Meanwhile, on the East coast....

Dangerous Girl Chelsea Kendrick
Allow me to introduce Chelsea Kendrick from Asheville, North Carolina. I chose this rad, ballsy climbing chick to be the first guest blogger on The Wilder Coast,  for reasons that should be apparent just from that picture. I met Chelsea through a mutual friend when I lived in North Carolina in 2010. Although we only knew each other briefly- I lived in Boone, a long, snowy drive from the metropolis of Asheville- Chels left an impact on me. For one, she's the creator and promoter of Ladies Climbing Night at the local Asheville rock gym, and anyone who works that hard to foster a community just melts my heart. 

Furthermore, Chelsea is the creator of crushcakes, a blog that combines two of my favorite things: climbing and cupcakes. (By the way, that name? Crush Cakes? Brilliant.) She's the very picture of health, strength and vitality, so I asked her if she wouldn't mind sharing her thoughts on the three things we both agree are fundamental for a happy existence: food, friends, and rocks. Take it away, Chelsea...

I am pretty sure Asheville North Carolina was designed just for me. Its overwhelming plethora of food venues with local flare speaks to my true love for eating fantastic food. There are cupcake shops, chocolate lounges, tea shops, coffee shops, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, local beer breweries galore, Indian food, Thai food, Ethiopian food, Spanish tapas, anything my tummy wants and all with an affinity for using local organic products. Meanwhile the mountains tower on the edges of this funky little town hosting opportunities for almost any outdoor adventure a gal could hope for. There is paddling, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, trail running, ice climbing, snowboarding, cross country skiing on the blue ridge park way, hot springs soaking, you name it, we have it.

So what is a girl to do with so much good food and great outdoor opportunities? Well I say take advantage! My philosophy is, stay active and eat the food that feeds your soul. So many women worry about their bodies, and what to put in them, ounce by ounce, calorie by calorie. Now I am no nutrition expert but I am an expert on doing what feels right for my body, and what makes me happy. Being healthy is a huge part of being happy and being active is a huge part of being healthy. Starving myself just seems like a sure fire route to unhappiness so I try to avoid that route at all costs. I like to eat. I like to eat well. I like to indulge myself. On the flip side I like to earn it, I like to push my body until it can't be pushed anymore. I like to wake up in the morning sore all over from a weekend of steep sandstone sport climbing.

Now I know what you are thinking: This girl is extreme, she eats a ton and then exercises really hard. That isn't it at all, I eat lots of small meals in a day. I don't over do the quantity, I am all about quality. I also work very hard to find the balance in exercise because I have plenty of first hand experience with the injuries resulting from over doing it.

How did I get to this place of self confidence, comfort in indulgence, and personal challenge? For me it was rock climbing, for you it may be paddling or something else. But what specifically about these sports got me where I am now? Two things: female community and personal challenge. I run the ladies only climbing program at the climbing gym in Asheville. It is a biweekly space for women to come together and push themselves to their physical, mental, and emotional limits within a supportive, encouraging community setting. While developing our strength and climbing skills we have also developed a solid community of amazing women. We have discovered our power, our ability, our confidence and valuable connections to one another.

We also discovered cupcakes. I started making baked goods every so often for ladies night. Slowly but surely they came to be an anticipated pillar of ladies night. I found myself looking forward to new creative cupcake ideas for each week. Meanwhile the community was also looking forward to what I would come up with. There is something magical about stuffing your face full of buttery sugary goodness along side the same women with which you were only previously defying gravity. Some of the gals eat two or three cupcakes, with no shame or guilt or excuses. These women along with myself have come to understand a new image of female beauty. An image of strength, agility, curves, character, self confidence, and connection to fellow women. I find this image much more attractive than the anorexic, bleached, airbrushed, high fashion, depressing image we see in much popular media.

So here is my recipe for beauty and happiness: Play outside, develop a community with the people that like doing the things you like to do, and go do those things together. Eat food that makes you smile and say yummmmm! Eat it with good friends, hopefully these same good friends you just went on an adventure with earlier. Make time for having fun, and spending time with people that affirm you. Oh and eat cupcakes whenever possible because it is pretty hard to be bummed out while eating a cupcake.

Yep, she made these! For more photos and recipes, go to

Dangerous girls (and the men who want them)

I really was in love with him, but it was never going to work out, because he was a wildebeest. Mamma always said Date Within Your Species, but the heart wants what it wants.

Besides, I'm sick of all these macho pretty girls and their trophy boyfriends strutting around the rock gym. Is this how we're keeping score now? Someday soon I'm going to hang by my knees from the ceiling and shout "Hey! You down there!  How many world record holders have YOU slept with?.....Yeah, that's what I thought!"