Travel Trend: Women's Adventure Travel

Wendy Altschuler, turning up the corners of her mouth on a pretty gnarly rock. 

Wendy Altschuler, turning up the corners of her mouth on a pretty gnarly rock. 

“Put your headlamp on, you’ll need it,” my friend said as she pointed out where I’d be resting my head for the weekend with REI Outessa, a women-only sweat-filled romp in the mountains.

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

I followed the path up the hill, underneath the chairlift, and crooked my head up every few seconds to stare at the sky, chock-full of stars. I didn’t realize how much I missed the dark—here, at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, a whopping 7,800 feet at the base level, my Spidey senses were tingling. How could I possibly sleep? This was amazing!

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

The next morning, I made my way to the village where most of the activities would start/end. There was an Allegro Flxbus, serving piping hot coffee, and all was right in the world. Women were buzzing about, fully stoked—and probably a little nervous too— about how the weekend would play out. My to-do list for the next few days included: rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, endurance hiking and trail running and I couldn’t wait to get started. Finally, a weekend full of mountain-loving adventure, designed just for women, that had bad ass babes at the helm, leading, guiding and mentoring. This was my kind of trip!

Photo Credit-Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Photo Credit-Tiny Atlas Quarterly

And, as you can imagine, the scene at every outdoor activity was celebratory and supportive. Women have the amazing ability to bond over shared experiences, especially ones that have a little fear involved. I cheered alongside other women, for example, when a terrified newbie rock climber finally released her white-knuckled grip off the rock and decided to trust that the rope—and the new friend belaying her—would hold and she’d be safe. We all high-fived and whistled from a place of deep empathy, understanding and downright pride of what a community of women can accomplish. There was no mansplaining, no male instructors teaching women how to find joy in the outdoors—it was just us and it was beautiful.  

Photo Credit-Tiny Atlas Quarterly 

Photo Credit-Tiny Atlas Quarterly 

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Nights eating at communal tables, followed by marshmallow roasting around the campfire, provided a chance for everyone to talk about their day—what went right or wrong, what was unexpected, what was learned. As an introvert, I had no problem copping a squat with new friends and squealing about my day (and there were plenty of places to retreat if I needed a little down time or space). We were all in it together and everyone abided by a sort of joy code, which felt so powerful. The “Sweaty Dirty Happy” motto of the weekend was on par.

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Photo Credit-Wendy Altschuler

Three annual weekends are available for women who want to push themselves and get out of their comfort zones. Kirkwood just wrapped up but you can sign up for Waterville Valley, New Hampshire September 22-24 or Mount Hood Skibowl Oregon August 18—20. And, of course, there’s always next year…but, who wants to wait for 2018?

Photo Credit-Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Photo Credit-Tiny Atlas Quarterly