We’re not always in the history books alongside other trailblazers and outdoor enthusiasts, but we were there. We’re outside and outsiders all at the same time. These are stories about what you find when you look beyond your four walls, and what you were even looking for to begin with. Stories of the wildest spaces and unexplored histories, histories that speak to the colonization of these lands and spaces.
- Riese Curator
- Heather Hogan Editor
- Rachel Kincaid Editor
- Carmen Phillips Editor
- Laneia Jones Curator
- Vanessa Friedman Editor
- Sarah Sarwar Designer
These are all love stories.
“I can’t explain how unreal it felt to be able to let my guard down with a big group of strangers on a hike.”
“When was the last time you saw a straight person in a bog? That’s what I thought.”
The mountains and forests of Northwest Montana were where I felt the freest as a lesbian, but I didn’t know that feeling had queer roots going back 100 years, to when my doppelgänger was wandering these woods.
Our favorite ways and places to be outside.
I could carry that heavy canoe further than any of the other teenage girls on my trip. I could carry that canoe, because that meant I didn’t have to carry my grief and my mom had to carry her own weight, because I wasn’t home.
What we want is not to be brave, but to be free.
“You girls are the talk of the ice-fishing derby!” I get that a lot. When we’re out hunting or fishing, my wife and I are frequently the only women (much less queer women) present.
Mental health, bisexuality, and the great outdoors.
When I got diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, I dropped everything and moved to the outskirts of the Everglades to die. Pushing my body to its limits brought a healing that I never could’ve found as a healthy person – to finally belong in my own skin.
Black LGBTQ+ people may not be well-represented in mainstream environmental organizations, but we’re creating our own interventions that center the most marginalized among us. If you’re wondering what true environmental justice looks like, meet these five Black LGBTQ+ people who put in MAJOR work to protect Earth.
Twenty plus-size women climbed Kilimanjaro in March 2019. They call themselves the Curvy Kili Crew. This is their story.
Sometimes when you go outside, things don’t go according to plan.
“For all its vastness, rural life had no room for me.”
There’s a look I get from black and biracial women on the trail. And there’s a look I give black and biracial women. It’s recognition: “I see you. We’re the only ones like us out here.”
Great Old Broads for Wilderness is a national grassroots organization, led by women, that engages and inspires activism to preserve and protect wilderness and wild lands.
I take photos because they are true, whether they are true or not.
My hunting experiences from youth to adulthood, in relation to my life as a black, queer woman of color.
For one group of Chicago lesbians in the mid-1990s, building a queer community meant sitting around a barrel fire in the freezing, rainy April night, casting smelting nets and awaiting a barrage of tiny fish.
I am a first generation Iranian-Canadian queer on their first trip to Iran at the age of twenty-seven, forming connections to the land.
When you’re little, the backyard of your grandma’s house is an entire universe. Growing up is finding the kid in you and being brave enough to take them outside again – without warning them about coming home before the streetlights come on.
The Quaker Aunts were the stuff of family legend, fearsome women in sensible shoes. Did one of them really smuggle Jewish children across the Alps before World War II?
When we gather together, we don’t need to arrive with hope, because we have the power to create it. We will dictate the future.
Hey there science nerds! This is like taking high school biology all over again! Except this time when we explore nature, it’s going to be truly, deeply queer.
Maybe if trans women can redefine what it means to be close to nature we can also redefine what it means to be close to each other.
Having sex outside of buildings! Have you ever? We sure have!
Bushwork — work done in the backcountry, often off-grid — offers a kind of freedom difficult to find in modern life. It is also a culture steeped in toxic masculinity in which queer women do not have a place.
“I’ve grown physically stronger through trail work than I ever thought possible, but there’s that different kind of strength that trail work has fostered in me that I believe to be a lot more important.”
Most of my old hiking companions from Los Angeles are queer. Now I have Goldie, who takes breaks while we walk, just to jump up and kiss me. She places her paws just over my heart.
As a perfectionist, I’ll always be more comfortable sharing my shiny conclusions than my messy processes. And the best thing about climbing, for me, is that it’s pure process.
I decided to meet Syd in Oakland to celebrate my newly healed chest. We hiked out into the Happy Boulders, selected our first climb and immediately took off our shirts. It was glorious, but also terrifying and vulnerable.
A border wall further fragments and disrupts nature, the land, and the people who are intricately woven into the Rio Grande Valley’s natural ecosystem. With increased militarization on the border, who has access to the land? Who is allowed to enjoy the land?
Dive into this fantasy based world where the merqueen of the springs spreads her wings and takes up space.
REI is doing so much to change the reality of being a human outside! Including sponsoring this very issue! Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about their Force Of Nature initiative and so much more!
In the summer of 2014 I was broken. Living in community with my queer elders put me back together.