I’m not concerned with looking good when I’m climbing a mountain. I’m not one of those women who climb showing off their sports bra. You won’t catch me wearing spandex, or short shorts, or even make-up for that matter. When I’m on a mountain, I’m there to work. Dirty, sweaty, work.
I wear what’s comfortable. I’ve learned to keep my knees covered. There’s no comb, mirror, or beauty product in my pack, except for chapstick and sunscreen. I’ve watched as some other women approach each other on a path. There’s a moment of wariness, a posturing as they size each other up, determine who’s wearing make-up, who’s sweating less, whose hair is under control – I don’t have the time or patience for any of that.
I’m not there to impress anyone. I’m not there for show. I don’t consider what I’m going to look like in the obligatory picture at the top when I get dressed that morning. I’m simply there to do what I’m there to do. And it’s freeing. It’s liberating to be rid of the constraints, the expectations, the concerns on which general society places so much importance.
I am who I am. I’m happy with that. It’s enough for me. I’m strong, I’m independent, and I don’t feel the need to always look my best. I notice the strange looks I get when I go, disheveled and grimy, into a gas station for a drink after a hike. I wear the dirt streaked with sweat on my face proudly. It’s a badge of honor.
I’m Queen of the Mountain.