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 Haley Jardine.

female sitting on rocks at summit of mountain with lake behind her

Hi, Haley! Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you!

Hello! My name is Haley and I was born and raised in the PNW of Canada. The province of British Columbia is where I live and let me tell you, it is the ultimate adventure paradise!!

I studied Chinese Medicine and have been running my acupuncture practice for 8 years. As much as I love giving treatments and helping others, I take a huge amount of time off throughout the year to get my fix of travel, exploration, and outdoor adventure.

Whether it’s surfing or hiking, skiing, or stand-up paddle boarding, I feel happiest and strongest when I am outside connecting to nature while physically using my beautiful body.

I too feel my happiest and strongest when I’m outdoors! Tell us what inspired you to start getting outside.

When I was 14 years old my family of 5 took a year off to travel around North America. We camped for most of the trip and after spending every single day for 365 days outside I found it incredibly challenging to return to “normal” life.

My happiness and mental well-being very quickly plummeted and within a year I developed an autoimmune condition. Over the years I realized that the state of my health was directly linked to how much time I spent outdoors.

It didn’t always have to be extreme adventures, even lying in the grass reading, sitting in a creek playing with rocks, or watching the sunset from the beach was enough to regulate my nervous system.

Being outside is not just important to me, it is essential for managing my health; physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Yes! Time outdoors is essential to managing our health — I couldn’t agree more. What would you say is your favorite way to get outside?

This is such a tough question! I have so many favorites that it is hard to choose. Let’s go with surfing!

I learned in Hawai’i when I was 14. I remember being really scared of sharks because it was right around the time that Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark bite while surfing. Then, when I finished college I spent three months in Indonesia and the first thing I did was buy a surfboard.

I surfed my heart out and since then I have traveled down to Mexico over 14 times to surf. Other spots I enjoy include California, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

You can surf in Canada too but it does require a very thick wetsuit. Despite the cold water, surfing on Vancouver Island is something I have grown to love.

The freedom and peace of mind you experience while out on the water is exhilarating and I am always filled with a deep sense of fulfillment and respect for the ocean.

female paddleboarding

Ah, surfing is so fun and always an adventure! Can you describe your most memorable adventure to date?

During the summer, my partner and I spent two months driving across Canada, (17000 km or 10500 miles). We camped in our rooftop tent and spent our days outside doing all the things we love.

We hiked in the iconic Rocky Mountains, paddle-boarded the blue waters of the Great Lakes, and explored the dramatic fjords of Newfoundland.

We swam in icy cold alpine lakes, overnight hiked to white sand beaches, and walked along trails amongst old-growth trees. Every single day was an adventure and if I am being honest it was very hard to come home!

That truly sounds like the adventure of a lifetime! Speaking of adventures, tell us about your favorite trail that you’ve hiked.

Easily, the Crypt Lake Trail in Waterton National Park, Canada.

This trail was voted by National Geographic as one of the most thrilling hikes in the world. And I can 100% agree with this statement!

In order to get to the trailhead you need to take a boat across Upper Waterton Lake which is exciting even before you start hiking. The trail has 4 incredibly beautiful waterfalls, a steep ladder that takes you to a 60-foot-long tunnel, and finally a crystal clear alpine lake surrounded by towering mountain peaks.

female hiking up snowy mountain

Even the views along the trail are so epic that you can’t help but stop to take it all in. Hands down my favorite hike to date!

Immediately adding Crypt Lake Trail to my bucket list! What is an adventure (or hobby to learn) that is still on your bucket list?

I did some backcountry skiing when I was in university but since then I stopped and always wondered what winter opportunities it would have opened up for me if I had continued.

Re-learning it would help get me excited during the cold wet winter months as I usually struggle the most during that time of year. It may introduce me to a new community of friends/adventure buddies. It could help me face my fear of the cold and of avalanches.

There is no shortage of backcountry terrain here in British Columbia so I can’t help but feel drawn to it and the joy it could add to my life!

A few others that are on my bucket list: kite surfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, and rock climbing.

It’s never too late to start again — or start at all for that matter! What piece of advice would you give to women who are looking to break into the outdoor space?

Sometimes we get in our heads when it comes to outdoor activities: Will others be watching me? Judging me? Am I wearing the right gear? Do I look inexperienced?

I remember that I used to avoid skiing under the chairlift, biking on busy trails, or surfing on the same break as others. But the older I get the more I realize that no one really cares and even if people are judging you, it doesn’t matter.

Focus on doing what you love and enjoying yourself. What others think of your technique, speed or ability does not matter!

Heck yes! Something that we all need to hear! Alright Haley, tell the readers where they can connect with you further and continue to follow along with your adventures.

Absolutely, @wanderfullife on Instagram is the best place to follow along with my adventures as well as @the2freedomjunkies.

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