This is what all went down at my February meetup with Girls Who Hike. If you're unsure about joining or you've joined but do not know what to expect...these articles are for you!
For February's event I made a coffee social hour meetup! There was a limit of how many girls could come due to not wanting to take over the whole shop. This process is done through Eventbrite which is easy to navigate. Your ambassador will make it clear on whether or not they are utilizing Eventbrite or not for a meetup. I chose the new Fox in the Snow location in New Albany, OH for this meetup because it was near where I was going to be that morning anyway plus, I've never been there before. The social was to start at 10 AM, I put that it would end at 11:30 but really I was open for it to be shorter or longer depending on what the girls had to say. I showed up at 9:30 to get a table (thank goodness because they were packed) and sat down with my notebook ready to jot down ideas.
I wanted to hold a meetup like this solely for discussion and brainstorming. I wanted to know what other girls were thinking- where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. There was 4 of us and although I was hoping for more, we got SO MANY ideas and logistics written down. To the ladies that came, you are awesome and thank you. We talked topics like backpacking, local hikes, gear, meetups that don't include hiking, traveling, overnight lodge stays and more. We got to know each other a bit while sipping coffees and answering each others questions.
This was truly a really simple meetup. Show up, drink coffee/chat, leave. That was the minimal you could have participated in. Not all of GWH events are extravagant and require long treks or travels (although we would love for you to join us on those too). Come try out a meetup and become a member! It's so easy and such a great way to make new friends and explore new places.
Disclaimer: Just because I am now apart of a great girls hiking group- this does not mean I will stop advocating for women getting outside alone!
Since moving to Ohio, I have become more independent and have hiked and visited more parks by myself than I ever have. I am a big advocate for doing things on your own. It gives you a chance to think, breath, and get to know yourself better. If your plans consistently fall through with someone or you wait on their availability, you will miss your chances over and over again. Since I have adapted the idea and hobby of hiking alone, I am way more confident in my abilities and my presence as a woman. This is a big topic in the outdoors world- women being alone and how it is on the rise but still rare. When women hike alone they get the "well aren't you brave" response but, when men hike alone it's not a second thought. Hiking is something everyone should have access to without it being controversial or unsafe.
Here's 6 ways I ensure my safety in the outdoors.
1. I wear appropriate, weather driven clothing and gear.
2. I study a map before I go (even the trails I don't plan to take) and keep my hiking app handy.
3. Someone ALWAYS knows where I plan to go hiking, even when I hike with GWH my boyfriend is aware of who I am with and what trail we are heading to.
4. I always carry a somewhat large pocket knife and make it visible, hooking it onto the outside of my pants. (The weapons topic is a discussion for a different day but you should always have at least pepper spray).
5. I try to pack the correct amount of food/water (sometimes I am bad at this).
6. I make eye contact with every person I pass and study what they look like AND their demeanor. This one may seem overboard but looking directly at someone shows confidence and attentiveness. You never know when you will need to describe someone and this trick can help your memory. (I also come from a law enforcement family if you can't tell).
My goal for 2019 is to not only get out more but advocate for WOMEN to feel safe in the outdoors. That is a big reason why I joined Girl Who Hike. You can read me previous post here. Women should not have to think twice about going out to adventure whether it be with a group OR alone. Get out there and do your thing! Just be prepared and have fun while doing it.
Hi, I'm Kaelin- I'm in my young 20's. I live in Central Ohio but I'm from Kentucky. I am an avid coffee drinker, book reader, and outdoor enthusiast. The blog is solely to share my thoughts on sparked interests, stories and experiences. Thanks for being here.