Why I Guide Canoe Trips into the BWCA

End-of-a-PortageI have always loved the outdoors! I grew up, not on wilderness camping, per se, but in a family who respected all of nature…the land, the waters, the animals, and proper management of these elements to protect our valuable resources. Growing up in a family of five kids, we did plenty of “car camping” when we got the chance to travel. My dad took me hunting and fishing, and taught me valuable lessons about conservation of land and management of wildlife. From all of this grew my love of wild places.

Wilderness travel is a passion…seeking out those quiet places, far away from the hum of technology constantly bombarding us day in and day out…where you can sit still and listen to just the sound of the wind through white pines, the gentle lapping of water on ancient rock, see more stars in a night sky than you ever thought imaginable. It truly touches your soul, places like this…refreshes and recharges the spirit. And, heck, it’s fun to sweat a little, use those muscles in a new way, get dirt under your nails, learn a new skill, and catch, clean, and fry up a fish!

What drives me to create this company…this Women’s Wilderness Discovery…is not just my passion for the wilderness or a love of canoe camping – it goes deeper than that. It’s something I’ve realized over many years of leading women’s groups in outdoor endeavors: the empowerment it brings women of all ages, all walks of life! No matter the level of physical strength, personal struggles, or lack there of: “That was a life-changer for me!”…because it awakens something deep inside, an inner strength that proves to a female that she really CAN DO more than she thinks she can, or that society or people in her life have led her to believe!

Wilderness canoe or winter camping with a group of women is different from a mixed-gender trip (for lack of a better term). There’s none of that, “Step aside little lady, I’ll carry that load. Women don’t carry canoes!” or “You just sit up there in the bow and I’ll do the paddling and navigating, Honey.” And how ‘bout the old “Us guys are going fishing. You gals set up camp.” Wow…the old myths that abound: that the wilderness is a man’s world, a manly pursuit. (And some of the typical outfitters buy into and perpetuate that myth.)

Pffff! Women can do ANY thing they put their minds to, and physical strength is definitely not a limiting factor. Teamwork and comradery within a group of women is phenomenal on trail; everyone shares the tasks and the loads, and with mighty fine efficiency, I might add!

The women I’ve had the honor of leading want to do, and learn, and try, and tackle challenges without being told by a male companion or relative that they can’t, or shouldn’t. No one is entitled to set such limits! In women’s groups everyone learns and grows together as the multi-tasking team mates we are. And they have a BLAST doing it! The lasting side effects of all the fun, and all those accomplishments? A huge boost to self-esteem as you build confidence, strengthen courage, and cultivate leadership skills. We need more positive, empowering opportunities for our young girls and women everywhere in this twenty-first century! “We’ve come a long way baby” …but oh how far we have yet to go! Women’s Wilderness Discovery provides that opportunity, through wilderness travel…with the emphasis on women = ; D

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