Tribes

Have you ever met a group of people for the first time and been like,

“Yeah…this is my tribe.”

It sounds pretty corny but that was how I felt after spending the weekend with my friends Logan, Kellie, and Emily. Granted, we all followed each other on Instagram so we could kind of get a feel for each other before meeting in person. But anyone who has gone on a horrible Tinder date knows that sometimes there are things about a person that you just cannot predict until meeting face to face. 

In actuality I met Logan the week prior to this camping adventure, when Adam and I hiked Tire Mountain with her and her pups. Right off the bat I looked into the eyes of her little Patsy dog and was in love. To me she is like a sweet little buddha dog that was one lifetime away from enlightenment and nirvana and decided to spend it as a dog with really rad owners that take her to do fun stuff. She made a good choice because Logan is one of the coolest people I’ve met in a long time… or maybe its just that we are on the same wavelength. Her vibe matches my vibe and we easily just started carrying on our friendship as if it had already existed: hiking through wildflowers, creating photographs, and planning future adventures. Logan is down to Earth, highly aware, adventurous, and smart as hell, which made me even more excited when Dani told me she was making her a Mountain Chicks ambassador.

 

We collaborated to create images for a post that Logan wrote for a travel blog, and this lead to the idea for us to create Pixieset galleries for specific adventures. Now people that hike with us can download the images we take after we’ve chosen and edited them, which is important to us as photographers. Here is a link to that if you would like to check out our galleries:

https://naturallyinspired.pixieset.com

Since deciding to become a full-time creative, I feel more aware of when my creative juices are flowing and when they aren’t: because I want them to be on all the time now! If I am too “in my head” or feeling anxiety and fear, I can’t get in the mindset to take great photos, choose the right photos to edit, write, etc. This is a long winded way of saying that it can take me some time to get comfortable enough around someone to just be who I am and do my thing. Hosting group hikes is helping a lot. I also think that as I get older and more comfortable in my own skin that I’ll give less of a frick what other people think, which will make it easier to fully shine as myself in any situation, no matter how novel it is. I’m already feeling less like a person pretending to be a photographer, content creator, hiker, and more like an actual photographer, content creator, hiker. So that helps. Fake it until you make it has some validity I suppose. 

We decided to camp at Odell Lake the Friday before my group hike at Salt Creek Falls- Adam, Logan, her boyfriend Benji, Emily, and Kellie. Adam, Logan and I knew each other, but other than that we were all meeting for the first time on this camping excursion. Those of you familiar with the area might be thinking, “Odell Lake, I hope you brought the bug spray! Chuckle chuckle.” Well…we did and it didn’t do anything to stop us all from getting covered in hundreds of bites. But at the time, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal because we were all enjoying each others company so much. Emily set up her hammocks on top of one another and I got some great shots of her and Kelly sitting in them. If you want to meet one of the sweetest, chillest people ever who will also crack you up: that’s Emily. She proceeded to show us all how she could flip her self into the top hammock from the bottom hammock and I just have one photo to even explain remotely what I am talking about! 

We all sat around the fire talking and watching Logan and Benji cook fresh veggies while Adam photographed the scene. Kellie is hilarious and passionate about living her life to the fullest. She told us about her adventures and travels in the past and shared with us her future goals. She plans to thru hike the PCT next year, something that I intend on doing in the coming years. It is so refreshing to be around people that are so alive. Those who are not just watching life pass them by but are going out every weekend and tearing it up. Seeing things they have never seen before, pushing themselves a little further than last week, making life-long memories with people they just met for the first time two hours ago. This is what Mountain Chicks is all about. It isn't just the group hikes. It is the entire community that the group fosters. We all found each other via instagram and a Facebook group filled with people that want the same experience we do. Trail runners can find trail runners. Peak baggers can find peak baggers. Casual hikers can find casual hikers. 

The next day all twelve of the ladies that were signed up for the group hike arrived at the trailhead at 9am. I passed out some Probars, stickers, and Mountain Chicks chapsticks and we were off. It was as buggy as it gets but as we hiked at least some of the mosquitos couldn’t catch us. We were able to see Salt Creek Falls raging just feet from the parking lot and then followed a short stretch of trail down to a viewing point approximately halfway between the top and bottom of the waterfall. We took a few shots of the falls as we all got to know each other better. We then retraced our steps back to the parking lot and set out on the trail to Diamond Creek Falls, my personal favorite. We arrived at the base of the waterfall right as the sun was peaking over the top of it and got some adorable photos of everyone. I met so many amazing women on this hike: students, mothers, athletes. I really loved meeting Anet, who cruises around in a sweet van going on adventures with her husband. Everyone was so happy just to be out there experiencing such a beautiful place together, and it gave me all the feels. I came out of this weekend feeling supercharged with positive vibes and the feeling that I am absolutely on the correct path. Photography, nature, and health are my passions, and Mountain Chicks (of all genders and species) are my tribe.

To see more images from this weekend, check out this gallery: Salt Creek Falls.

To find a chapter of Mountain Chicks near you, follow this link: Mountain Chicks Chapters.

To learn more about how important tribes are, read this: Tribes.

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