With mountains at every vantage point and national forests providing day hikes and multi-day treks, the possibilities for adventure in Cache Valley seem limitless — that is until that hot spot turns into a blister, food runs low or a bathroom can’t be found.
“These are things that can keep people back, especially women, transgender, and non-binary folks,” said Sarah Timmerman, the USU Inclusion Center’s program coordinator. “We decided that there needs to be more opportunities for them to be included in outdoor rec.”
Multiple conversations last semester between Timmerman and Caitlin Arnett, a USU grad student, led to the creation of the Wild Womxn Workshop Series. The series kicked off its first event on Wednesday evening at the Outdoor Programs rental shop on campus with a seminar about female hygiene and nutrition in the backcountry.
Arnett is originally from Texas and now works with both the Inclusion Center and Outdoor Programs. With years of experience backpacking, mountain biking and traveling, Arnett shared some tips that she has learned from trial and error on her own adventures.
“We want to be clean in the backcountry but we also want to keep the backcountry clean,” Arnett said.
There is a certain level of preparation that needs to go into multi-day hiking trips, Arnett said. She emphasized the importance of packing enough food that will provide needed nutrients and energy, being mindful of menstruation needs, and taking care of feet before, during and after long hikes.
“Don’t change your normal routine for your period,” Arnett said. “It is something that you can manage and there are ways to not let it ruin your trip.”
Arnett said being aware of your body and what is and isn’t comfortable for individuals is important for long-term enjoyment.
Especially when it comes to feet.
“Get yourself a pair of sacred socks,” Arnett said. “They will bless your feet.”
The idea is that a comfy pair of socks stays inside the tent at all times; they stay dry and are a treat for the feet at the end of the day.
Arnett noted that catching hot spots before they become blisters can make or break a good hike.
“Wrap it up,” Arnett said. “Wrap it a couple times, even when it might feel excessive.”
The same advice somewhat applies to eating habits — Arnett shared that when backpacking, food needs to be consumed regularly to avoid “bonking” or hitting a wall, even if it feels excessive.
“Breakfast should be high in carbs and fat, while lunch usually consists of a bunch of snacks throughout the day,” Arnett said as she shared how she and her friends once took eight jars of peanut butter on a hiking trip. “End your day with a high-protein dinner and you’ll be feeling full and happy.”
Becky Visser, a senior at USU, said this really helped her. Being on a Keto diet made her nervous to take long trips because she was worried she wouldn’t be able to sustain herself the whole time.
Arnett said eating foods that you enjoy but that also give you the energy you need is the sweet spot.
“Ultimately, it is a whole lot of trial and error,” Arnett said. “Pace yourself, pay attention to your body and allow yourself to enjoy the experience.”
Nutrition coaching is available at USU to assist with a myriad of situations but can be used prior to a long outdoor adventure. More information about coaching and to peruse the outdoor recreation cookbook, go to www.usu.edu/campusrec/fitness_programs/new_fitness_program/Nutrition.
The next event in the Wild Womxn series will focus on how to pack and what to pack on a backpacking trip. The event will be at 6 p.m. March 12 at the Outdoor Programs Rental Shop located at 805 E. 700 North, Logan, UT.