While growing up in Minnesota, the only lakes, rivers, and hiking trails I experienced were through the Discovery Channel. Even with an abundance of natural resources in the state, none of it seemed accessible to me.
No one in my social circle was “outdoorsy.” Fishing, hiking, hunting, and kayaking were all foreign to me. That may be because my family and I moved to the Land of 10,000 Lakes from South Korea. I was three. My parents took English lessons, got jobs, I went to school, and we tried to blend into a world that didn’t quite feel like home. Canoeing, camping, and visiting state parks were the last things on our minds.
As a teenager, I was interested in what most suburban girls found appealing, like homecoming, fashion trends, shopping, and celebrity gossip. I’m sure I would’ve been all about Snapchat and Instagram had it existed. My friends were much like me and the only outdoor fun we had was laying on beach towels at St. Croix Bluffs Beach.
Fast forward to my first job out of college. I joined a news team in Eau Claire, WI as a TV reporter. I reported on politics, city council issues, crime, crashes, you name it. But many of my stories were also about “the great outdoors.” I remember trudging through the woods with my camera and blaze orange, following hunters who were making their way to a treestand. Then there was the time I decided to drive the news car onto a frozen lake. With camera, tripod, and microphone in hand, I began knocking on random fish houses to interview people about how the fishing season was going. It was a new experience and my first taste of outdoor adventure, vicariously.
Skip a few more years and I met my husband, Nick. He loves fishing, camping, hunting, and the outdoors. Naturally, I gravitated towards his interests. Within the first winter of dating, I was setting up tip-ups and pulling out walleye from Lake Eau Claire. A 26 inch walleye was apparently not too common in that lake. I found a new hobby and I wasn’t too bad at it!
Since then, I’ve pulled up dozens of walleyes, bluegills, crappies, and even salmon from the ice. I successfully trolled for monster lake trouts, spent days canoeing through the Boundary Waters, captured the northern lights on camera while camping under the stars, chopped my own firewood, and hunted in a treestand for hours in the rain and cold in hopes of getting my first deer with a bow (this is my first year!). I even took one of my best friends out ice fishing for a girls fishing trip. We drilled the holes, setup our fish house and tip-ups, and fished over good conversations, beer, wine, and cheese. I have more hobbies than time allows and I love it.
For me, the key to outdoor adventure was through others. Supportive friends, family, and local resources like the DNR or city and county Parks and Recreation Departments helped educate me and begin my journey outdoors. It’s also taking a chance at something new and different. Just because I didn’t grow up with it doesn’t mean I can’t be an angler, hunter, or avid camper. Adult onset outdoorsing is a real thing. I’m still the same fashion and beauty-conscious girl, but I can also “rough it” and go on adventures. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
That being said, if you as a grown woman are interested in becoming more one with the outdoors and trying something new, do it! Please message me and I’d be happy to offer any insight or encouragement! Hopefully it is just the push you need.
In an effort to inspire others, especially women, to see and experience the great outdoors and step outside their comfort zone, I created this blog – Girl of 10,000 Lakes. It’s a social platform to share my adventures and take curious people to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and other whimsical places. You can follow along on my blog, Instagram: @girlof10000lakes, Facebook: facebook.com/girlof10000lakes, and Twitter: @girlof10klakes. I’m always looking for blog post suggestions so feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.