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 BernardCurator
- Heather HoganEditor
- Rachel KincaidEditor
- Carmen PhillipsEditor
- Laneia JonesCurator
- Vanessa FriedmanEditor
- Sarah SarwarDesigner
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.”
The Look We Give
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.”
Photo Essay: How to Pay Attention
I take photos because they are true, whether they are true or not.
On the Hunt
My hunting experiences from youth to adulthood, in relation to my life as a black, queer woman of color.
The Great Angling Lesbian Society: Chicago’s Park-Hopping Lesbian Fishing Club
Sherry Pethers, the first out lesbian elected to a judgeship in Cook County, founded GALS – the “Greater Angling Lesbian Society” – a group of queer women in Chicago who spent the ’90s traveling across national parks in search of that one elusive perfect fishing trip.
Great Old Broads
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.
Behind the Scenes With REI’s Force of Nature Campaign
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 campaign and so much more!
Going Back Outside After the Streetlights Come On
This new bike is my first one since I was kid. I wondered why I stopped going outside, but every day I’m remembering the racism and the police violence that kept me from exploring what happens after the street lights come on.
Where Can You Take a Walk in the Park?
My relationship with a stray dog, mental illness, and the lack of public spaces in Istanbul.
Alaska’s Queer Climate Movement
While traveling through Alaska to research an exhibit about how climate change is affecting permafrost, I found myself needing to navigate wild spaces while grieving their loss.
The Quaker Aunts
Did my great-great-aunt help rescue Jewish children under the cover of leading Quaker youth hikes in the Alps?
Merqueen of the Springs
Dive into this fantasy based world where the merqueen of the springs spreads her wings and takes up space.
Queering the Wild
Our frameworks for understanding Nature and wild spaces are tangled up with histories of racism, colonialism, and heterosexism. Despite what we’ve been taught, the sciences of ecology, evolutionary theory, and biology have never actually been “neutral.”
Going Outside with Joshua Jennifer Espinoza
When Jennifer opened the door we were both nervous. The plan was to go for a hike, but I didn’t know what that meant. I changed my outfit from jeans to shorts to jeans again, my shoes from Docs to sneakers to Docs again. I dug up my old water bottle and bought sunscreen. I […]
Monday Roundtable: Wind, Sand, and Sex
Having sex outside of buildings! Have you ever? We sure have!
More Interesting Than the Veil: A Queer Climber’s Experience of Iran
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.
The Mystery Departure of Grand Canyon National Park’s First Lesbian Superintendent
Chriz Lehnertz started her position as the first lesbian superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park eager to reform an organization that had been plagued by a culture of sexual harassment. Instead, she quit her job two years later after an a humiliating investigation that led her to feel like she was no longer capable of working at the park.
Among the Bushworkers
In a profession where women rarely venture without male partners, sex is a commodity, as is male protection — but not for me.
Finding My Strength in Trail Work
The story of one femme non-binary queer who traded in their urban party person life for manual labor in the backcountry and learned how to be strong in many different ways.
Perfectionism and the Art of Rock Climbing
Learning to rock climb helped me navigate a cross-country move that forced me to relate to my body in an uncomfortable new way, and especially forced me to confront my perfectionism as it relates to disability and queerness.
PHOTOESSAY: Climbing After Top Surgery
Claiming our bodies and using them to take up space together in Bishop, California.
What the Border Wall Destroys
The border wall will destroy wildlife and the land natural to the Rio Grande Valley, and continue its colonization.
The Land Dykes Of Southern Oregon Saved My Life
In the summer of 2014 I was broken. Living in community with my queer elders put me back together.