OK, so being a mountain girl seems easy. Head into the Rockies. Explore the trails. Be fearless. But if you can do learn the 6 skills below, you'll know you are a true mountain maven!
1. Tie a figure 8 knot
An essential to mountain climbers everywhere, the figure 8 knot is a must-know for anyone exploring the sides of mountains. Learn this trick to ensure your safety and that of your climbing team. Here's a video to help you get there:
2. ID the danger signs for ripe avalanche conditions
Sorry, but there's no shortcut here. Luckily, local ski guides, seminars and outfitters offer avalanche classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced backcountry explorers.
3. Build a backcountry fire
It's not only important to know the basics of building and lighting a fire, but also how to do it responsibly. Educate yourself on fire dangers, national park and national forest fire regulations, and the proper way to be sure a fire is extinguished. Only then are you ready to ignite your own ring of fire. Also recommended? A campsite.
4. Know your craft beer varieties
This is Colorado, after all. In this state, you can't call yourself a mountain girl without knowing a least a bit about the different types of craft beer, basic ingredient variations and, of course, which ones are your favorite. There are an incredible variety, so start with the basics of Stouts, Ales, IPAs, Wheats, Lagers, Ambers and Reds. Pop into an Estes Park brewery or tap room for a flight to get you on your way.
5. Pack a backpack
Now, you started learning this in grade-school and then advanced to weekend getaway bags before graduating to the business-travel suitcase. The backpack is similar, but now your packing is essential to your survival (kind of like comfortable flats in that conference suitcase). Learn the essentials list, pick the right pack, decide whether to roll or fold, and don't forget the first-aid kit. Local outfitters are happy to help identify the key ingredients - they will even sell or rent you a pack.
6. Tune your own bike
While this is not a difficult skill, it is a bit intimidating for many of us. There are a variety of blog posts, videos and otherwise helpful tips to be found online. Essentially, you are inspecting all the working parts (chain, wheels, rims, brakes, cables, drivetrain) to be sure that everything is tight where it should be, moving smoothly where it should be and not doing anything it shouldn't: rattle, skew, wobble, etc. If you find things that are off, simply tighten, lube or replace where necessary. (You can leave the replacing stuff to the pros, if you want.) Then you should be ready to hit the road or the trail.
Now that you know the 6 essentials you can get on them and then head to the hills - your adventures are waiting!