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 Kat Badry.
Hi, Kat! Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Kat! I grew up in a small town located in Central British Columbia, Canada. I’m a Canadian girl all around. I can’t wait for that first snowfall every year, cozy days in front of the fire with a cup of hot cocoa, crisp mountain mornings, and that feeling when you slip into your warm sleeping bag after a big hike.
Growing up in BC, I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to stay. I spent some time in Northern Alberta for a while until I decided to move to Calgary, AB in 2020. I remember thinking I always wanted to live in a place where I could see the mountains from my bedroom window. Calgary is the perfect place for me.
I’m a proud dog mom of a 3-year-old corgi, Lily. She’s such a light in my life and I never head to the mountains without her by my side. We’ve spent some unforgettable nights under the stars together and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If I’m not home, I’m most likely at the climbing gym. Climbing has become my main focus this year. The challenge blended with the feeling of gratification is intoxicating. On weekends, you’ll find me hiking rain or shine and exploring some trails in my own backyard.
I currently reside in downtown Calgary where I get to spend my days walking around the busy city but also have a quick escape to the mountains in as little as 45 minutes. Thanks to being on the 25th floor of an apartment building I can now say that I finally have that mountain view from my bedroom I always wanted. Now, I never have to fully miss them.
Ah, I’ve been to Calgary and loved it! So much access to the outdoors. Tell us what inspired you to start getting outside.
While I grew up on acreage, I never seemed to spend time outside doing what I really wanted to do. I would meet up with my best friend and ride my bike to school but that was about it. In my early twenties, I purchased land and found myself outside constantly working.
I never went outdoors to simply enjoy being outside. I knew working wasn’t how I wanted to spend all of my time with Mother Nature.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, I got severe cabin fever (as we all did I’m sure). I fell into depression and had no desire to wake up and begin my day. Being depressed and not being able to distract my brain with random activities felt like torture.
I knew I had to make some changes but felt like I was so far down in the dark that I couldn’t find the light.
My partner and I decided we were going to begin exploring the mountains to heal our hearts.
This decision to begin hiking changed my life. I remember one of our biggest hikes was in Kananaskis Country. It was after work in May so we had daylight until around 9:00 pm. We drove out to the mountains and began our ascent up to the 2,864 ft peak.
I remember feeling really good that day. I was full of energy and anxious to see what this hike had in store for us. This climb was challenging. We had lots of scree to cover to reach the peak. We were both sweaty, and dehydrated but still smiling.
If you’ve ever summited a mountain, you know how unpredictable the summit can be. The wind was howling, it was 10 degrees colder than when we started, our lips were chapped, and all I could think about was pizza and hot dogs.
However, as always, all of the discomforts disappeared the moment we crested the peak. This is a moment I’ll never forget – everything was silent.
There was no wind, the air was warm, and we could see every single peak surrounding us. I felt like I could hear everything and nothing all at once. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life, and one of the most important moments I’ve ever experienced.
I knew from that moment on that I was hooked and mountains would always be a part of my healing process.
The mountains became a part of your healing process, how beautifully put. What would you say is your favorite way to get outside?
Ah, what a difficult question — there are so many ways I adore getting outside! I began climbing indoors in March 2022, but this summer I began rock climbing outdoors.
It has quickly become my favorite way to get outside. There is something so unique about climbing that I find you don’t get with other activities.
As adults, I feel that we never get the opportunity to shut off our brains. We are always looking into the future and find it nearly impossible to stay present. There is always something on our minds or something we feel we need to be doing.
This is the true reason why I love climbing. It is the only thing that completely relaxes me and gives me the opportunity to shut my brain off from all stressors, such as the bills to pay, responsibilities at work, or when am I going to find time to grab groceries.
When it comes to climbing, there is only room to think about climbing. When you’re hanging on a rock face at 90 ft, there’s no time to think about your phone. There’s no room for error.
The best part is that your brain automatically does it once you begin climbing. It knows you’re in a dangerous space and it needs to be at full attention.
I always feel very relaxed after a climbing session. It’s like for the first time all day I was able to actually be calm and truly focus.
I haven’t been climbing for long but I find that the best way to learn is to be patient with your body and be consistent. Climbing requires multiple varieties of techniques that need to be learned over time. I found that once you get comfortable with a certain level of difficulty and can climb that level consistently, it’s time to move to the next level.
Climbing can create frustration but remember that you’ll only improve if you stay consistent and positive.
Hiking, paddle boarding, and running are some of my other favorite ways to get outside and get some much-needed Vitamin D. As I stated above – I found this question one of the harder ones. There are just so many amazing ways to explore the outdoors!
I think all of our readers agree that there are so many epic ways to get out on an adventure! Can you describe your most memorable adventure to date?
My most memorable adventure is still my very first backpacking trip on the Skoki Loop Trail in Alberta, Canada. Those 25 miles mean more to me than any other mountain experience — which is ironic because it was also the most painful three days of my life.
My partner, my corgi, and I spent the weekend exploring the Skoki Loop Trail in July 2021. I remember being on this hike and spending every waking second fighting against mosquitoes until we climbed into the sweet release of our tent.
My feet were swollen from walking, and the heat was uncomfortable and damp, but we were trying to make the best out of it.
What, at the time, seemed like three unbearable days, turned into some of the most beautiful memories of my life.
I remember leaving the final campsite, infested with mosquitoes, and hiking up the final pass. The views were unreal. I never imagined that in my life I would get to see Mother Nature in such a magnificent state.
She was showing off with shimmering lakes, more mountain peaks than you could count, and trails that looked straight out of a painting. We stopped by the lake and made lunch. While we ate, the sun was shining and the wind a slight tickle. We sat and watched Lily calmly walk around sniffing all the things.
That’s the thing about backpacking – it really reminds you of what’s truly important in life.
This moment taught me that situations can change in an instant. What started as one of the most difficult few days I’d ever experienced, turned into magical memories that I’ll carry with me forever.
I’ll never forget what I learned on that Skoki Loop. It’s amazing how a place can just be a place until you associate your own memories with it.
Backpacking absolutely reminds us of what’s truly important. Can you tell us about your favorite trail that you’ve hiked?
Okay, never mind this is the most difficult question. To pick only one trail as my favorite seems like an impossible task but I’m going to have to choose Floe Lake located in Kootenay National Park in British Columbia, Canada.
This is one of the most rewarding hikes I’ve ever done. You begin your hike through a burnt forest, which always reminds me of the strength of Mother Nature but also how fragile she can be.
You hike along a ridge through a canyon with towering mountains on each side until you reach the final destination. At the end of the trail is a towering, sharp range of mountains perfectly framing an icy cold azure lake.
Make sure if you complete this hike that you snag one of the camping spots. It will be one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever sipped your morning coffee – trust me.
I am absolutely adding that trail to my bucket list! Tell us, what is an adventure (or hobby you’d like to learn) that is still on your bucket list?
I have always had the desire to become a Yoga Teacher and study in a place like South America or Indonesia.
I am so intrigued by the practice of yoga and meditation. The fact that we can utilize a technique to create mindfulness and focus is astounding in such a busy, anxiety-driven society. To master a stable state and then have the ability to share that knowledge with others would be such a fulfilling experience.
I’ve also always wanted to live in another country temporarily to experience living somewhere different. I think New Zealand would be at the top of my list if I could choose to live anywhere for a year.
I don’t think I could leave Canada forever, but how do I truly know if I never try? I have spent time traveling all over Europe, the Caribbean, and Mexico. As well as taken road trips through the continental United States and visited Hawai’i.
But still having explored all of these places, I think living somewhere gives you a different understanding of the culture that you could never experience on vacation.
Thank you so much Kat for sharing your love for the outdoors! What piece of advice would you give to women who are also looking to step into the outdoor space?
My biggest piece of advice is to remember that you do not need to prove your worth to Mother Nature.
You are worthy of being in the outdoors just as much as the next person.
I remember when I first started exploring the mountains I was so self-conscious about everything that I was doing. I would even change my hiking clothes because I was worried I’d look too inexperienced.
I want all women to know that if you enjoy being outdoors, all you need to do is just keep doing what you’re doing.
If you want to begin an outdoor activity – join a group! You’ll be guaranteed to meet like-minded people that want to focus on a hobby just like you do.
Don’t worry about being the new girl, every single person you see outside at some point also took their first hike, their first climb, or their first mountain bike ride.
If you’re really nervous, do some research. There are so many informative and amazing blogs out there that can help you with any questions you have.
Don’t let the lack of confidence hold you back from doing something you love. You owe it to yourself to fulfill your dreams.
Keep exploring, girl.
Words to live by — Keep exploring! Alright Kat, tell the readers where they can connect with you further and continue to follow along with your adventures.
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