A couple of years ago, when I first started exploring Instagram, I noticed posts from women about hiking that were tagged with the #hikelikeawoman hashtag. I was curious – what did this hashtag mean? Pretty soon I discovered the Hike Like a Woman website, Instagram feed, and then the podcast. I was hooked! I really enjoy listening to the podcast, especially, and find it inspirational and thought-provoking. I wanted to share this amazing community with you, as part of my Getting Started series of posts for the New Year.
Hike Like a Woman is a national community. They publish up to 3 blog posts per week, sharing real women’s stories and exploring topics pertinent to women in the outdoors. They publish a quarterly digital magazine with more stories, hiking tips, photos, poetry, recipes, and other tidbits. They do gear reviews and gear guides, and they even have an adventure book club! I had the fortune to interview Rebecca recently, so you can learn more about the organization.
Hiker Mama: What led you to start the Hike Like a Woman website and community?
Rebecca Walsh: Hike Like A Woman was born out of a desire to connect women with each other and the outdoors. I just felt like there was a need to create a place online where women could have their voices heard and talk about things like hiking, camping, backpacking and more. About 18 months ago we started an Ambassador program and it’s been a great way to bring a diversity of thought and new ideas to the website. I’m always scared of becoming stagnant or just another boring website clogging the internet, so I love this team of women who contribute to the website and do a lot of the work behind the scenes to bring new ideas to life.
HM: How do people find a local HLAW group to join?
RW: Last summer we started offering local group hikes, you can learn more about our groups at https://hikelikeawoman.net/
hike-with-us/. I think what makes our groups unique is that they are completely free to join, we don’t ask for a membership fee like other organizations and we only offer a handful of groups throughout the world because we only let women on our Ambassador team lead groups. This ensures that you have an amazing experience with a woman who goes through a rather rigorous application process to be part of our team.
HM: Do you have any tips for families just getting into hiking for the first time, and who may feel intimidated, or unsure where to start?
RW: I think the first step is really just to lace up your boots and go. I feel like a lot of times with young children it’s really easy to make excuses…oh, we’ll miss naptime, I don’t know where to go, I don’t have anyone to hike with, I don’t know how to dress my baby or child. The truth is that you can overcome all of those things but only if you’re willing to get out the door in the first place.
HM: Tell me more about the 365 Mile Challenge! Why should women and families sign up for it?
RW: The 365 Mile Challenge is a group with the goal to get outdoors and get moving for 365 miles in 2018. Our 2017 group was so much fun that we decided to host it again in 2018. We have several sponsors from some of the leading brands in the outdoor industry with giveaways, support, exclusive coupon codes and a really fun private Facebook group. We’ve closed registration for the year but plan to open it up for a weekend once or twice more this year to let those in who didn’t meet our January 15th cut off. You can learn more about it and check out our sponsors at http://www.
HM: How has hiking, either alone or with your family, enriched your life?
RW: I grew up in a really outdoorsy family with parents who took us on the trail either hiking or cross-country skiing every weekend but it wasn’t until after serving in the Army and being unable to recreate outside during a few yearlong deployments to Iraq that I really learned the value of hiking and spending time in the backcountry. For me, hiking gives me peace and clarity. It helps me cope, helps me heal and gets my legs burning and my heart pumping so that’s always a good thing. I notice that time spent in nature teaching my children strength, discipline and determination so I honestly couldn’t imagine a life where I wasn’t able to get outdoors and onto a trail several times each week.
Thank you so much, Rebecca, for taking the time to answer my questions. I really hope you, dear readers, head over to the Hike Like a Woman website and check them out.