Beginning in elementary school, girls are taught to be quiet, behave, and work hard. They are praised for being perfect and simultaneously conditioned to avoid risks and mistakes. However, risk-taking and failure are essential for building confidence. Repeatedly in studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, while women underestimate both. The confidence gap is clear.
Alta Trails seeks to create a fun and safe space for girls to be adventurous. On our trips, the girls are responsible for cooking meals, setting up tents, filtering water, carrying group gear, and all the other camp necessities. In the woods, there are no hourly schedules, so we can take the time to teach rather than to do for them. The girls are encourage to take risks and try new things, and we practice “Challenge By Choice” so that nobody is forced beyond their individual limits.
Each group consists of 8 girls and 2 adult women staffers. We cap the group size at 10 women total to comply with the local backcountry permit requirements. At least one staffer is certified in Wilderness First-Aid and all are certified in CPR/AED/First-Aid for youth and adults. Our staffers are compassionate, kind, responsible, and quite goofy.
Each trip departs from the home base site (in either Arlington, Richmond, or Durham) on Friday afternoon at 3:00PM. Before the vans depart, the staff goes through each girls pack with her to ensure she has all the essentials and not too much unessential weight. We then drive to the trailhead, hike a tiny bit to our first campsite, cook dinner, set up camp, and hangout.
In addition to learning backpacking skills, Alta Trails trips also incorporate a few semi-structured reflection sessions throughout the weekend. These take many forms: journaling, conversation, silent hiking, yoga, storytelling around a campfire, etc. The goal is that not only will girls take risks exploring nature, but they’ll also spend a little time exploring their own thoughts and beliefs.
On Saturday, we hike at a leisurely pace, enjoy cool spots along the trail, and arrive to camp with enough time to rest or hangout until dinner. Then the girls cook dinner again, weather-permitting we gather around a campfire, then head to sleep once again. Sunday, we pack up, hike out, and depending on timing….there may be some warm pizzas waiting for us at the end. 🙂
Check out the roughly estimated schedule below, and please let me know if you have any questions!
TO REGISTER: Click the Registration tab at the top of the page.
Drop-off is Friday afternoon at 3:00PM at the home base for the weekend in either Arlington, Richmond, or Durham. Specific location: TBA
Pick-up is Sunday afternoon at 2:00PM at the same location.
Day 1: Friday
3:00PM – Gather in Arlington, Richmond or Durham to distribute gear and pack.
4:00PM – Drive to trail head.
5:30PM – Hike short distance to first campsite. Set up camp.
7:00PM – Eat dinner. First Trail Talk session.
9:00PM – Feeling check. Bed.
Day 2: Saturday
7:30AM – Wake up. Pack up camp. Eat breakfast.
9:30AM – Hike, take breaks, enjoy views, sing songs, play games
12:30PM – Eat lunch. Second TrailTalk session.
1:30PM – Hike some more.
4:30PM – Arrive to second campsite. Set up camp. Snacks.
5:30PM – Free Time/Yoga/Meditation/Relax/Rest period.
6:30PM – Camp chores. Eat dinner. Campfire.
8:00PM – Final Trail Talk session
9:00PM – Feeling check. Star-gazing. Bed.
Day 3: Sunday
7:00AM – Wake up. Pack up camp. Eat breakfast.
8:30AM – Hike few miles to car.
11:00AM – Drive back to Arlington, Richmond, or Durham.
12:30PM – Eat lunch. Unpack. Wash group gear.
2:00PM – Depart in peace.