As a busy woman running around, often feeling like a big hot mess, I find that I never really realize the influence I have on my friends to get outside. Whether I sit at my desk, run after my 4-year-old or try to keep my house organized while running an ever growing non-profit, all I can think is: When will I get out on a hike again?

And then it happens

That magical day comes when a window of opportunity opens and I can head to the trail. And every time I get back from a hike, I want to bottle that feeling and share it with all of my friends, mama or not. I want every woman to experience the freeing feeling that comes with hiking. The magic of the forest, the presence of my breath as my chest lifts and falls, the slight burn in my legs as I head uphill and then down again. It’s magical and, for me, there’s nothing else like getting out deep into the forest, even if it’s just for a brief moment in time.

10K Women Trail Project by Shanti for Hike it Baby

This desire to get more women on trail is where the idea for the 10,000 Women Trail Project came from. A few of us at Hike it Baby realized the impact we have on getting women around us outside. We recognized that it was time to help show women their sphere of influence.

I am probably one of the more extreme examples of this. I started Hike it Baby because I wanted to hike with friends. While I knew I could hike alone, I also knew I didn’t want to. It was more fun when I shared the experience and explored with a friend. I also knew I was more likely to get my butt out the door and try out a new trail if someone was counting on me to show up.

Building community one woman at a time

The 10,000 Women Trail Project is an opportunity for each of us to see our sphere of influence right around us and how, when we hike and invite a friend, it gets all of us outside. Through an amazing grant from REI #ForceOfNature, we have created tools on www.10kwomentrailproject.org to help all women, mama or not, get outside and log those hikes and count up the friends who come along.

The Project is simple: Plan a hike or two every month and invite a friend, then record that hike and how many women joined you. If you join someone else’s hike, they may be claiming you, so you can bring another friend along and be an influencer as well.  So whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, a hardcore hiker or a beginner who doesn’t own hiking shoes, this is a project for you. We invite every woman and girl to participate and get on trail with us.

10K Women Trail Project by Shanti for Hike it Baby

It’s a collective experience where we all benefit when we come together and support each other. Hiking is about connecting with nature and when we do it together and share the experience, we all benefit.

We are incredibly excited about 2018 and the path we are walking. There are big things coming, so keep checking back with Hike it Baby. And if you can support us by volunteering, sharing information, funding us or just going out on a hike, we welcome you. We’re all in this together and it’s only as a unified force that humankind will thrive, grow and learn to find our place more readily in nature. Thanks for getting your family and community into the outdoors. Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you on the trail.

-Shanti Hodges, Hike it Baby Executive Director and Founder

Anyone can register for the Project, whether they are part of Hike it Baby or not. Simply go to www.10KWomenTrailProject.org and sign up. Once you log hikes, you will be entered to win cool prizes every month. It’s that easy! Think about friends you can invite to register and get hiking. The project goes through September 1, 2018.

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