Tasting Victory

The classic PJB, providing all the goodness of protein, fat and carbohydrates, is a fantastic hiking food. It stays together without the worries of an errant piece of lettuce slipping out the back and depositing a glob of mustard onto your perfectly sweaty, brand new Patagonia gear.

Ah the sandwich, the comfort food of school lunches, but also a symbol of sexism. So popular a catchphrase that a Facebook group was created telling Hillary Clinton to go make a sandwich instead of participating in politics. So popular that when then 14-year-old Jade Hameister skied 150km to the North Pole, becoming the youngest person in history to do so from outside 89 degrees, the Internet deplorably rallied with cries of “make me a sandwich.”

Luckily for us, Hameister was entertained. The next time she visited a pole, it was a 600km ski across the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole pulling a sled containing her supplies, a journey taking 37 days which culminated on January 10, 2018, when Hameister celebrated joining only 140 people to ever make the journey by making herself a sandwich. I bet it tasted like victory.

Katie Sarah of Australia also tasted victory, though I doubt she was eating a sandwich on top of Mount Sidley in Antarctica. On January 14, 2018, the 49-year-old Australian became the first woman to climb the highest peak and highest volcano on every continent, known as the “7-7s.” Clearly Antarctica is where women are shining in 2018, with a fair showing from Australians.

These two new records were set in January of 2018, and the year is still young. Across all sorts of sports and outdoor pursuits, women are pushing new boundaries. Ashima Shiraishi has already taken a firm hold of the title best female rock climber in the world, starting at age 15. Her natural childhood curiosity had her bouldering in Central Park at age six and setting route climbing age records by age eight all around the globe.

She was not quelled, not told that her clothes meant she could not boulder and explore, she was encouraged to climb around the world. I suspect she was stuffing chalk into her pockets as a small child.

Hameister and Shiraishi are all pushing the boundaries of what has ever been done, as a new generation of female outdoors athletes. Sarah is pushing the boundaries as part of a generation with decades of exploring left to go. We may not all be aiming to conquer Antarctica, but these women can certainly inspire everyone to push their own boundaries.

Luckily, the Elk Valley offers up a dizzying array of new sports and outdoor pursuits just waiting for us to conquer. We can literally choose peaks, put in the blood, sweat and tears and conquer mountains.

Climb the highest peaks, or the gentlest. Explore Mother Earth, she is called Mother Earth after all. We do not all have to push the limits of what is humanly possible, but we can set our sights high, push ourselves to go over there and do it. The next time you pull a sandwich out of your bag, remember that you can explore the whole world, and taste victory.