In August 2010, Jessa Davis of River City Canoe and Kayak and Karen Tuell of The Trail Store started Outdoor Women of Louisville. Envisioned as a way for women to experience outdoor activities in a relaxed and welcoming environment, the group has ballooned to 120 members in just a few months.
With a wide and active schedule of events, it is hard to judge what has been the most popular to date. According to Karen, as many as 18 women have attending kayaking outings on the Ohio River and Harrods Creek. "The Waterfront Wednesday paddling trip was especially popular," she says, "where a group of women paddled up to the free music event at Waterfront Park, held monthly throughout the summer."
The group is administered through meetup.com and offers local and out-of-state trips. One exciting opportunity, Karen says, was "a weekend trip to North Carolina which included 'all skills levels' kayaking/whitewater classes by Anna Levesque, the number one authority on kayak instruction for women." Another popular trip involved zip-lining in Brown County, Indiana.
Other OWL members meet regularly at EP Tom Sawyer Park for trail running and for hikes at places like Cherokee Park. Upcoming, is an OWLS-only Social, February 18th, at Molly Malone's pub (St.Matthews) to discuss ideas for upcoming trips and share past adventures.
Also featured is a rare opportunity to meet Andrew Skurka, who will present a recap of his 6 month long, 4700 mile Alaska-Yukon trip Tuesday February 22, and a Lightweight Backpacking Skills and Gear Clinic Wednesday February 23, both at 7 pm at The Trail Store. Andrew is a modern day explorer who will be showcased in the March issue of National Geographic magazine.
Why no guys? "Some women are just more comfortable trying new things in the company of other women. I think they feel less self-conscious if they fall flat on their face in a group of women as opposed to looking foolish in front of the opposite sex." Having done many foolish things in front of women, I can relate....
Joining is easy. "Any women interested in joining our group can just look up 'Outdoor Women of Louisville Adventure Meet Up' on meetup.com/louisville!"
Alas, being a guy, I can't offer any first-hand reports of their trips, but they all sound like fun.
Photo: Karen Tuell