Lady Camping on CBC’s On the Coast!

Today I got a call from a local CBC producer asking me to join in a conversation at 4 pm about hiking around the Lower Mainland. It was topical, given that we have our first real sunny weekend on our doorstep. My first thought was: I haven’t written a blog post in, oh I don’t know, MORE THAN SIX MONTHS. I haven’t really taken a proper hike in at least two. What qualifies me to speak on the air with the fill-in afternoon show host (sadly not Stephen Quinn) at a moment’s notice?

Well gang, I am a lady with a blog. And that makes me an expert. It also identifies me as a lady… and here is where the interview went a little funny.

I prepared for the discussion, and as 4 pm approached my heart began to race as I waited for the phone to ring. I sat at my desk with two pages of highlighted notes in front of me (lest I forget what I wanted to say about, you know, water and maps and basic backwoods safety). I was going to be an expert. At hiking. I was going to be a female voice on the air, giving advice about hanging out in the outdoors. It was all such a nice confirmation of my values, the ones that prompted me to establish this blog in the first place.

In the lead up to the interview, host Jason Proctor asked listeners “have you ever been halfway up a mountain hiking trail, and come across someone in dress shoes…” His intention here was to foreground a discussion about properly preparing for outdoor recreation. But instead of chatting about our own lived experiences, being underprepared in the woods, and being humbled by these experiences, it seems to me that this intro came out as a mockery of people who do not belong on trails in the woods. People with inappropriately dressy footwear. Also mentioned in this intro: “old people” and people with … injuries. Cue me, getting more uncomfortable with this characterization of who, maybe, is over their head, and shouldn’t be outside. And towards the end of our chat, the host asked me something along the lines of: “Now, Amy, makeup on the trail: Yay or nay?”

I stopped for a second, and frowned into my phone. Is he asking whether I wear makeup on the trail? Why would this be anyone’s business? No, of course, I realized, he was asking me whether I condone others wearing makeup on the trail. Like, do I want to weigh in here on how other women (and men) look while they are hiking. As if this is relevant to anything.

So, that was weird.

I answered in what I think were measured tones that no, I personally am not concerned with my appearance while hiking, but “to each her own, I guess” … and when prompted to comment on the appearance of my fellow hikers, I attributed the fancy trail togs phenomenon to the particular culture of the Lower Mainland. If I had been asked, I would have elaborated more about our obsession with gear and consumption. I was not interested in weighing in on women’s appearance while they are walking on a public trail outside. Sheesh.

Thoughts? Was that what the makeup question was really about? Or did I read it wrong?

Anyhow, it was a fun experience. And it made me think about Lady Camping’s values. Namely, I don’t care if you wear makeup. Don’t ask me again. But let’s talk about camping and hiking!

On that note, I have a series of five more blog posts coming this summer over at the Travel BC blog. Stay tuned!

UPDATE : We have the audio file! If you would like to hear the interview please stream it from the link below. Thanks to CBC’s On The Coast


4 thoughts on “Lady Camping on CBC’s On the Coast!

  1. Amy,
    I hear what you are saying. And maybe that’s where it got a little confused- you were going in thinking how seriously you take being a woman in the outdoors. Sounds like this fill in host was just coming in from a different angle of camping, which caught you off guard. I don’t think what he was talking about matters but from a listener pov it sounds like entertainment as opposed to education.
    To weigh in on the subject- I feel if you are in the city doing a day hike and you want to wear makeup- sure why not? But if hiking for many days in the back country, then I would for sure judge the person for needing to carry around heavy makeup when that could have been delicious food or even alcohol (those things are so much more amazing when not readily available).

    And in terms of people not wearing proper shoes – it reminds me of doing a fairly intense hike in the Grand Canyon. I was 6 months pregnant at the time fully equipped with food and heaps of water. The hike was going down to the Grand Canyon floor at least 7 miles from the top (we stopped half way and went back up). It was 7am and already 25 degrees. There were multiple signs saying “go down is optional, going up is not”. My judgment part came in when watching many many people wearing anything from vans shoes to teva sandles carrying their huge cameras and one 500ml bottle of water. Some had small children with them. I couldn’t believe how unsafe they were being. Ok maybe my judgement comes more from a safety pov than the host of CBC? I definitely judge people while hiking. Now if there was a woman wearing stilettos hiking the Grand Canyon with lots of food and water- I would tip my hat to her and tell her how impressed I was- cuz that sounds hard.
    Anyway, any time you want another lady camper to chime in or ad lib for you, let me know. I’d love to. Maybe we could do a subsection called “mama camper” as now we have evolved and there is so much more to learn and share.
    Good job on your blog and interview.

    • Thank you Asha – how nice to hear from a fellow mama camper! Your Grand Canyon trip sounds amazing. Would love to know more. Maybe I can interview you for a future piece?
      I guess I know what you mean about judging people for carrying non-necessities with them on a long hike. It would be impossible not to. But I dislike how carrying *makeup*, in particular, singles out (mostly) women. If a woman chooses to carry a whole damn makeup case with her, or just a few personal items, this alone does not have any effect on me or on her hiking companions. Her choices about representing her identity — at home, at work, in public, and yes, in a campsite — are her choices, and she shouldn’t be shamed for them.
      Now if, on the other hand, someone chooses to carry non-necessities that endanger themselves or their fellow campers — too heavy to carry safely, or scented products that attract wildlife, for example — then this I can take issue with. But I think that is a different issue.
      Anyhow, thanks for listening and for reading, and happy trails!

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