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This weekend marks the one year anniversary of our first ever Minnesota Women Who Hike meet up: Superbowl Snowshoe Shuffle! And the Women Who Hike founder, Nicole Brown, was just featured on The Stokecast Podcast sharing her story and about how Women Who Hike became the organization that it is today.
So, this post is dedicated to all of the Women Who Hike and our latest adventure!
In case I’ve never introduced myself here as Minnesota’s Co-Ambassador for Women Who Hike—I’m Jen and my lovely co-Ambassador is Kerry. Together, we host group hikes in the state of Minnesota and do our best to provide a safe space for women to connect and support each other in their outdoor pursuits. And we also like to have fun!
Our First Women Who Hike Minnesota event of 2019 was a beautiful snowshoe through Mille Lacs Kathio State Park last weekend.
Temperatures were in the single digits with sun shining on our faces, which felt dreamy compared to the Polar Vortex that brought a -54 degree windchill factor and kept most of us in our homes in the 6 days that followed.
We met at the Mille Lacs Kathio State Park Interpretive Center, did introductions and hit the trail. It always amazes me at how quickly friendships and bonds form on the trail. I enjoy hiking in the front, middle and pack of the pack just so I get to talk to as many women as I can.
We got turned around a couple of times as the snowshoe trail was a tad harder to follow than the ski trail, but we still had a great 3 hour hike through the forest and came back with everyone we started with.
As ambassadors, Kerry and I host 4 official hikes a year that are a little more off the beaten path and have limited attendees to follow Leave No Trace Principles and not over burden the trail. These hikes are typically 15 people or less and can be accessed through the Women Who Hike Group Hikes page.
I listened to Nicole’s interview on The Stokecast this morning, and one of my favorite parts of the piece was when they talked about the “Phenomenon” of people connecting deeply with each other when they are sharing the trail together.
I have experienced this many times and every time it happens, it is truly a gift. To be in a place where we can trust one another and open up and be honest is precious, and I find that the older I get, the more I appreciate it. Nicole calls this a phenomenon, because there’s really no explanation and she continues to say
…that in stepping out of our comfort zone, we are stepping into our comfort zone.
A memory from our first Official Hike at Frontenac State Park last Fall
“So much fun today during what was our first official Women Who Hike Minnesota group hike! We planned a route that we called a ‘choose your own adventure hike’ with options of 2.5 mi, 6 mi or 9 mi with increasing levels of difficulty. Frontenac State Park has so much to offer, swaying prairie grasses, leaves bursting with color, rocky bluffs overlooking Lake Pepin and the Mississippi and even a little loop within a Pine forest. But my favorite part of today’s hike was spending time with this awesome group of women.
Our hike plan allowed all skill levels to participate with a central intersection so everyone could gather back together. I talked to several women today but my favorite part of the day was hanging in the back of the pack. I made a few new friends back there including a newer 60ish year old hiker who said she felt a little out of place at first in a younger bunch. She needed a few breaks, apologized profusely for holding me up, to which I replied that I was still a little stiff from my last long hike and really didn’t mind. We became fast friends, took our time to appreciate the beauty that surrounded us, and shared stories about our lives. We shared a couple of tears too and hugged at the end. My heart is full. I love that this group is a safe place where everyone can participate and encourage each other to enjoy the outdoors.”
In addition to ‘Official Hikes’, more often, we, or other members gather in ‘unofficial’ meet up hikes that pop up almost weekly on the Women Who Hike Facebook Page. Many of us are doing the 52 hike challenge and hiking the Minnesota State Parks Hiking Club trails, so it’s really great to be able to connect with people on short notice, stay accountable and always have a hiking buddy.
Female Hiker safety is #1 on Women Who Hike, so we do not publish our location until after events and have female only closed groups to plan our adventures. Sorry guys, we like hiking with you too!
I’m proud to be a member of this amazing group that does so much to unite, sharpen and support other women. A huge thank you to Nicole and the WWH Ambassador team for their hard work and for leading with their hearts!
…and to all of the women who hike with us! We love hiking with you!
To find a hike happening near you, visit our website www.womenwhohike.com and visit our Group Hikes page.
I just came back from snowshoeing at Theo Wirth, took a quick nap and am headed out again TONIGHT at the Luminary Loppet. So glad to be done with the Polar Vortex and get some sun and snow! Gotta make the most of these beautiful winter days!