A Backcountry Morning
Adventures look acutely different than they used to, BC (before children), but they are getting so much easier. In the early years with my girls, I used to get to the trailhead already mentally and physically exhausted from all the prepping and secretly wonder how on earth I was going to have the energy to propel myself and my girls forward to the destination.
For a day trip, I packed diapers, wipes, lunch, snacks, extra snacks, water, filter, first aid, extra clothing for them, extra for myself, sunscreen, bug lotion, hats, bear spray, ergo, camera, and I know there was more.
I carried the pack on front, and most of the time, Campbell was on my back. I was exhausted from thinking of all the things that could happen or might go wrong while we were out together in the backcountry. I was sometimes disappointed if we didn’t get to the destination we set out to reach.
I’d carry them, sometimes both of them at the same time, trying to will us up the trail to achieve these (my) goals. If I hadn’t quite thought of every possibility and one of them got their feet soaked with no extra shoes, I’d strip my socks off and fashion makeshift slippers for them in hopes of keeping our plans from derailing.
In some ways, I felt like I was trying to “fake it till I made it.” The kids seemed unaffected by my sometimes Herculean shenanigans (efforts), but it was worth it. I consider those early efforts a rite of passage of an outdoor parent.
I kept this very vital part of who I am ALIVE during a time it might just have been easier to stay home. Things have eased up, and although I still carry a monster pack on overnights, I no longer have to hurl my heavy legs forward as exhausted as I used to be.
At 7 & 11 years old, they hike with snacks and water on their backs, and they seem to really enjoy these experiences. I love the pace of our journeys, and I’ve have settled into a new rhythm of our times in the mountains together.
About the Writer
Elizabeth grew up in Northern Maine, and thanks to her parents, she had lots of adventures as a kid. She received a B.A. in Communication from the University of Southern Maine, and a year later, she set out on a road trip which was slated to last a month but turned into a life-changing adventure that landed her in Missoula. Montana. She’s a portrait photographer, adventure writer and is currently working on a documentary film project called “Mountain Mama” about outdoor mom athletes.
She enjoys all sorts of mountain sports, including climbing, hiking, running, mountain biking, backpacking, fly fishing, and skiing, and, most recently, ice climbing. She draws from her experience as an adventure racer and loves being off-trail in the high country and ridgelines most of all. She is the mother of two spirited young daughters who are often also her partners in adventure. Follow Elizabeth and her documentary on Instagram.
About “Mountain Mama”
Outdoor moms are just as adventurous as the characters featured in “First Ascent” documentaries, but we don’t often see them featured.
Mountain Mama takes an intimate look into the lives of 4 outdoor athletes as they balance the demands of motherhood with reconnecting and protecting the wild places and the rugged sports that are integral to their identity.
When women who have a passion for the outdoors and wilderness make that leap to become a parent, life changes dramatically. In some cases, women have worked their way up in male-dominated outdoor fields and are at the pinnacle of levels of their fitness and performance when they become mothers and must find a way to keep the jobs they love while their bodies and lives change. Starting a family for these women is a life-altering decision.
After baby is born, will we continue to work in our fields or do we stay home? Is there a balance?
I was inspired to make this film due to my own journey. I have been drawn to the outdoors all my life. When I was a child growing up in Northern Maine, thanks to my parents, I had lots of adventures. My favorite trips were our yearly Allagash River canoe trips and travels along the eastern seaboard crammed into our family station wagon with three other siblings. My love of the outdoors led me to Montana. When I got around to having babies in my thirties it seemed I was traveling in a wild and unfamiliar place without a map or compass. Although I enjoyed the special experience of those first weeks after my first baby was born I felt something in me was missing. I felt my running shoes had been nailed to the ground unable to move forward…captive in four walls and temporarily reduced to the life of a milking cow, and up all hours of the day and night I found it difficult to find out where and who I was anymore. A couple weeks after my daughter was born I went outside and carried her up my favorite local mountain. It was that outing I realized I needed both of these things to survive….and to thrive. The mountains hand-in-hand with motherhood.
My journey through this documentary will further prove that outdoor moms are inspiring, captivating and determined to get back into these wild places that are such a part of our identity. I hope the film will be humorous, and touching, and bring a new perspective to light.
Contact Elizabeth at Elizabeth Moore [email protected]