the type of soil the hay or grass was growing in. About 3/4 of the total weight of manure is water. The chemical constituents of horse manure are not toxic to humans. Horse guts do not contain significant levels of the two waterborne pathogens of greatest concern to human health risk, Cryptosporidium or Giardia, neither do they contain significant amounts of the bacteria E. coli or Salmonella. In fact, many people use horse poop as compost for their gardens. Dog poop is nothing like horse poop. Did you know that in one gram of dog poop there are 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans? Imagine all those piles of poop when it rains, washing all that bacteria into our agriculture fields, water sources, and oceans.
I do bag my dog’s poop in biodegradable bags. It will degrade so it’s ok to leave it.
No one wants to look at your decomposing dog poop bag for the next year (at least). This includes even if you’re just leaving the bag and plan on picking it up on your way back down. Most likely, you may forget it or someone else will feel the need to pick it up for you. It goes against the ethics of hiking and put everyone who hikes with their dog in danger of having dog friendly trails change to no dogs due to all the litter.
Again, this goes back to the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace:
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Leave What You Find
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Poop stinks and I don’t want to carry it in my backpack all day!
When I see comments like this my blood literally starts to boil. This is irresponsible dog ownership, a complete disregard to fellow hikers and the environment, and pure laziness. It’s a privilege to be able to take your dog on a hike and it is your responsibility to ensure you bag and pack out their poop every time.
So what can you do as a hiker with your dog to ensure you’re doing to right thing with your dog’s poop?
Meet Badass Adventurer, Solo Female Traveler, Backpacker, Writer, and Dreamer, Emily Pennington aka @brazenbackpacker
One of the things I love most about Instagram is seeing the serious outdoor bad-assery of so many women of all sizes, races, and ages from all over the world. It’s inspiring and motivates me not only to be a champion for all women in the outdoors, but to also ensure Hike It Off is a brand that inspires other women to get outside regardless of their fears, what society has told them about being a women outside, and to break out of their comfort zone. One of those bad-asses I’ve been following for a while is Emily Pennington, aka @brazenbackpacker. Not only is she a rad backpacker, but she is a solo worldwide traveler, adventurer, writer, and like most of us, a dreamer. She has a wealth of knowledge to share and has the most amazing blog at https://brazenbackpacker.com/ where she shares her extensive know how, amazing trips, and opens her heart to her readers about her struggles with anxiety, fears, and worries and how hiking saves her from all of it. Her writing style is captivating, and you literally can’t stop reading once you start- so don’t say I didn’t warn you! I was blessed with the opportunity to interview her for our blog and am so excited to share it! From her favorite hike of all time to advice to women who want to start hiking solo, here’s what Emily had to say to me- I promise its some amazing stuff!
Jaime: Have you always hiked and explored? Did you grow up doing it?
Emily: I've always been active in one way or another, whether it was cheer-leading, dance, circus, or hiking. I grew up car camping a couple of times a year and went on road trips to Colorado and New Mexico. Plus, I spent two summers as a child with my family in Sweden, where I was free to roam around these massive, old growth forests, boulder hopping, swimming in lakes, and looking for trolls. I didn't come from an outdoorsy family per se, but I think a ton of micro-adventures at a young age fueled my soul enough to really get into it now that I live in California!
Jaime: What's the one thing you won't hike without?
Emily: LIP BALM! There's nothing worse than cracked lips in a windstorm or atop a frigid summit. I recently had a bad time at altitude on a steep snow climb and sunburned my lips so badly that they blistered for days! Now, I'm religious about carrying a 50 spf stick with me at all times.
Jaime: What's the coolest place you've hiked so far?
Emily: Peru was a game-changer. I fell in love with the high-altitude peaks that jut up out of the earth and go on for miles. Because it's closer to the equator, the Peruvian Andes stay much more green as you ascend, making ventures to 16,000 feet anything but boring and lunar. I love the Sierras, since it’s so close to home, but I'm first and foremost a fan of anything lush and green, which made the Andes a real eye-opening experience.
Jaime: Do you have any upcoming trips you'd like us to share?
Emily: My next big adventure is supposed to be the High Sierra Trail in October. I've always loved the Great Western Divide, so traversing it and finishing on Mt. Whitney will be a real treat. My current bucket list items include the Haute Route, Annapurna Circuit, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. I'd also love to learn glacier travel and get up on some higher peaks in the Andes!
Jaime: What is your advice for those just starting to hike and explore?
Emily: Don't be afraid to just get out there and do it, even if that means going for an easy day hike with your dog. There will always be someone crushing it harder and faster than you, so try to shut out comparisons at all costs. I heard a great quote the other day that I think rings SO true - "Comparison is the thief of joy." I think that, too often, people don't even try a new thing because they tell themselves they aren't good enough or it's not possible. Climb the climbs you want, and explore the world for you. After all, you're the one receiving its amazing benefits!
Jaime: So many women are afraid to hike/travel/explore alone. What advice would you give them?
Emily: It's not nearly as bad as you think it is! When I first started solo trekking, I would backpack on trails I had already done. Starting off slowly to get your feet wet is a great way to begin your solo exploration. If you're really nervous, pick a country or trail that's familiar for your first solo adventure. It will feel much different when you're there by yourself, and your attention will be turned up to 11, so you'll be amazed at all the new things you notice and experience. I'm also a BIG fan of research. I obsessively read about what to do if you see a bear or rattlesnake on trail when I started venturing off solo. I also asked friends for advice and scoured blogs for tips when I went to India as a solo female. Having information in the back of your mind when things go awry is always a good plan.
Jaime: What does "Hike It Off" mean to you personally?
Emily: For me, the wild has always been the place that will accept me, day after day, no matter how tired, cranky, or heartbroken. "Hike It Off" reminds me of the true spirit of the outdoors, one where you shrug off your worries and the weight of the ordinary world as you move your body through the wilderness and emerge a bit brighter and more healed. Hiking it off is therapy!
Jaime: So many people want to start hiking and exploring but don't know where to start. What advice would you give them?
Emily: There are a ton of great resources out there if you want to start exploring but don't want to go it alone! The Sierra Club hosts frequent hikes and backpacking trips of various levels. A quick search of Meetup.com will usually also glean a bunch of hiking groups near your hometown. If you're looking to up your backcountry or mountain skills so you can tackle bigger objectives, REI has a wealth of classes on everything from rock climbing to wilderness survival.
Jaime: If you could hike any trail in the world, what trail would it be and why?
Emily: Oh man! It's impossible to choose just one. The Laugavegur trek in Iceland looks amazing. I'm really into fantasy, and it traverses a lot of the landscapes that Lord of the Rings was inspired by. I'm also dying to do something in Nepal like the Annapurna Circuit. I fell in love with the Himalayas when I went to India, and I can't wait to go back!
Jaime: Anything else you'd like to share?
Emily: I think one of the biggest reasons people (and women especially) don't get outside is because they're afraid to take the first step, because it's a big world out there, and journeying out alone can feel daunting. If I could offer one piece of advice, it would just be to start small by going on walks or short hikes every week near your town. Plan a weekend road trip to a national park with your friends when you get a day off, and keep growing your base of experience. Once you build a little momentum, it gets addictive, and you'll crave bigger challenges as you continue to grow. It's an incredibly fulfilling and life-long pursuit. Getting outside of my comfort zone on a regular basis has made me stronger, braver, and 100% more self-aware.
Make sure to follow Emily on her social media sites below as well as subscribing to her blog at:
A BIG thank you to Emily for taking time to share this with us and our followers!
“Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.”- Urban Dictionary
Commitment seems to be one of those lost art forms, like curtsying or RSVP’ing to an event. People just don’t stay committed anymore- maybe it’s all the distractions in our modern life, but it seems so easy for many people to drop a girlfriend, block a friend, go from job to job, or just “quit” something without blinking an eye. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I strongly practice being impeccable with my word and sticking to my commitments. However, I am also really good at only committing to the things I know are good for my mind, body, and soul- like hiking.
There is no such thing as hiking without commitment, at least not any sustainable hiking anyways. If we’re not committed as hikers, we’re not going to get very far, and climbing mountains or doing multiple day backpacking trips will be nearly impossible. There is so much more than just walking down a trail to hiking. Commitment is hiking’s backbone, the needed structure to keep us standing tall when we feel like quitting. Commitment is pushing on when our legs feel like they are going to fall off and when we’re cold and hungry and are still miles from the destination. Commitment is when we have blisters and our hips are on fire and when we crest what we think is the last push before the peak only to realize we have another valley to cross and we keep going. Commitment is eating dehydrated food for days on end so we can stay another day on the trail. Commitment is unloading a small fortune on gear and spending hours upon hours in the wilderness, sometimes all alone with just our thoughts.
But as hikers, we know what the payoff for this commitment is. Absolute bliss. Absolute clarity. And a connection with ourselves and nature that nobody understands unless they have that same commitment. It is worth every time we’ve been cold, hungry, dirty, ate a nasty dehydrated meal, missed an event, had a low bank account, and survived painful blisters. It becomes our life not only on the trail, but off the trail too, and arms us with the power to do and change whatever we set out to do, just like climbing to the top of that mountain.
My goal every year is to hike as much as I can- and 2018 is no exception. Especially since my accident, I do not take being able to get outside and hike for granted, ever. You never know when that may change. I hope to inspire more people to get outside and experience the magic of hiking. I also know how perfect hiking is for me and my own inner growth and wellness. So who else is committing to more mountain peaks and getting outside as much as possible? I can’t wait to see you on the trail.
“Your life changes the moment you take a new, congruent, and committed decision”- Tony Robbins
Over Labor Day weekend we headed up to the Sierra for a 4 day/3 night backpacking trip hiking the Thousand Islands Lake Loop in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. I was lucky enough to receive a prototype Kula Cloth™ from Kula Cloth Founder and Musical Mountaineer, Anastasia Allison, to try out on this trip. Considering how much I practice Leave No Trace Principles (click here to if you don’t know what they are) and believe they are vital to keeping our trails and back country clean, I was super excited to try out the Kula Cloth™ and hopefully use much less toilet paper and have a safe antimicrobial p-cloth option. Plus I love supporting small women owned hiking businesses so the whole concept was a win/win for me.
If you haven’t noticed, toilet paper litter on trails is a major issue. On every hike I go, whether it’s just a day hike or multi-day backpacking trip, there is toilet paper all over the trail. It is so frustrating to see, especially because it’s so simple to dispose of properly. But there is a side of it I get, it’s gross to pack it out and not everyone carries a shovel to bury it properly- hence the TP strewn trails. Anastasia has created a re-useable and affordable product that addresses this and is a simple and easy way not to contribute litter the trail.
So how did it work?
Amazing! I give the Kula Cloth™ 10 bright and shiny stars. It is a great product and will become a staple piece of gear for my backpack. I can say I saved a bunch of TP and my trash bag was much lighter hiking out on day four. I highly recommend one for all women hikers, whether you’re a day hiker or backpacker. It really is an innovative and useful product that is easy to use. Anastasia hopes to see a Kula Cloth™ on every backpack and dreams of a day it will be used for more than just backpacking and outdoor related activities. She hopes it will become a piece of gear for all women military personal while in the field and an option for women in underdeveloped countries with lack of feminine hygiene resources.
So what are the benefits of using one besides using less TP on a hike?
Visit https://kulacloth.com/ to get more information or purchase yours. You can also follow on Facebook here and Instagram here. While you’re at it, check out https://www.facebook.com/themusicalmountaineers/ too!
I keep seeing an alarming discussion pop up over and over in some of the online women hiking groups I am a member of. The post comes in a few forms, and are equally ugly. They may change slightly in wording, but the core of all the posts is about wearing makeup while hiking with a barrage of women shaming other women for wearing makeup while hiking. I am shocked to see a normally supportive community of uplifting women hikers turn all colors of snarky when this topic comes up. What is so upsetting about someone wanting to wear makeup hiking?
Interestingly enough, a 2016 study published in Sage Journals discovered how straight women perceive other women’s makeup and it helps to explain why there is such a strong reaction on this topic. The top findings of the study were:
1. Women view other women who wear makeup as more dominant.
2. Women are more jealous of other women who wear makeup because they are seen as more promiscuous.
3. Women are naturally drawn to other women who wear makeup the way they do.
When we delve deep into this, it seems to boil down to the fear many of us have of not being good enough. We’ve been taught we must have perfect make-up, hair, and clothes to be beautiful by the mainstream media. We’ve learned that unless we are beautiful, we won’t get that job we want, or the friends we want, or the romantic relationship we want. According to the Association for Psychological Science, people that are seen as more attractive are treated better in most areas of their life than those deemed not as attractive. It’s a tough standard to live up to, and then throw in the other additional stresses of life and we get resentful, worn out, and maybe even a little bitter. Check out these seriously astonishing statistics posted on https://heartofleadership.org/statistics/ on just how we feel about ourselves: