Going ‘Wild’: Why more women are seeking out adventure

Empowering Women in the Great Outdoors

Ready to enter the wilderness, but no clue where to start? Trail Mavens, founded in 2013, bills itself as a “skills-based outdoor adventure group for extraordinary women.”

“I personally had my own Wild story,” says Sasha Cox, founder of Trail Mavens. “My mom died of cancer and I had read Wild and decided to leave and travel around the world. It was in doing that that I got the guts to start my own business.” Despite the fact that she was an avid camper and hiker, Cox realized she’d never shared those experiences with her group of girlfriends. “I felt there was a dearth of opportunities for women to actually be the experts and leaders in the outdoors,” Cox says.

Now, Trail Mavens offers guided overnight trips that empower women to try everything fromcamping in Big Sur and Yosemite to kayaking in California’s Tomales Bay. On each of the journeys, women learn crucial outdoors skills, such as how to set up a tent, build a campfire and follow a trail map. The goal is that they can take those skills back home, and then lead their friends on similar adventures.

“At this particular moment in time, there’s so much interest in it both because of [Wild], but…there are now a number of really awesome websites dedicated to getting women in the outdoors, likeShe-Explores.com,” Cox says. “All these women are creating these sort of grassroots networks and communities around them and I think people’s interest is only peaking.”

While women come on these trips for a variety of reasons, Cox says most leave with a greater sense of confidence and empowerment. “The way that people find fulfillment in life in general is presenting themselves with a series of challenges and overcoming them…” Cox says. “I think that going into the wilderness provides such a delightfully ripe opportunity for this because there are challenges that are inherent to it, you have to do things in a different way than in the comfort of your own home.”

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