It's hard to believe that it's been 21 years since I took that first group of women on a backpacking trip in the Tahoe Sierra. On that first night of that first trip on Labor Day weekend 1978, moments after we'd crawled into our sleeping bags, there was an earthquake. Amazingly, no one was even fazed by it-in fact, everyone loved it! "This," I thought, "is a good omen."
Back then, women in the wilderness were pioneers; a sighting of them backpacking together, a rarity. It's a joke and a cliché today, but "Are you girls alone?" was a question put to us frequently over the years--most memorably by a man on the summit of Mt. Whitney in 1984. Eight of us set him straight. What memories!
In two decades, Call of the Wild has grown and changed with the times, as have the wild women who enjoy our trips. We've explored new places-from the Grand Canyon to the Alaskan tundra-and challenged one another. Indeed, I'm grateful for all those times you'd say, "Seriously now, you should write a cookbook." Such encouragement prompted me to write Wilderness Cuisine, now in it's fourth printing.
Since those early trips in the seventies, many of
you have returned on Call of the Wild trips year after year. We're of many different ages and from many walks of life, but gathered around the campfire, we talk about our lives, share revelations, and grow together in a special community.
It has been gratifying for me to know the kind of women who love getting out there in the wild. You're
a breed apart. You're the kind of woman who wants
to try something she's never done before, who will set herself a goal like climbing a mountain and really
go for it. I've seen you offer kindness and support
of others on trips when the going gets tough, even
as you've shared your high spirits of fun and camaraderie which I think is the hallmark of
Call of the Wild trips. For all of that, and for your unquenchable adventurous spirit, I thank you.
It's been twenty-one wonderful years and I look forward to many more in the company of wild women!