Why I’m Not That Superficially Hot Gal on the Trail

As I entered the Longji Rice Terraces in the Yunnan Province of China for some spectacular hiking experience, I thought, “It’s irrelevant,” referring to the notion of bringing make up and fixing my hair up, the way I normally did back in Washington, DC to dance the night away. Trekking, after all, is a MESSY business. Put on make up, and you know it will only last on your face until you reach that first uphill that you would have to climb. Soon enough, you’re drenched in sweat. Once done with the struggle, you then will have to deal with retouching a face that’s been caught in the chaos of the very make up that you thought will turn you into a model from a front cover of a fashion magazine.

That’s very much why in a nutshell.  However, let me tell you a few other things from an honest standpoint.

1. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because the best parts of the hike are the ones up on the summit. And when I say summit, that means the higher the better! Again, that entails climbing uphill for hours which will render your attempts to beautify yourself futile. See my note above as to what happens with uphill hiking. You get it now, I hope? But here’s the thing: WOULD YOU REALLY COMPROMISE A SPECTACULAR VIEW FOR HAVING A PRETTY FACE?

The mighty mountains along the Tiger Leaping Gorge trail in China. Worth the sacrifice for a surreal view!

Say no…please. But, if yes, then read on.

2. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because hiking has risks. STAYING ALIVE is the goal besides enjoying the views. That means be prepared to wear proper hiking clothes. No revealing tank tops when hiking in near freezing temperatures. Please no “short” shorts either while you pretend to be cute in your freezing ass. Nothing is cute about that especially when you inconvenience others in a group who have to care for you in the event of you falling ill. I suppose you brought your boots, not the red fashionable sneakers that you adore because a broken ankle is no fun. There’s a peak to conquer and a personal achievement to attain. Stay focus on the goal. Not the guys.  Soon enough, the guys who are meant to see beyond your superficial hotness will notice you for the real you.

No, try again.
That’s the one. Better.





See, hot or not, you get them all.

3. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because being dirty is liberating. It’s FREEEEDOOOOMMM! Forget showers when you trek.  Are you kidding me? The more you desire to see amazing-out- of- this- world landscapes, the more you have to embrace your own dirt and smell.   Be one with the two.  Sorry, I know this stinks, but hey, it’s a sacrifice worth having once you see those once in a lifetime photos. The good news is photos are odor-free so regardless of whether you decide to have yourself in these photos or not, you’re safe! No one will ever criticize your hygiene.

A few days without showers in the cold wilderness of Nepal’s Himalayas along the Gokyo to Everest Base Camp trail. By that point, you would rather not have close up shots. The further you are, the better. No smell like I told you…at least not on the photos.

4. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because you know what? IT’S TOO MUCH WORK. That fact applies universally to all scenarios, not just life in the mountains. Why would a girl leave the pressures of being a city girl just to go to a mountain and still subject herself to the same torment? No, no, no. I don’t think so. “No mirror” on a trekking trip is always a good advise especially when you’re struggling NOT to be that hot gal on the trail (but keep it as part of your first aid kit while promising yourself to resist the allure of vanity).  After all, summit days start early and you’ll hardly have the time to put on that make up.  If at all, you ought to use that time to double check your water bladder and head lamp.

Trekking turns you into a sleeping beauty. It’s work.

5. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because, well, you ought to know YOU ALREADY ARE. Be like nature. Authentic. Your real beauty lies in your ability to fully accept that you are beautiful, inside and out. So, drop the stiletto style walking, and strut those high cut hiking boots like you’re completely blister-free.  Take a deep breathe and read the following with me:  I’m more than just that hot gal on the trail.  I’m the fearless trekker that the hot gals on the trail secretly admire and look up to.  I’m beautiful as my natural self.

Going natural on a trek in Iceland. Double dose of beauty.

There you go.  You did it.  Congrats!!! You’re no longer that hot gal on the trail.  But, phew!  Now, hit the shower!

***This post is inspired by Brown Gal Trekker’s semi-awakening of an experience while trekking solo in China where national parks are full of hot girls with make-up who wore party dresses and heels. Culture in this part of the world dictates that a woman must preserve that level of femininity even on the hiking trails. It is so ingrained in the Chinese females’ psyche to appear feminine that the women themselves perpetuate this social expectation. Without judging, as we all have differences on this subject, the experience left BGT a feeling of increased appreciation for her ability to be authentic, raw, carefree and essentially unmoved by the pressures of society. Regardless, any woman who hikes a mountain trail is beautiful in her own unique way. So,  really, BGT writes this post to celebrate this universal truth with all the “hot gals” worldwide.  Keep on trekking, be it on heels, or boots, or otherwise.***

The hot girls on the trail of Longji Rice terraces. Although Brown Gal didn’t quite fit in by looks, her hiking skills fit quite well.
BGT became friends with a hot girl who gave BGT a pink scarf as a gift to make her feel more “feminine” on the trail. It turns out “hotness” was an easy thing to overlook when it comes to friendship. Hot or not, we felt beautiful.



I leave you with a video of Longji Rice Terraces in the Yunnan Province of China.  It’s easily accessible by bus from the city of Guilin.  Overnight stays can be had in any of the guesthouses in the villages at cheap hostel rates.   At Longji, you can hike from one village to the next to enjoy the landscapes.  However, be warned that there’s frequent occurrence of fog, which was the case when I visited; hence, I saw a limited glimpse of the rice terraces.  Relaxing, rejuvenating, and still off the beaten path (many folks stay back in Guilin) – Longji is a true oasis for those seeking solace.  Go.

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37 thoughts on “Why I’m Not That Superficially Hot Gal on the Trail”

  1. You’re so right, I like to look cute traveling if I’m walking around or going out to eat or drink, but there’s no need to wear makeup or do your hair if you’re hiking! I just throw my hair in a ponytail and go, comfort over beauty always when it comes to the hiking experience. Plus, it feels good to be fresh faced in nature sometimes.

  2. ’embrace your own dirt and smell’ – I guess that’s what it comes down too. Are you going limit your dreams and passions due to the physical or are you going to focus on the unseen hmmmmm…

  3. It is liberating indeed! I’ve noticed that often when I travel I don’t put any makeup (not that I put some every day but still) and sometimes I don’t even brush my hair. You are usually on the go the whole day especially when it is a hike like in your case and you are so busy soaking the great views or interesting information to bother how you look.

  4. I loved to read your post. I totally agree, particularly with the points talking about safety, views and freeeeeeeedoooommmm! I’m really amazed of people that go hiking with make-up and really “well-dressed-for-a-party” just for FB-profile pics! 😮 So, i really appreciate when I find this type of posts: reality, autenthicity, JUST LIVE, EXPLORE AND ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Best!!

  5. Hiking is never easy. You need to have proper gear esp footwear or else you will slide on the trail esp if its wet and muddy.
    Im not a hiker but Im proud of myself that 1 was able to hile Mt.Ijen in Indonesia, 2 hr hike going to a rice terraces in Antique Philippines.

  6. The words in this post are as beautiful as the photos! What a wonderful message to the ladies! We aren’t exactly back-packers who budget travel, but we still never waste time or space on packing hair tools, make-up, or fancy outfits. We’ve got more important things to spend time on; seeing the world & meeting new people along the way! Love your picture caption with all the boys! LOL! Can’t wait to read more of your blog. 🙂

  7. So interesting about the culture! Great read. When trekking, your strength of character & physical strength are the most important aspects, not your makeup! Makeup won’t save your life but preparedness will! Have you read the book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed? You might like it if you haven’t read it already!

  8. Girl I am so with you! I rarely wore makeup or did my hair on my 3 month euro trip. It was such a reprieve and I’ll never worry about AU natural again!

  9. Sorry can’t resist it but you do look hot in these pics :P.
    As per my preferences a girl who can trek will always be hotter than the one who doesn’t.

    And the makeups and selfiies attract those who have never experienced the sheer joy of trekking and viewing the world from the mountain top.

  10. Same, I don’t see the need to wear makeup and all those fashionable clothes while going up the trail. I certainly won’t do that, because I’d probably be busy taking photos and as what you said, staying alive. Oh, the view is spectacular indeed.

  11. When you are on a hike and viewing some awesome landscapes and marveling at Nature’s beauty, who would care about makeup. I sure agree with you, that is qute the sensible way of looking at things.

  12. The rice terraces reminded me of the thousand year old terraces here in the Philippines. And I couldn’t agree more that there’s more to a pretty face, and it’s the scenery set before you when you are on the summit. Been trekking as well for quite sometime, and somehow, I couldn’t agree more with what you have written – short, concise and easy to grasp.

  13. It is refreshing to come across something like this. As I was reading, I was completely baffled..trying to remember if I had EVER seen a girl in make up on the trails. I’ve always been fascinated by China travel, but this type of travel culture truly never occurred to me. It is really amazing to see society from different viewpoints, and to understand how unaware of the world at large we really are. I stopped wearing make up after I had kids and became a stay at home Mom. It is liberating, and now I have little desire to wear it even for special occasions. I’m proud to teach both my daughter and my son, to appreciate natural beauty.

  14. In the beginning, I was judging this post and was like, “Seriously? Who would even bother putting on makeup while hiking anyway?” It sounds pretty absurd to me. Only when I have finished your post and read that apparently there were girls with makeup and wearing heels did I try to understand. Goodness, but I think this only happens in Asia. Here in Europe, it would be laughable to do such thing.

    Still, a nice read and I hope many of those superficial girls read this.

    1. I find this post really fun but true. I don’t know why do they have to put some makeup on or even wear uncomfortable suit on the trail. Believe me I have seen somebody who wears white sneakers on the trail.

  15. Agreed. I see no need to wear make up when hiking in the nature. I want the sun to shine on my face, not on that artificial cover. It just feels amazing and so natural to me to be myself this way.

  16. Am not a big fan of makeup but can’t agree more on these points that even the touchup won’t last long. And hiking natural and authentic has a different effect altogether. And I must mention you look gorgeous anyway 😉

  17. So true — the glamour isn’t on you, it’s in what you see when you’re out in the wilderness. I just had my first experience this summer and quickly got over hygiene issues. You do as much as you can to at least not become a carrier of the norovirus.

  18. Very well said! Make up and travel don’t go together, at least not to destinations like this. Loved the way you told your views with pics and interesting dialogues. 🙂

  19. Exactly. Life is more fun when you aren’t trying to impress people you don’t care about. I stopped wearing makeup about 3 years ago, and it was amazing. I’ve saved money, have less to travel with, and feel more confident. One girl said to me “You are wasting your beauty by not wearing makeup” I responded with “Wouldn’t I be wasting it if I was wearing makeup?”

  20. As a man, I have to say that during a hike a hot girl is probably the last thing I’ll notice, especially if I risk to fall down a cliff every step I take. Being feminine is fine to me, until it turns out to being stupid, like the impression those Chinese girls gave me.

    1. I thought the same about the Chinese women’s manner of dressing – how irrelevant it was. But I felt it’s not my place to judge as their vision is rooted from a long time deeply embedded cultural mentality. I don’t think a conversation with them in passing would go anywhere but rather would risk my being a critical and judgmental American. However, from their view, they think I’m odd for wearing “manly” clothes such as hiking pants, heavy boots etc…either way it was a very eye opening experience.

  21. Yunnan Province is without doubt one of my favorite parts of China, at least of those that I’ve been lucky enough to visit and you did a really great job of capturing it with your photos. That being said, you’re totally right, it certainly isn’t the kind of place for make-up and heels, despite what some of the Chinese ladies manage to look like on the trails. Besides, when you’re in nature, who would want to be concerning themselves with their appearance?

    1. The Chinese are concerned about their looks on the trails for status reasons. I can same the same way about Koreans who buy expensive brands of hiking gear to show off in their photos. There is a variety of “hiking” culture globally and these two are some of the most interesting I’ve found.

  22. And this is how I starting leaving make up back home when travelling. Not only for hikes, but for all my trips to be honest. I might include a mascara if more that a few visits to town are included, if not? Let it go. I totally agree with you. Personally, freedom in travel includes no heels, no make up, no frills. Just plain joy for being there.

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