Outdoorsy Pride

Heather 4-wheeling

I’ve never considered myself all that outdoorsy, let alone a sportswoman. Especially because I know plenty of people who would cringe at my even using the word outdoorsy.

Growing up in northern Idaho, my family camped and fished often. As a girly girl who refused to wear anything but skirts and dresses until the age of six, I remember holding fish by the tail with the very tips of my fingers when asked to pose for a picture. The tense look on my face at holding something slimy and the leopard-print skirt and legging combo I’m wearing in one particular picture seems to prove that I was not outdoorsy.

But in Idaho, there’s no escaping the outdoors. Mountains are within easy reach and my family took advantage of them. We went four-wheeling and skiing in the mountains – skiing is the one occasion my parents convinced me I could not wear a skirt. Before I was deemed old enough to handle a four-wheeler on my own, I generally rode on the back of my mom’s. We would make a game out of trying to hit a puddle or a cow pie at the right angle to splash my dad. This was quite the gamble because if we weren’t successful, the puddle or pie was likely going to hit us.

I thought I was pretty cool when my dad let me wear his "Fred Bear" hat (my term, not his).

I thought I was pretty cool when my dad let me wear his “Fred Bear” hat (my term, not his).

My dad has hunted all of his life and started getting into archery hunting when I was in grade school. I used to compete in archery shoots with my dad, he with his longbow and me with my recurve. As one of only a handful of girls in my age category, I won ribbons for my scores. My dad set up a 3D deer target in our backyard that we would practice on together. Then came junior high and busy social schedules, and archery was one of the things I let fall to the side.

As an adult, my husband had a job opportunity that took us to Washington, D.C. My husband’s work was still tied to Idaho and often with the state’s land and resources. He was doing similar work before we moved away from the state so when he’d come home and relay his projects, I was surprised that I now felt jealous. We had done this nightly routine of recapping our days before the move and his updates had never made me envious like they did in D.C.

I left my office one day on a quick lunch run and stopped in my tracks because of a familiar smell. Someone was mowing. I breathed in freshly mowed grass and tried to remember how long it had been since I last smelled it. Something as simple as this made me realize how much I missed being outside. Shortly after, I started looking for jobs that would get me more involved in natural resources and was hired at a conservation non-profit. I’m still in D.C. and we still have to make much more of an effort to go camping than we ever did in Idaho, but I love working in a community of people who value the outdoors as much as I now realize I do.

My hometown has been on top 10 lists as one of the best places to live for hunters and anglers and I had to leave it to discover how important it is to me to encourage others to get outside. The activities my family did that seemed so common place, I’ve since realized aren’t. And that’s why I joined Whitney in starting Camo is the New Black – as an adult living on the east coast, I found pride and value in the way I grew up.

– H

In case you missed it, check out Whitney’s, my co-founder, post.

4 comments to Outdoorsy Pride

  • Jordyn  says:

    The northwest misses your beautiful face lady. Glad you’re seeking out newly realized passions in such a new environment! -Jo

  • Heather  says:

    Thanks, Jo!

  • IN THE NEWS: ‘Hunger Games’ inspires new lady archers  says:

    […] wasn’t the inspiration for getting co-founder Heather into archery, but we are happy to see strong female leads as role models for young […]

  • Resolved to Hunt  says:

    […] For almost a year, I’ve been working on this blog to encourage women to hunt, fish and otherwise enjoy the outdoors. I fish, target shoot, camp and hike but unlike my co-founder, I had never been hunting (check out my first post for the background). […]

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