You’ve been wondering what happened on the Grand Canyon trail that made it so hard to talk about.

Now, after sitting with the story for more than a week, I’m ready to talk about it. Here’s what went wrong, what I wish I had done differently beforehand and how we can all avoid being part of what causes this kind of problem in the future.

Spoiler alert: honesty is the best policy — with yourself and with others.

Hear the whole story — or at least my side of it. Listen now.


[:35] I wish this story was about something different

[1:50] Here’s what you need to know about the canyon hike

[3:10] Here’s what training is for

[4:21] How our hike was set-up — and what I should’ve known in advance

[7:35] Here’s where things started getting very dangerous

[9:26] Finished at last

[9:40] The aftermath

[10:38] Two important lessons here

What happens when you mix a real, no kidding fear of going outside, a comedian, sharp wit and a no holds barred look at what’s really going on with outdoor recreation gate-keeping? You get an honest, hilarious and confronting look at what heading outside means in America — and how you can change that.

That’s the theme of Ivy Le’s narrative Spotify podcast FOGO, or Fear of Going Outside. Unlike basically every other guest I’ve ever had on Humans Outside, Ivy is definitely not outdoor-minded. But after trying outdoor stuff including camping and hunting, she’s got some takeaways to share that we all need to hear.

Maybe the AI tool I use to help me with show notes says it best (or at least funniest). According to that tool, in this episode you’ll hear about:

  • The anecdote for attracting attention in a state park.
  • Challenging traditional ideas of camping and encouraging exploration for people of color.
  • Ivy’s difficulty finding a nature store and going to REI instead.
  • Acceptance of rats in New York City as sentient neighbors.

(OK, this AI tool is fired — but you’re intrigued, aren’t you?)

Want to know what those takeaways have to do with anything? Listen now!

[2:32] Wherein we bond over plumbing
[3:48] Ivy’s favorite outdoor space
[5:17] Making a show about going outside when you hate going outside
[8:19] Did she find anything outside she actually likes?
[10:30] When REI is something happens to you
[13:30] The stuff she had to overcome to get out there
[23:08] What has to happen to making getting outside less hard
[27:08] Yes, she really tried hunting. Here’s what happened.
[35:43] What’s really going on in the outdoor industry
[42:19] Ivy’s favorite outdoor moment, and she does actually have one.

The changing leaves and crisper air has me a little moody as I feel the last wisps of sunny weather and sunshine moving out of my grasp. I can be sad — and believe me, I am.

But what happens if, instead, I’m excited? And how can a simple change in terminology change my perspective?

Consider this: instead of looking at the changes as a “termination” of what you love, look at them as a “anticipation” of what’s to come.

Here’s how that’s changing my mood. Listen now!

[:35] It’s that time again whether you like it or not

[:50] Here are some of the symptoms

[1:19] A little terminology

[1:39] Followed by a shift in perspective

[2:36] Here are just some of the things I like

[3:26] No, I actually am excited

People like to say nature is for everyone, but do we really act like it is?

From a lack of bigger bodies in outdoor marketing, to other-ing attitudes from both rangers and fellow outdoor users, the problems are real.

Never experienced these challenges or don’t know they exist? That might be because you’re not someone at whom they are targeted.

Creating welcoming spaces outside is everyone’s work, and it starts with acknowledging the problem by listening to the personal experiences of those who have faced these issues. How do they handle them? How can we make spaces that are open — not in words, but in action — for everyone?

Brandi Small lays it all out in this episode based on her own experience on the trail and in the campgrounds.

Don’t miss this chance to make a difference. Listen now.

[3:49] Brandi Small’s favorite outdoor space

[4:22] How Brandi became someone who likes to go outside

[7:58] Visiting all of California’s National Parks

[8:41] Brandi’s first love

[14:34] Don’t miss out on this super awesome Ski Babes discount

[16:31] Diving into representation outside

[18:00] Have things gotten worse?

[20:36] This has never happened to me and it’s not a shock

[23:00] How much of this is race and how much of this is body size?

[24:08] I am absolutely astonished

[30:56] What is the work to address these issues?

[35:00] Brandi’s favorite outdoor moment

Have you ever noticed certain seasons smell more strongly than others? I’ve been working to lean into my five senses — hearing, smell, taste, sight, touch — during my daily outdoor time, inspired by a recent conversation with Gretchen Rubin, author of “Life in Five Senses.” Taking time for a little extra intentionality has enriched my outdoor time, and left me noticing something special about my sense of smell and this time of year.

Listen now!

[:35] The problem with seasons around here

[1:17] Here’s autumn

[1:35] Fall has this smell

[1:55] Here are some examples

[2:20] How leaning into noticing helped and is helping