Why Don’t They Look Like Me? The Diversity Dilemma in Outdoor Media

Backpacking Granite Lake in Emigrant Wilderness by Blair Lockhart, the diversity dilemma in outdoor media
4th of July backpacking in Emigrant Wilderness. Photo by Blair Lockhart.

Sometime last year I was tossed on a list of women of color to follow on Instagram. This struck me as odd. Mostly because I don’t particularly identify with being Asian. I’m not Paulina the Asian outdoor blogger. I’m just Paulina, this person who also happens to be yellow. I grew up in the Bay Area, the suburbs of Cupertino to be more precise. I’m fortunate enough to live and play in a place where almost everyone goes outside, regardless of gender, background or skin color. Being a person of color wasn’t really a thing I was aware of. Diversity wasn’t a thing I thought about. It just was. Until recently.

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Mendocino Camping Skunk Train Camp Noyo

Train Camping on the Noyo

Mendocino Camping Camp Noyo Skunk Train

As the sun sets on summer I’m finally getting around to talking about the trips I’ve been on. This past summer has been a bit of a lazy one. I planned on climbing something every weekend, but I can count the number of alpine starts I got on 2 fingers. Instead, I filled my schedule with backpacking and train camping.

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Backcountry Backpacking Meals Adventure Dining Guide

Backcountry Gourmet with Adventure Dining Guide

Backcountry Backpacking Meals Adventure Dining Guide

Every summer Alpenglow Sports hosts an annual, free Mountain Festival, filled with adventure and fun for people of all ages and skill levels. When I saw backpacking and backcountry gourmet on the menu, I was sold. If there’s anything I love almost as much as being outside, it’s food. And cats, but that’s a different story. Alpenglow Sports partnered with Michelle from Adventure Dining Guide to lead a women’s trip out into the wilderness. The destination was originally Desolation Wilderness, but with the ridiculous snow year, plans changed to Watson Lake. It was a little closer and suited for women of all skill levels. Coming straight from sea level, I was a little grateful for the venue change and for being spared many miles of huffing at the back of the group like a fool.

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Backpacking Fourth of July Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness, June 2017

Backpacking Fourth of July Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness

Backpacking Fourth of July Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness, June 2017

This winter was a Sierra snow year for the books. I’ve lived in California all my life but don’t remember a winter where it rained for three months straight. All the snow meant my Sierra objectives were looking a little bleak and buried. I brushed up on my map and compass skills with REI and hit the trail in Mokelumne Wilderness at the beginning of June. My destination was a place I’ve never been: Fourth of July Lake in the Carson Pass Management Area.

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Frontcountry Vietnamese Spring Roll Camp Recipe

Frontcountry Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Frontcountry Vietnamese Spring Roll Camp Recipe

Camp food is, unfortunately, not high on my list of things to do well. It’s a little weird because I love eating and I love good food. My go-to dishes are usually pasta, stir fries, or if it’s been a long day, salami and cream cheese. Lately, I’ve been exploring different ideas for camping food, because why should I eat the same ol’ things when I’m out in the wilderness? I started racking my brain for some of my favorite home-cooked dishes that I could modify for camping. Spring rolls were the first thing to come mind.

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