This past weekend, Her Hike Collective hiked Raven Rocks in Bluemont, Virginia. Raven Rocks is an out and back hike that hikes part of the Appalachian Trail and also crosses over the Virgina/West Virginia state border. It was a gorgeous spring day, where we started off cold but quickly only needed our light t-shirts. That’s why its great to hike with layers and have a backpack to put them away in.
We passed hikers that were hiking the Appalachian Trail, or really they hiked passed us, and it was interesting to ask them how long they had been hiking for. We were only out there for the day but to see the packs that they had to hike with and everything that went into their commitment to hike was so interesting to me!
Crossing the state border into WV was really cool, we just had a small sign notifying us that we were in two states at once, when we all are use to the oversized signs on highways when you go into a new state. The views at the top were some the best views I have seen while hiking and I am so happy that we had six new faces in our Her Hike Collective group to see these views. Some of them began the hike asking if they could walk through the woods to the nearest winery, but I think they fell in love with hiking as the day went on! At least, I hope they did! The inclines were tough for all of us but I am always extremely proud of each woman for pushing herself, for surprising herself and after they’re finished they are proud of themselves. Even though we are a group hiking together it is also very personal to hike and think to yourself to get yourself to accomplish the hike.
I say this every time, we all have our personal reasons for hiking! One of my favorite things while hiking with them is learning from these women why they choose to come hike with Her Hike Collective. Some of the answers in this group were to say “Yes” this year to the things that they would normally say no too. Another woman’s was to get outside of her comfort zone and put herself out there to a new group. Two women said that they normally talk themselves out of things and that they were surprised that as the weeks went on they never cancelled, and that they showed up and did the entire hike! Some said they had been looking for a group that would actually go and take the entire day to hike together. Another woman who has been on every hike with us does it in honor of her Mother, and without knowing when I choose this trail for this month’s hike, it was the last hike her Mother did before beginning her fight with cancer.
Why do I hike with Her Hike Collective? Well, I could honestly write a novel about my reasons why, but I do it in honor of my brother, Richard. A person who loved the outdoors, hiked, backpacked and camped and mentioned to me to go with him sometime. I fell in love with hiking because I wanted to be in places that he would love and I quickly began to love them too.
I instinctively felt a pull to bring women along with me, to introduce them to something that I found therapeutic, empowering, tough, rewarding and meaningful. I wanted to introduce them too breathtaking views, camaraderie, teamwork and nature. I want these women to feel pride for themselves. I want them to feel like they are apart of something, because they are! I want them to have a genuine space where they can push themselves even if they stumble along the way. (Or in Erica’s case, run into a fallen tree that was split in half and the gap was over the trail, but she ran into it anyway!) 😉 All joking aside, this is a no judgement group, we have fun, we laugh A LOT, we talk and we listen.
The beginning of our hike, I loved Cindy’s sweatshirt that started off our day with some Good Vibes! Crossing streams and helping each other find the stable rocks! Seeing all of the teamwork that these women naturally do is always a great feeling. Alison and Katelyn’s first hike with Her Hike Collective was a success! It was also Julie’s first hike with us, I am so happy you all came! Grier and Hayley were friends before the hike and I am happy that they both signed up to come together! We got to see a few guys repelling and then rock wall climbing back up. You will see further down this post all of the women laying down to see over this rock to watch them climb back up. Our group, all eleven of us! This was our biggest hiking group so far and six of these women were hiking with us for the first time. Then, I gave everyone the option of getting close to the edge for their own portrait! Hiking and getting to these beautiful views should always be celebrated in my opinion! Everyone watching the rock wall climbers below them!
Follow our hashtag #herhikecollective to see more of our hikes and contact me if you would like to sign up for future hikes!