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Serendipity is defined as a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise”.
Six years ago, I created Trail Dames, a hiking club for women of a curvy nature. As it grew and grew, we went on to add The Summit-a hiking and backpacking conference for women that is now in its third year. Along the way, thousands of women from all over the country have found their paths crossing through Trail Dames, The Summit and our mutual love of the outdoors.
So what does this have to do with serendipity, you ask?
Imagine four women in the woods…Carla from New Orleans and myself from Atlanta, hiking south on the Appalachian Trail. Regina, a ridge runner, and Renee, who walked over 850 miles to get to this impromptu meeting.
We all already knew each other. Carla and Regina were guest speakers at the Summit last year. They have both committed themselves to creating organizations focused on getting women outdoors and empowering themselves. Regina is also a ridge runner for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and a Hike Leader for the Trail Dames. Renee, now known as Pathfinder, is a woman from Ohio who had come to the very first Summit two years ago. She had never backpacked before then, and now she is over 850 miles into a 2,200-mile northbound thru hike. Oh, and she is also a Trail Dame. How cool is that?!
Here we were, two days walk from the nearest road, meeting in the woods. We sat in a circle, making our dinners on small backpacking stoves and smiling as we shared stories. Carla and Renee prepared special freeze dried desserts from their backpacks and we comfortably stretched out and talked as the sun started to go down. I looked around and realized that I was so proud to be a part of this. To know these amazing women, to be so comfortable out here in the woods, and to share in something that we all love so much. It really was magic.
And as far as serendipity goes, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Want to meet these women and find your own outdoor community? Check out these links: