One of my most treasured moments from 2017 was a women's backpacking trip I lead in Tennessee's Virgin Falls State Natural Area. There were 7 of us in total: some old friends, some new faces, some experienced campers, some first timers. A few months prior, I sent an email out to a handful of female friends in the Nashville area, inquiring that if I put together a women's weekend backpacking trip, would they be interested, and what would they want to learn? I was floored by the response- my email flooded with an overwhelming amount of "heck yes's" and "I've been wanting to do something like this, but didn't have the equipment". Most of the responses expressed a basic desire to get outside, but a few things prevented them from going.
Since it was impossible to adhere to everyone's schedule, we decided to have an evening gathering for anyone interested, even if they couldn't attend the trip. 15 women sat in my living room, and we shared our experiences in the outdoors. We discussed the basics of packing a backpack & made sure everyone was well equipped for a weekend outside.
I headed to Virgin Falls a day early with two of my compadres, to solidify a camp spot and make sure the trail was manageable. We had a beautiful, warm evening and were filled with anticipation for the rest of the group to join us.
The next morning, we woke up to snow & temperatures in the teens. Anxiety swept through me, for camping in the snow can be quite unpleasant, especially for a beginner camper. I texted an update, that we were staying and it seemed like it would clear up, but that I completely understood if people didn't want to join us. All I got in response was, "WE ARE COMING." I thought I would burst from joy.
We were gifted with the slowness of a snow day, with a fire burning from afternoon until bedtime. The morning brought sunshine and a motivated hike out to reward ourselves with some good ole Mexican food.
Cheers to getting outside despite inexperience or lack of equipment! Endless thank you's to my camping buddies for trusting me to lead you outside, regardless of unideal weather.
Who's up for a backpacking trip in 2018?