Today we tell the story of Shelly Liby, a Dirty Girl member since 2014! Shelly was always into participating in outdoor obstacle courses before she heard of Dirty Girl Adventures through a friend. However, like most, she wanted to take it to the next level.
“I always had my eye out for what I like to call ‘good madness’, and an 8-mile hike sounded interesting. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Shelly was always spending time outdoors as a child, but as it happens for most, once junior high came around, she found herself spending less and less time outdoors. Her family camped regularly, however, she didn’t find true love for the outdoors until she became a Dirty Girl.
In addition to finding true love for the outdoors, joining the club has given Shelly a deeper connection to the planet.
“You really can’t ignore the planet when you’re outside a lot. When I hike or kayak, I see a lot of trash in the creeks and coves. I’m more attentive to how I can make the world a better place.”
Since becoming a Dirty Girl, Shelly has changed the way she shops so that she uses less plastic. She also quit taking home snail shells when she finds them on the trail.
Shelly started taking steps toward making the world a better place because of DGA, but DGA also made her world a better place.
“I’ve met some amazing ladies and gone to places I didn’t know I wanted to go! I’ve learned from Denise and Jen to roll with what comes your way. It’s snowing? Hike anyway!,” she says.
It was hard for Shelly to pick her favorite DGA memory, but a few of her favorites were hiking in the rain at Indian Cave State Park, the adventure course at White Memorial Camp and hiking Pikes Peak.
“Downtime with the Dirty Girls is just as dear to me as getting dirty. I always go home with a smile on my face and usually a new place in mind I want to adventure to.”
The adventure bucket list for Dirty Girls is never ending! Shelly is itching to backpack the Lost Coast trail in Northern California. If you are interested in adding this trail to your bucket list too, check out this link.
“Dirty Girl Adventures has inspired me to staycation in Kansas too. There’s a lot here to do if you look for it.”
Some of her favorite places to adventure in Kansas include Kanopolis State Park, anywhere in the Flint Hills, Horse Thief Reservoir and any of the county lakes.
“Kansas has some pretty sweet county lakes. I’m determined to visit them all,” says Shelly.
“DGA has reignited my sense of adventure and I have places to go. Who’s going with me?” – Shelly Liby
We are excited to announce that in February of 2020, a group of Dirty Girls will be traveling to Guatemala to support the work of the Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya. ODIM serves two small villages on Lake Atitlán, San Juan la Laguna and San Pablo la Laguna. The organization provides healthcare and education to the indigenous Tzutujil in these villages.
The ODIM staff is made up of two foreign directors, and approximately 48 full and part-time local staff. Members of the DGA team will learn about the various programs of ODIM to combat malnutrition and provide education opportunities for the local community. Guatemala ranks #4 in the world for chronic malnutrition among children five years and younger, which is roughly 50% of all Guatemalan children, and ranks #1 for malnutrition in Central America and the Caribbean.
Guatemala’s population is made up of about 60% indigenous Maya, the majority of whom live in small rural villages in the western highlands. 76% of these indigenous people live in extreme poverty. Many indigenous families in the rural highlands live on $2 a day. Some families have a small plot of land where they grow corn or beans, barely enough to feed their families. Drought conditions for the past 3 years have made it even more difficult to subsist on their own land, so many men work as day laborers for seasonal work in the coffee fields for about $4 per day.
The Dirty Girls going on this trip will learn how the Healthy Mommy & Me program is working to break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition through maternal and infant healthcare and education in Guatemala. Each individual Dirty Girl has a fundraising goal of $2,000 and 100% of the donations will go to support the maternal and infant health program, Mamá y Yo Saludable (Healthy Mommy & Me) founded on the principles of the worldwide movement “The First 1000 Days.
Studies prove that by bolstering nutrition, education, and health practices from conception to a child’s second birthday, children can better develop physically and mentally for healthy futures. ODIM currently has over 330 mothers enrolled in the program, receiving prenatal and postnatal care, child development education, nutrition supplements, and more. Team members are trying to raise $2000 each – $1 a day for 1000 days – to support two mothers and their babies in this program. All trip expenses are being covered by the individual volunteers and no donations are being used for these personal expenses.
In addition to the fundraising, the team will also assist in various service projects for ODIM. Some possible projects could include building clean-burning stoves and installing eco-filters for clean water for local families, helping with construction or needed maintenance of the clinic buildings, joining the ODIM scholarship students on their community service project in their community and tutoring ODIM staff who are studying English.
The team will also learn about the local culture by picking coffee and seeing how it is produced at a local co-op, and getting a presentation from a local women’s weaving co-op on the traditional art of weaving with natural dyes. There will also be opportunities to learn about the natural environment around Lake Atitlán on hikes to the highest point above San Juan and climbing the dormant Volcano San Pedro.
So, how did the Dirty Girl ODIM Service Trip come to be?
In October 2018, there were two women on a DGA hike at the Perry Lake Trail who had gone to Guatemala with Jeannie (service trip leader and Dirty Girl member) several times, and they mentioned their upcoming trip to Denise while they were on the trail.
“The second day of the hike, my husband and I hosted the hikers in our front yard for their lunch stop. When Denise arrived for lunch she told me she had always wanted to do an international service trip and asked if I would be willing to lead a trip to Guatemala for DGA. I’ve led medical and construction teams to Guatemala for 25 years and I love introducing people to that country,” says Jeannie.
If you wish to donate items opposed to money, the specific request by ODIM Healthy Mommy & Me program is for newborn kits. These kits would include baby blankets, newborn sleepers, baby hats, baby socks and baby soap. Donations of these items may be dropped off at Compass Point.
In addition, there will be craft items made by ODIM scholarship students and local artisans in San Juan and San Pablo for sale at Compass Point. This is a way to support ODIM in two ways – #1 from the purchase of the items from the local people and #2 from the proceeds that will go to the Team Fund for Healthy Mommy & Me.
If you don’t want to donate online, you may donate cash at Compass Point where you will receive a receipt or send a check made out to DGA Guatemala to Compass Point.
Can I still go on the trip?
There is still time to sign up for the service trip if anyone is interested. The total trip expense is $2000, which includes all transportation, lodging, food, and event expenses. The deadline to sign up and pay the $1000 non-refundable deposit is August 15, and the remaining $1000 is due December 1.
In addition to the trip expense, each team member is expected to raise $1000 minimum for ODIM, with a goal of $2000.
If anyone would like more information, they can contact Jeannie, (service trip leader) at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 620.412.1631.
Another Dirty Girl who has been around since the beginning…Stacy Hull!! Stacy found out about Dirty Girl Adventures through her husband, who was friends with Denise’s husband, before it even started. Once she heard Denise had plans to start her business, Stacy was fully interested and the thought of hanging out with other women who liked the same things as her, sounded amazing!
Stacy was not always an outdoorswoman. She was perfectly happy staying inside in the AC until DGA came into her life. Walking in town and participating in 5K races eventually started to become part of her routine, and once she heard about DGA, she was ready to take things to the next level and explore fitness in a different realm, hiking and kayaking.
“Dirty Girl Adventures has changed this introvert into someone who gets out of her own head and goes outside with other like minded women,” says Stacy. Before joining the club, she was worried that no one would talk to her because she tends to be on the quiet side. However, that was far from the case. Stacy has made so many friends and learned to enjoy company and conversation more since she has been with DGA.
“Having a group of like minded women in my life brings diversity and new experiences that I may not have had otherwise. This group has given me some great friends, and hopefully some more to come.”
Stacy’s most memorable Dirty Girl Adventures event was the first eight mile hike on the Old Military Trail at Perry Lake. “I was in awe of Denise on how many times one woman could run back and forth on this trail,” she says. Since this was one of her first outdoor adventures, this outing made Stacy more comfortable being outside and began her connection with the outdoors.
“The first hike was memorable to me because it was the first crack in my ‘introvert life’ and it opened me up to new people I would’ve never met. It was also a much different workout for me than my typical 5K on paved roads.”
A huge core value of Dirty Girl Adventures is to learn to adventure where you are. When we asked Stacy if she could adventure anywhere, she said she would love to explore more of her home state, Kansas. A lot of people put Kansas at the bottom of their adventure bucket list, but there are so many places in the sunflower state to explore. Stacy wants to hike the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Elk River Trail. We love that she wants to explore more of Kansas. Stacy is a Dirty Girl at heart!
Karen is in the midst of her third season as a Dirty Girl Club Member and loving it. A few years back, she found out about Dirty Girl Adventures at a teaching conference. During this conference, she met another woman who was already involved with the club and was introduced to DGA.
Throughout her life, she has always loved nature and the outdoors, but her love continues to grow for it as she gets older. “I think I fall more in love with the outdoors as I age because I’ve had issues with depression in the past. The outdoors provides me with so much peace and happiness. Also, the more I learn about climate change and the effect humans have on the environment, the more I see a need to protect nature.”
Since joining the club, Karen says it has provided her with a community of like minded women who all have a common love and passion for the outdoors, which has been hard for her to find. “Before finding the Dirty Girls my only outdoor buddy was my husband, now I have a ton of people to do things with,” she says. Having a group of ladies to go exploring with is wonderful for Karen, and makes her realize that there are lots of other women that care about the outdoors as well.
Her favorite and most memorable Dirty Girl Adventures event was during her first year of being a member. Karen and some other Dirty Girls did a weekend getaway to Camp White and hiked the Tallgrass Prairie. “I knew I found the perfect group during that weekend,” she says.
Karen and her husband have lots of places on their adventure bucket list that they plan to check off. Currently, they are goal setting for their adventure in Iceland in three years. They are going for their ten year anniversary and plan on camping all over the country and seeing puffins while they are there. MCI started offering it as their first direct international flight, so this helped them choose Iceland as their anniversary adventure. “We watched a Discovery Channel episode on puffins and Iceland. Then, I started seeing tons of pictures of Iceland on Twitter from all of the outdoor accounts I follow. What made it a solid decision was recently on a hike in Glacier National Park. We met several people who have been to Iceland and they told us how gorgeous the country is, so we decided it would be the perfect place to go.”
They plan on taking their new puppy, Moose, on their future adventures with them. Bosco, their other dog has gone on many adventures, even kayaking. Moose will be going camping with them for the first time this summer. Pets make outdoor adventure all the more enjoyable!
Karen is thankful for all that DGA has brought to her. She is inspired and excited for her future outdoor adventures with her fellow Dirty Girls, her husband and puppies.
She is also the leader of the Dirty Girl Adventures Book Club at Compass Point. Check our event calendar to join Karen in discussing some award winning stories!
This week’s story is over Melissa Frederick and how she learned to live her life with no restrictions through Dirty Girl Adventures.
Melissa Frederick is jumping into her 4th season as a Dirty Girl. Her childhood consisted of playing outside in the country and camping with her family. “I’ve always loved the outdoors but due to the ebbs and flows of life, it wasn’t always able to be a priority,” Melissa said. Happily, in 2004, her husband and kids decided to start RV camping so she was finally able to get back outside.
Then, in the summer of 2014, she moved to McLouth, KS, where she met Denise’s husband Marucs, who was the police chief at that time. He told Melissa about Denise’s “outdoor business” and introduced the two. She was definitely interested, but didn’t want to make any commitments because they were still figuring out what post-army life was going to look like. In 2016, a friend of Melissa’s invited her on the Eagle Hike, and she said the rest was history.
Unfortunately, due to Melissa’s size at the time, it wasn’t easy or enjoyable for her. She had heard about backpacking through DGA but knew she could barely carry herself a few miles, let alone a 30-40 pound pack over multiple days. Yet again, there was another outdoor activity she felt she couldn’t do due to her weight. Going on DGA events made Melissa realize that she was very restricted by her size.
“At 5’7″ and 271 lbs, I was only able to hike 4-5 miles comfortably, and always at the back of the pack. I fell in and out of my kayak instead of getting in and out; everything was an effort.”
So, in 2017, she decided to have weight loss surgery. Dirty Girl Adventures played a significant role in her decision to have the procedure. She got tired of struggling to do the things she loved.
“My Dirty Girl tribe has been incredibly supportive and I love and appreciate them so very much for that. Being back out in nature on a more regular basis, and with a great group of ladies, made me realize how much I loved being out there. Unfortunately, due to my size, it wasn’t easy or as enjoyable as I knew it could be. Combined with gaining about 15-20 lbs per year and wondering if the scale would stop, I knew I had to do something. Since I hit my goal weight last August, my motto has been Live Life With No Restrictions.”
Nowadays, Melissa participates in all of the Dirty Girl events. She says her favorite memory was in the summer of 2017, kayaking down the Delaware river. About half way through the kayaking trip, a huge storm started rolling in and the ladies had no choice but to paddle faster.
“Looking over my shoulder at the looming black clouds, trying to outrun the gathering storm, and having to tow my daughter who has a bad shoulder made for quite an interesting paddle.”
Her favorite non-Dirty Girl event was hiking the Grand Canyon. “We were blessed with 4 amazing, knowledgeable guides who were so kind and helpful. The non-Dirty Girl members of our tour group were lovely and it was great getting to know them. We had such a great time experiencing and learning about the Canyon in a way that most people don’t. I had such a wonderful time that I’m hoping to take my family on a 7 day trip in 2022,” said Melissa. In the future, she has aspirations to hike in lots of different places such as Southern Bavaria, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and sections of the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada.
It is through Dirty Girl Adventures that Melissa decided to live her life with no restrictions, and she has done just that!
Julie has been a member of Dirty Girl Adventures since the very beginning in 2013. She grew up and lived most of her life in California where she loved hiking, body surfing and camping. “Adventure was in my heart,” says Julie. Life eventually took her to Kansas after her children were born and it was at this point that she lost her connection with the outdoors.
“The bugs were scary and the weather was too extreme so I stopped and stayed inside most of the time.”
That all changed when she met Denise in 2005. When Julie’s son was six, they enrolled him in the local baseball program. Denise’s husband Marcus was the coach and Denise and Julie became immediate friends. Coming from California, Julie didn’t have much hope that there was any adventure in the fly-over state. However, Denise encouraged her to go outside and adventure with their kids through 4-H.
“Together we took our kids to every corner of the state through the 4-H geology program. She later took me hiking on local trails that I didn’t even know about.”
Over the many years Julie has lived here, she knows that although Kansas will hinder your adventure at times, if you are patient, there are many beautiful places to explore. “I love Kansas now and call it home. I know that Denise and I will continue to be good friends for a lifetime,” she says.
Since Dirty Girl Adventures started back in 2013, Julie’s life has changed. She says she has met so many women that are from different backgrounds that she would not have met if it weren’t for DGA.
“Dirty Girl Adventures has brought many different women into my life and has opened up the love to see people where they are. There is no judgement in this club. We all accept each other and bond with the common love of the outdoors.”
Julie’s favorite memory as a Dirty Girl member was the very first Ass Kicker. The Ass Kicker is an event where Dirty Girls kayak 20 miles of a section of the Mighty Kaw. It was during this trip that she met many women who are now good friends.
“It was a memorable kayaking trip because it was our first tough adventure. We were in it together and we all finished with accomplishment. Firsts seem to always be more memorable than others.”
From the very beginning of this awesome club, Julie has been there to see it grow into the amazing community it is now.
“Dirty Girl Adventures helped instill the love of the outdoors in my heart again and showed me that you can adventure anywhere you are.”
Chances are, if you are reading this, you know that hiking and camping gear is expensive. It’s hard to throw in the towel sometimes and make purchases when you are on a budget. How will you know if it’s worth the money?
That’s why we are going to talk about some outdoor subscription boxes that are an affordable way for you to try out a variety of different gear, foodies, apparel, tools and more. So, if you have been wanting to try out some different gear, but don’t really know where to start, or even want to expand your horizons and try different brands, one of these subscription boxes may be for you!!
The Cairn Box is just $30 a month and in your box, you receive three to five different outdoor gear pieces. On top of that, you may get some sort of apparel, camping snacks or skin care products in your box. After you get your box, you can review the products you receive to earn points that get you discounts on the Carin Shop. Click here for their website! Several Dirty Girls have subscribed to this box in the past – mostly useful and cool stuff. If you don’t like it or need it you can trade it!
This box has similar products to Cairn, except you get to complete a profile tailored to your interested and the Nomadik team curates your box according to your adventure interests. Each month, the box has a different theme, which is neat because it could inspire you to go on a different adventure you may not have tried before! For $32.95, you can get your first box! Click here for their website!
Little Hiker is a bit different than the other boxes. A lot of Dirty Girls have Dirty Kids and of course, we want to inspire them to get outside! Little Hiker is an outdoor adventure subscription box for kiddos! It is $35 a month, and includes a little something for you, something for your little hiker, snacks and some stickers/activity sheets as well. Click here for their website!
Different from your typical gear subscription boxes, Apocabox will give you a hand-selected collection of survival tools for $50 a month. The founder or Apocabox is an author of over 14 survival manuals and the host of The Weather Channel’s show “SOS HOW TO SURVIVE.” Every box includes a challenge that is designed to teach you a specific survival skill and will include a password to a protected video tutorial. Click here for their website!
This box made the list because it is designed by women and made for women! Perfect for any Dirty Girl! It was started by a woman named Leann Pickard, who was fed up with the limited offerings at outdoor stores of cool, locally-made products for women. For $59.95, the box comes with 3-6 products that are all made by women in America! The products are great to bring along with you for a camping trip. Camping mugs, lip balm, sunglasses and teas are just a few of the things that here for their website.
There are many outdoor subscription boxes out there, but these are just a few that caught out eye. Let us know if you have purchased any outdoor subscription boxes before and what you liked!
At Compass Point, the home of Dirty Girl Adventures, we have a new product to share. We are super excited about the Kula Cloth and the story behind it. We love hiking and adventuring in many different places and “leaving no trace” is important to us. We also are little tired of the “drip dry” technique or the pee bandana on the back of our packs.
It’s not indelicate to discuss personal hygiene for women in the wilderness – it’s actually IMPORTANT! It’s about personal comfort AND taking care of the environment. Here is the story of the Kula Cloth and Anastasia Allison, the creator of the Kula Cloth. It’s taken from her website with permission.
Pretty cool story if you ask us! You can purchase a Kula Cloth in person at Compass Point. (800 N. Kansas Avenue, Topeka, Kansas)
Kula Cloth ™ was born during a trip to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington State. Anastasia Allison was enjoying a spectacular sunset over Robin Lakes, when she walked around a larch tree to discover… a giant pile of toilet paper.
Upon returning home, she started researching Leave No Trace options for toilet paper in the wilderness. She discovered the concept of a pee cloth and decided to give it a try (even though she had to admit – it sounded a little weird at first). She didn’t like the idea of a bandana, so she bought a small blue piece of microfiber. This piece of fabric was a game changer for her – as a women’s backpacking instructor for nearly 10 years, she started encouraging all of her students to use a pee cloth in the wilderness.
A dream is born.
As a joke, Anastasia started taking photos of her blue microfiber pee cloth in various spectacular wilderness settings. She was taking a dramatic photo of her pee cloth on the Wind River High Route when she caught herself thinking, “I wish that looked cooler.” Suddenly, she had the idea to design an intentional pee cloth – something that she could feel proud to wear on her pack. She wanted it to feel like an actual piece of gear, not just an afterthought ‘rag’ or a scrap of cloth.
After nearly 3 years of obsessively researching (with ZERO experience in the textile industry and no clue how to use a sewing machine) and after hundreds of hours of field testing with over 30 adventurous testers, she finalized the design and the Kula Cloth™ was born.
The mission of Kula Cloth™ is to:
– Promote Leave No Trace practices by normalizing and encouraging the use of an intentionally designed pee cloth
– Cultivate an empowered community of individuals who promote stewardship through leading by example
Kula means more than just a piece of gear.
The Kula Cloth™ gets its name from Kula Khangri – the tallest mountain in Bhutan. Anastasia completed a trek in Bhutan in 2011, and it was a life-changing experience for her. Including the name of a peak symbolizes the process of accomplishing anything in life – mountains are climbed one step at a time. Kula also means ‘community’ in Sanskrit. It is our belief that the Kula Cloth™ will cultivate an environment of connection between those who feel a common bond over this very intentional piece of gear.
About the founder.
Anastasia Allison is a former park ranger and police officer who left her job after a near fatal car accident to pursue her dream of living an adventure-inspired life. She is a Wilderness First Responder and has been a backpacking instructor with Washington Outdoor Women for nearly 10 years. She is the Seattle Trail Scout and Gear Tester for Backpacker Magazine, she hosts the Inspired Adventurepreneur Podcast on iTunes, and she is the violinist for The Musical Mountaineers.
Anastasia and her husband Aaron and their two cats, Niko and Cinder, live in the Pacific Northwest. Anastasia and Aaron have climbed all 5 Washington volcanoes together and they spend most of their free time in the backcountry. Aaron plays the ukulele, and they currently are working to complete a personal goal of performing one song together in every State Park in Washington.
Well, it’s finally happened! We have found a place to call home, a basecamp for our tribe! We’ve purchased a great spot in NOTO the Arts and Entertainment District in Topeka, Kansas! (800 North Kansas Avenue)
It is amazing! It includes 2 buildings and an awesome courtyard and it’s TWO BLOCKS from the Mighty Kaw! We can’t wait to reveal the logo for Compass Point and to share our schedule of events… still building but it will be epic! Stay tuned!
We are building an inventory of retail products that we love – quality products that we have either found to be useful in our adventures or great, creative products we have used and love. We are also planning to host our events, classes and a wide variety of whole health and wellness activities here. Think yoga, self care Sunday, classes, retreats and social events. We will even have LIVE music at least once a month.
We are so excited and having fun creating this space. We are so thankful for the support and hands on help we have had over the last month!
Thanks everyone! We hope to see you for our Grand Opening on April 5th. Ribbon cutting at 4:30 and live music from The Dullards from 6-9pm with our new neighbors Front Door Catering in their saucy BBQ Food Truck!
It’s First Friday so all of NOTO will be open and full of excitement! We plan to have live music and various Food Trucks available EVERY First Friday!
Girls love the outdoors! They carry their own kayaks and put up their own
tents. Dirty Girls are not afraid to get muddy or sweaty and they do not get a
manicure before going camping. (Sometimes after…)
Dirty Girl is not afraid of anything, but still might scream (a little) at
surprises like a snake dropping in her canoe or a fish jumping in her kayak!
Girls are smart. They remember to pack extra sunscreen, extra beer and a rope
in their kayak in order to be prepared for any eventuality or to tow injured
friends back to the boat ramp.
Girls make time for themselves; not because they are selfish but because they
Girls don’t say anything about their own bodies that they wouldn’t say to their
Dirty Girl Friend!
Girls are open to learning new things and they aren’t afraid to ask for help
when they need it!
Girls know how to pee in the water and the woods. Except for Dirty Girl
No-wah-pee who is the exception!
Dirty Girls cry when they drop their phone, camera or beer in the water, but
Dirty Girls are resilient and after a lot of cussing, move on!
Dirty Girl knows what to do when she gets poison ivy on her butt; A Dirty Girl
knows what poison ivy looks like, but hey, it happens to everyone!
Girls are fun, funny, sensitive, kind and a little crazy.
Girls are loyal.
Dirty Girl is independent and can stand alone. She doesn’t need a man,
but she loves a Dirty Guy! A Dirty Guy is strong, supportive, faithful,
loyal and loving. Dirty Guys love their Dirty Girls just the way they are
– if they don’t then Dirty Girls don’t need them!
in big trucks with balls hanging from their bumpers do not impress Dirty Girls.
Dirty Girl does not say bad things about another Dirty Girl.
Girls are determined and never give up. Dirty Girls fall off their mountain
bikes, but keep on going.
Girls don’t let a little blood stop them (stitches don’t hurt much).
Girls work together and encourage each other to have fun and to be independent.
you are friends with a Dirty Girl, you can tell her anything and she won’t
Girls believe that life is a journey, changing all the time.
Girls are all different and they accept other Dirty Girls as they are; black,
white, brown, tall, short, fat, skinny or strong, gay or straight, loud, quiet,
shy or silly. Dirty Girls are all beautiful in their own way. Dirty Girls are
mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, friends, single, divorced, married, but
above all, strong in spirit and independent.