Myself with my devoted tent buddy and trash carrier, Mojo. 2005, Thousand Island Lake, 5 chicks, 1 dog, no bears.

In 1999 I got to go on my first “chick trip”, a mule-supported backpacking party, planned by a fantastic woman and a pika fanatic, Peggy.  The size of the group is limited, because of the permit system and general logistics, so I was lucky that someone had to drop out at the last minute (sorry, Janice).

I hadn’t been backpacking in over 10 years and we were leaving in 4 days.  I had very little time to prepare my gear or my body, but I signed on.  Fortunately I had just bought a backpack and a water filter pump at a sample sale, now I had to borrow everything else.  I got it together and hauled my ass over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin to find the bulk of our gear carried in by our friendly mule team.  We got to carry everything out.  In rain and lightning.  Somehow, I was hooked.

I wish I could say that I participated in every “chick trip” since, but I’m still following Peggy around the Sierra when I can (4 years out of the last five).  Sometimes the trip has 14 women, sometimes 2, but we make it out every year.

Most of us are not trail divas, with quads of steel (some are though!).  Mostly we are anything but normal women: health care angels, class room stars, entrepreneurs, players of ukeleles, singers of harmony, wine appreciators, paddlers of rivers, lovers of pumpkin pie, moms (of dogs, cats, and humans), talented, smart and funny. We want to share and introduce other women to backpacking with discussions about real gear experiences, trail tips and tricks, and advice on being a lazy backpacker (which I aspire to be).

-Rachael Miller

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