REI Outessa Summit Review: My Take On Women Adventuring
REI Outessa Summit
*Warning: This REI Outessa review may cause bouts of excitement and yearning for the outdoors as you read*
When I originally reached out to Julia, the founder of REI Outessa, it was because I wanted to go and in exchange for participating in some of the activities, I would be helping out at the event as needed. I got to Kirkwood Mountain Thursday– the day before the real kick off and spent time helping sponsors set up and talking to various people buzzing around. I could feel a sense of camaraderie– the energy was positive and everyone wanted to help each other out to make sure boxes were sorted, signs were placed, and finishing touches were made before the first participants arrived that night to either their signature camp spot or condo nearby.
After getting the coffee gig working with Taylor Maid Farms for both Friday and Saturday, it was fun getting to know some of the women coming in to order their cups of coffee–some of them flew in from North Carolina, New Hampshire, and some drove from San Diego just to be there. Distance quickly became null and I realized that everyone I talked to about the activities they already experienced were super happy. Not just an average happy, but a stoked, off-the-wall, fresh, mountain-air-happy. I could see tights everywhere: Activewear flooded the plaza and PrAna yoga mats were popping out of backpacks as people visited sponsor tents and checked in. I heard sea level people praising the sierras and graciously wishing their breathing could keep up with the high altitude effects (including myself).
I signed up for a Smartphone Photography session with REI Guide, Hope Oldham where I learned some basic photography tips and listened to a fireside testimonial from 52 Hike Challenge co-founder, Karla Amador. I also got to experience one of my first (and longest–I accidentally logged over 10 miles on this one!) mountain treks to Emigrant Lake. The food was nothing but sensational serving gourmet-style grub outside in and in between sessions taking place throughout the day. Before I left I visited the ProBar tent to DIY a take home bar (krispies were a must!)
After immersing myself in such an invigorating environment, I admit, it was hard to come back. But I’m grateful I allowed myself the space to get away and be outside in my happy place with other like-minded women. I pride myself in taking the much-needed time to do the things I love. That way, I come back revived to take on the challenges in life with a clean perspective–if you’re a mom you know how important this is.
To all the people I met the last few days: Bravo for supporting and being a part of this first, women-only adventure. May the bonds you made be forever and the skills you learn be useful for years to come.