makayla crist


About Dirtgurl

Yes, this blog is now called Dirtgurl Travels. I was inspired by my now MT license plate Hudson and I got for the van spelled DRTBAGZ.


I guess I wanted to start/brand something that I personally believe in, which brings me to my first point- I really want a place where I can talk about various topics that may or may not be controversial. And I think there needs to be some real dialog happening about (trying) to be a female adventure photographer based around this idea of dirt. Yes, dirt. Why? Because most female adventure photographers today glamorize their life to the point of asking, is that even real? I ask myself this almost constantly while scrolling through Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and most definitely Pinterest. Which, brings me to my second point, if any of my fellow lady photogs want to take pictures of their glamours life and it’s real to them, that is OKAY. I just want to be real with myself, and post shit that is so prevalent in my life even if it is rough around most edges.

I live in a camper in my parents backyard (soon to be van). I spend my days sweeping up all the dirt and mud collecting on my floor and in my bed hoping my scruffy puppy won’t come in with wet paws, smelling of horse poop, wiping his literal shit on my stuff. Back to this point I am trying to make, I will be talking about realities of this now popular lifestyle of living on the road hoping to “get lost” with #wanderlust or whatever it’s called (LOL, actually no thank you. Nobody should want to get lost, because you could very easily die. Backpacking is not for everybody, especially those who want to get lost without any navigation or experience in the outdoors). Trust me, it’s hard to see a picture on instagram and suddenly feel this ping of jealousy or whatever it is, and then constantly judge this hypothetical mirror looking back on your own life. It’s rough. But I choose to believe in people and their stories and these close personal relationships on trail and off with people I find intriguing.

I used to want all the things that would make my life “better” and maybe “fuller” and more “beautiful” but I felt constantly denied into this club that I ended up making up in my own head. And now, I am figuring out how I can go back to my roots that were dug in so deep to this Montana/ Idaho lifestyle making me feel complete and content. I grew up in this constant state of freedom my parents instilled into me. I always thought we were white-trash hillbillies, spending our days hunting or hiking while living in unconventional living quarters (camp trailers). Well, we were and I loved it. My grandpa’s last words to me were, “My neighbor probably thinks I’m some sort of hillbilly redneck, and by golly I am!”. Haha, rest in peace Papa. He never approved of my ‘97 Subaru Outback thinking it was some sort of Green liberal mobile, telling me if I put a Thule on top I might as well stay in Missoula and become one of those open-toed hippies making my residents at Caras Park. I am laughing just thinking of what my family is saying about me now; some photographer lady living off her parents electricity, smelly as hell, thinking I am a conformist or what I like to say, too liberal to be a conservative, and too conservative to be a liberal. Which leads me into my next point, I am learning and will always be learning, especially from my wide variety of friends that I love and will always love. They keep me on my toes, and help me see what it truly means to be an independent thinker and lover of the outdoors.

My last point-

This is a collection of stories and photos from my travels I write about because I want to remember them and share them to those I hold dear to me. Some stories are not even stories, but questions from some of you guys on backpacking/beliefs/other various topics that I am now willing to share/ committing to share.

If you’re looking for a perfect blog with the writer writing in complete and perfect sentences, this is not for you. I am a right brained creative that could maybe care more about grammatical errors and punctuation, which turns most of you off, I totally get it. But remember, I grew up being a white-trash hillbilly caring more about being so-called street smart than book smart. So try not to judge me to hard. Or do, I’ve been called worse things.




Stories, beliefs, and finding identity through my young adult years. Trying to make sense of these experiences I have through the outdoors and the people I meet along the way. Everything from my adventures, from what’s in my pack, to this weird, fragmented reality of being a 22 year old female photographer in the age of social media.