Waymaking is an anthology of prose, poetry and artwork by women who are inspired by wild places, adventure and landscape. In 2019, it won a Banff Mountain Book Competition Award: the Mountain Literature (Non Fiction) The Jon Whyte Award, sponsored by The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.“This superb collection of women’s short stories, poems and illustrations is full of gems from end to end. Waymaking is an immersion into the tears, giggles, sighs and love that have gone into producing this precious yet ground-breaking work,” said Paul McSorley, 2019 Book Competition Jury.
Published in 1961, Gwen Moffat’s Space Below My Feet tells the story of a woman who shirked the conventions of society and chose to live a life in the mountains. Some years later in 1977, Nan Shepherd published The Living Mountain, her prose bringing each contour of the Cairngorm mountains to life. These pioneering women set a precedent for a way of writing about wilderness that isn’t about conquering landscapes, reaching higher, harder or faster, but instead about living and breathing alongside them, becoming part of a larger adventure.
The artists in this inspired collection continue Gwen and Nan’s legacies, redressing the balance of gender in outdoor adventure literature. Their creativity urges us to stop and engage our senses: the smell of rain-soaked heather, wind resonating through a col, the touch of cool rock against skin, and most importantly a taste of restoring mind, body and spirit to a former equanimity.
With contributions from adventurers including Alpinist magazine editor Katie Ives, multi-award-winning author Bernadette McDonald, adventurers Sarah Outen and Anna McNuff and Leslie Hsu Oh, renowned filmmaker Jen Randall and many more, Waymaking is an inspiring and pivotal work published in an era when wilderness conservation and gender equality are at the fore.
Here’s the opening of Leslie’s piece:
Along the Tohickon, a Lenape word meaning “Deer Bone Creek,” cliffs of red Lockatong argillite and Brunswick shale form the unusual High Rocks of Pennsylvania. I balance beneath the shadow of leaves stubborn enough to withstand the blunt of winter, my feet planted on either side of an exposed root, on the slippery slopes of a gorge entangled with fallen trunks. Through my zoom lens, I study my husband, a splash of warmth against a canvas of rock, as he lifts our giggling kids above his head by their belay loops. Apart from the sound of a hawk landing on a branch of tulip poplar, the roar of the creek behind me drowns even the sound of my breath.
My camera rests gently on the wispy black locks of our five-month-old. She is so quiet, so content swinging her legs from the sling across my chest that I sometimes forget she is now part of this scene.
Won Bronze in Family Travel, 2018