Online Hiking Community Comes Together to Make a Difference on Trail
Last week, 24 members of the local online hiking community, Pacific Northwest Outdoor Women, braved the rain and near-freezing temps for a day of trail work on the Grand Ridge trail in the Issaquah Highlands.
Last week, 24 members of the local online hiking community, Pacific Northwest Outdoor Women (PNWOW), braved the rain and near-freezing temps for a day of trail work on the Grand Ridge trail in the Issaquah Highlands.
PNWOW Ambassador, Christina Hickman, arranged the group work party with the hopes of helping her fellow women hikers feel comfortable trying out something new—trail work.
"If I can help even just one person fall in love with getting covered in mud and wielding a grub hoe like I did, I'd consider it a great success," said Christina.
Christina became a part of PNWOW over two year ago, when the budding online community had just around 4,000 members. Today, the community is approaching upwards of 31,000 members with no sign of slowing down.
"This past year, Christina applied to take on a greater role within the community as a PNWOW Ambassador. As one of the 31 group Ambassadors, Christina helps monitor online posts and plan community events ranging from casual happy hours, group hikes or even weekend camping trips.
Christina discovered her own passion for trail work after a friend convinced her to join in on a WTA trip, and she's been hooked ever since. This past winter, she decided to arrange a group work party with WTA and sharing the opportunity with her PNWOW community.
"I had seen some comments on photos other women would post of their work party adventures saying things like, "I'd love to try this some time!" or "I've been wanting to do one but don't want to go alone." So, I thought, why not?" said Christina, "[the work party] filled up in less than 12 hours and we had a waitlist. I was so impressed by the readiness of the group to get out on the trail"
With a full work party, the women met up on a drizzling Valentine's Day morning in a foggy Issaquah parking lot, ready to get to work.
"I think it was so successful! Everyone expressed to me how much fun they had, despite the cold and rainy weather," Christina recalled, "I think it was super empowering too, as an all-women's work party (besides the crew leads) to be using big tools, getting covered in mud, moving heavy boulders... physical labor that has for so long been thought of as men's work... they were out there doing the same thing."
The forecast may not have been in our favor—but the crew was able to get an incredible amount of work done. They moved a lot of rocks, planted a lot of ferns, and worked to improve drainage along an old road grade.
Thank you, Christina, and all of the PNWOW members who joined us out on trail and helped us give back to these wild places.