Welcome to the Women Outdoors Spotlight Series: a space for women to share their stories, articulate what the outdoors means to them, and encourage other women to say yes to adventure.
This week’s series features Aimee Stout.
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Hi Aimee! I’m so happy you’re here! Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you!
Hi, my name’s Aimee! I grew up in Minnesota but moved down to Arizona when I was 23 by myself and have never looked back.
I didn’t know a single person when I moved to Arizona, but I found a job and an apartment, and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.
I was always a bit of an outdoor person but when I moved to Arizona that love accelerated quickly. There is so much beauty to be explored here! For fun, I love to go hiking, camping, paddle boarding, and anything to just enjoy the sunshine. I love bringing my dog on adventures too.
I have been a personal trainer for several years and just transitioned my services to being all online. I love encouraging my clients to get outside more as well.
It sounds like Arizona is just what you needed! Tell us what inspired you to start getting outside.
Growing up in Minnesota, I was always outside in the summer. We were those kids that were outside all day and would come home when the street lights turned on. I always had a love for being outside.
I can’t remember a specific moment that jumpstarted my love for adventure, but it was sometime shortly after I moved to Arizona.
Something clicked in my head that said, “this is when you are the happiest.”
Getting outside is so important for my body and mind. It’s like a therapy session for me, and also a good workout. I highly recommend everyone to get outside more in any way that they can, even if it’s just going for a walk around the neighborhood.
The benefits of being outdoors are never-ending.
I can definitely relate to being my happiest when I am on an adventure. Speaking of adventures, what is your favorite way to get outside?
My favorite way to get outside is to hike.
Something about the sun on my skin, the fresh air, and moving my body — it wipes away all of the anxieties of every day life.
While hiking, I get to clear my head. I’m only focused on one foot in front of the other. It teaches me to slow down, which is something I need.
I am a bit of a go-getter, always ahead of the game, but I have found that there is value in slowing down. Hiking improves my mental health, and also improves my physical health. I started hiking in 2018 when I moved to Arizona.
I made some friends, put my Nikes on, grabbed a water bottle, and started with some easy hikes. Down the road, I learned the value of good hiking shoes and gear, as well as learned what to bring and some tips and tricks, but that all came with time.
I love that you shed light on the fact that you learned as you got outside more! Can you describe your most memorable outdoor adventure to date?
Hands down, Havasupai Falls is my most memorable adventure to date.
It was my first time backpacking. I wasn’t used to carrying a huge pack with all of my gear and food. I scored permits with my then-boyfriend (now husband) in March of 2019. He is my favorite adventure buddy so naturally, we had a great time.
We were so proud of ourselves for hiking and carrying our gear, trash, food, and water the whole way, as we saw a lot of people using donkeys or helicopters to get there. We even opted to hike an extra 6 miles to Beaver Falls and then hike the 12 miles back up the Grand Canyon. We ended up hiking the last two uphill miles in the pitch-black.
What an experience to say the least! Those kinds of adventures really make you feel vulnerable.
Another thing I love about hiking is getting to experience places that most people never get to see.
Many people would not choose to hike down into the Grand Canyon to see a waterfall, and many are not physically capable of doing so. That realization just makes the experience of witnessing it that much more special.
It is such a privilege to be able to move our bodies and experience new places — Tell us about your all-time favorite trail.
My favorite trail I’ve ever hiked is not a well-known one (maybe that’s why it was so great).
The trail is called Ka’ena Point and it’s located on the northwest point of O’ahu. Imagine walking with gorgeous green Hawaiian mountains to your left and the beautiful ocean crashing onto the shore on your right.
It was a relaxing hike, not hard or long in length. But it was filled with so much beauty and so much wildlife. I felt like I was in heaven with that scenery.
Ah, yes! Cole and I used to love walking to Ka’ena Point when we lived on O’ahu. What is an adventure that is still on your bucket list?
When my husband and I go camping we use a rooftop tent setup — I always thought it would be cool to try and live out of our truck. Even if just for a couple of months.
I think it would test us in many ways, but I also think it would be so much fun. I would to take it on a long road trip along the west coast of the US (Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Utah).
I think something about being on the road, not having an agenda, and just feeling truly free is the appealing part to me.
Life on the road definitely has a sweet tinge of freedom — and it’s never too late to make it happen! What piece of advice would you give to women who are looking to break into the outdoor space?
My advice would be to stop thinking you need special gear to be outside.
Start with what you have and start with a small adventure that you know you can manage. Maybe start with a 1-mile hike, and progressively add to the distance as you feel comfortable.
This applies to anything in life that you want to do. Always start small and increase from there and you will achieve whatever you put your mind to.
Absolutely — meet yourself where you are at and, most importantly, just get out there! Alright, Aimee, tell the readers where they can connect with you further and continue to follow along with your adventures.
You can connect with me on Instagram at @aims_ventures! I love meeting new people who share my love for the outdoors or for fitness. Let’s be friends!