The ladies on the first-ever AMI Expedition arrived from across the country to accomplish something transformative and powerful. They each brought their unique backgrounds, personalities, family situations, and experiences to the table. These 9 women began the trip as strangers and the wilderness quickly shaped their relationship into something profound and lasting. They even got matching cairn tattoos afterwards to perpetuate the memory for life so it must have been good.
Together, they woke at first light; shared mugs of steaming coffee; offered words of encouragement to one another; studied topo maps; talked about their families, their careers, their pasts, and their dreams; laughed and sometimes cried around the campfire; set up tents and cozied up into sleeping bags beside each other.
Together, they trekked up steep mountain passes, across alpine meadows, and through icy rivers.
Together, they overcame obstacles, built each other up, and found a deep and lasting sense of strength.
Their accomplishments, while deeply personal, had bigger implications for women everywhere, even those who hadn’t traveled alongside them. It was confirmation that mothers are adventurous, strong, passionate, and driven. The women on the AMI Expedition team are role models, not just to the AMI community, but to those who matter most: their children.
The women on this expedition demonstrated a passion for social change and truly are part of a revolution. They’re real-life superheroes who are redefining motherhood
On foot, you have a unique opportunity to fully witness the beauty that surrounds you, from the delicate yet resilient wildflowers to the panoramic vistas atop each mountain pass. We trekked over 40 miles of the Weminuche Wilderness and with each turn and climb on the trail, we were bombarded with mind-blowing beauty.
"Vulnerability and badassery are compatible, maybe inseparable...Taking care of my boys means teaching them what a woman is really like: I am a woman who follows my passions, does hard things, makes myself stronger every day, and-toughest of all-seeks help when I need it. But I had lost sight of those things...My divorce was final just two months before the AMI Expedition. I was in a mental place where I sought peace, balance, and a version of myself I could love and respect, regardless of others' opinions. In the training, bonding with other badass mom-babes, hiking & more hiking, outrunning storms & tossing my need for oxygen aside, I found exactly what I need...I returned to my love of mountaineering, my outdoor addiction, and fell in love with like-minded women and building meaningful relationships."
"Motherhood is awesome and tough, challenging how I see my 'freedom' compared to pre-mom times. Becoming a part of the AMI expedition team gave me a needed goal that inspired me to focus on fitness again. It surrounded me with like-minded, incredible women who not only related, but became close friends. It reminded me that I'm not only a great mom, but a great woman who still has the skills, sense of adventure, and capability to go big. I came back inspired for myself, my family, my writing, my future...and that's exciting."
Strength has NOTHING to do with your shape or your size. These women's bodies are all unique and they each bear the markings of their journey through motherhood differently. Nonetheless, all nine of these bodies hauled a backpack up and down mountains, across streams, through meadows, and more. All nine of these bodies accomplished something profoundly challenging. And all nine of these bodies should be celebrated.
"I remember the day I realized that I wasn't a person who 'used to do cool shit' and was actually a person that still does cool shit. I was talking with some girlfriends about how often we long to be past versions of ourselves when it hit me. Yes, I was a strong, fit, adventurous person ten years ago. But I am still a strong, fit, adventurous person. It just looks different now. Once I let go of the idea that I could somehow go back in time, my life started to get fun again! I started embracing my body as a vessel, rather than an ornament. My mindset shifted from one of scarcity and fear to one of joy and abundance. This life of full-time adventuring is not a bucket list. It's a state of mind. Sometimes I hike 50 miles with strangers. Sometimes I let my toddler balance on my knees without holding on. Sometimes I wander the wild expanse of Target. But I can accomplish whatever I make time and space for and I choose today's me to get me there."
We each had the pleasure of suffering on part of the trip. For some that looked like quiet cursing under the breath: "damnit, a false summit..." For others it might have been a loudly exclaimed: "FUUUCK!" Or maybe it was an internal battle that no one else heard. The most memorable moment of struggle paired with pure determination was when Amanda Mathews declared to the mountains, "Fuck You Mother Nature, I'm a Mother too!!"
After the work of the day was done, we'd become the most comfortable and honest versions of ourselves. As we told stories around the campfire, our laughter echoed off the peaks around us and down the valley. In these moments we were free from so much that holds us back in our daily lives. And women with freedom = the performing of stupid human tricks, raunchy jokes, creative hair braiding, and couples yoga. This was our time and space to throw our pride, caution, and bras into the wind (literally).
"I love AMI because it is an amazing tribe of women who are dedicated to improving and maintaining a mother's health through self care and badass adventure. They are all about inclusion and diversity. We opened up about our struggles and celebrated our epic triumphs. It is a safe and supportive space for all mothers of all ages. Adventure Mamas has helped me push past barriers that were keeping me from maximizing my potential as a mom and adventurer."
"For years, I've looked longingly at pictures online of these power-women squads getting rad in the outdoors together, seemingly having the time of their lives. Yet, it was my impression that I could never have the hardcore girl posse, now that I'm waist-deep in motherhood in my 30's...I didn't have the time to acquire and cultivate these kinds of "hardcore wilderness-babe" relationships. Friendships in this life stage are forged by commonalities through our kids' lives, proximity & convenience, sometimes revolving literally around our kids as the common thread. And that also works wonderfully, as I have meaningful friendships that I truly need to survive daily life. But AMI was the key to finding what I had craved. Simply put, you can't underestimate the power of joining women by their passions, and setting them loose in the backcountry. Any differences we had in our lives before joining on the trail didn't matter because we were linked solely by our passion for mountains and pushing our physical limits, in turn taking pleasure in every minute of it! What I could never have possibly known is just how fast and furious the friendships would take hold, especially when your kids aren't there to compete for your attention. We were fireside story-tellers & comedians by night and powerhouse trekkers with grit by day, never in competition with each other and always remarkably thoughtful of others. I instantly fell in love with this diverse sisterhood of smart, tough & passionate women. Is it desirable? Yes. Can anyone have the same thing? Absolutely. I will be more inspired to seek out these types of friend-circles in my future. We're out there and we have AMI to connect us more easily."
"What the fuck did I get myself into?" It crosses most everyone's mind at some point or another. To work towards, even struggle towards, a big and challenging goal alongside others requires more vulnerability than you'd imagine. In the backcountry, you're forced to confront and overcome your perceived limitations, insecurities, and insufficiencies.
"When I was young there weren't the outdoor opportunities that there are today. I was raised in a family where the men went outdoors and the women did the cooking and cleaning. And so because I was raising a family, I didn't get into the outdoor scene until my late 30s. I personally understand that it can be scary and intimidating to get started in the outdoors at an older age but I feel like there is a lost demographic of women out there whose kids are growing up and moving on to their own lives and they're left feeling like they have nothing. I don't advocate for having a separate 'older' group; I think there is something both younger and older women can learn by being together and supporting each other."
"My daughter is a few months shy of 2 and she absolutely mimics what I do. I want to help her cultivate a passion for the outdoors, I want her to be able to cut through the crap/noise/media/marketing/peer pressure to make decisions she feels align with her values, I want her to be resilient and empathetic and compassionate, I want her to know how to care for herself, and I want her laugh and acknowledge all her emotions through life's many adventures especially the shitty ones. I need to teach her these things through how I live my life."
Mother Nature has a way of making us feel all the feels. That's why relationships forged in the backcountry are especially profound. You learn to give one another sincere permission to be fully human: to struggle, to cry, to exuberate, to be present, to be honest... It's a beautiful thing.
Join AMI for a week next February in Ouray, CO for Expedition 2: Winter Skills + Intro to Mountaineering. It's going to be a suffer-fest in all the best ways: cold-weather camping, technical snow travel, winter peak bagging, and ice climbing... not to mention backcountry huts and hot springs, YAS!
Basic backcountry skills are the only requirement, we'll help you prepare in the 12 weeks leading up to the trip. Plus, it's designed to be a learning experience. If you've been looking to take your backcountry endeavors to the next level, this is the perfect opportunity!
Only 10 spots, registration opens in a week. #STOKED