In 2018, I attended REI’s Outessa women’s retreat in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. After four days immersed in outdoor activities led by expert women guides and surrounded by women outdoor enthusiasts, I was hooked on this magical feeling of connectedness, respect, and mutual excitement for activities in nature. The Outessa program was discontinued after 2018, and I sought that experience and that feeling of connection again. I tried a co-ed event in 2019 and realized that the co-ed environment didn’t fill me the way a women-only event did.
I kept searching and finally found a women-led experience that fulfilled my need and exceeded my expectations: AdventurUs Women!
AdventurUs Women’s packaged retreat allowed me to travel to a new destination and participate in outdoor sports without lugging all my equipment on the plane. The Bend Escape piqued my interest because I had never visited Oregon before, and the variety of activities offered, like snowshoeing and kayaking, were new experiences for me.
As a solo attendee who hadn’t done one of these types of trips in five years, I was a little bit nervous, but the owner, Saveria Tilden, and her team hosted a Zoom call before the event for all attendees to meet virtually and get our questions answered. I appreciated that the team took the time to make sure that we had an opportunity to get to know one another before meeting in person at the Bend Escape. The call relieved some anxiety and made me feel more comfortable with the group when I saw them in person. When I arrived, I was greeted with big smiles from staff members Halle and Nona, and I immediately knew I was in good hands.
The AdventurUs Women event had about 25 attendees and five to ten staff, perfect for everyone to get to know one another. Some of us overlapped on activities during the four days together, and I had multiple opportunities to connect with women of various ages, backgrounds, and experiences during small group excursions, group meals, and social events. A handful of attendees had participated in previous AdventurUs Women events - if they were returning for more, they MUST have gotten a taste of the magic too!
The retreat was a choose-your-own-adventure. I selected my excursions and how much I wanted to engage in the socials such as trivia, happy hour, and campfire s’mores. I am an early riser and was up for yoga and breakfast at 7 AM. There’s no “wrong” way to spend the weekend; each woman could participate as much or as little as they wanted. I participated in kayaking, standup paddleboarding, snowshoeing, and cave exploration. One thing I valued from the retreat is the education built into the weekend - our guides taught us about Oregon geology and biology. The Deschutes County Search and Rescue team also led an informative and fun trivia event!
"There’s no “wrong” way to spend the weekend; each woman could participate as much or as little as they wanted."
I love that AdventurUs Women is women-owned, run by women, and they hire local women-owned businesses for catering, wine and spirits tastings, and guides. The group size provided an intimate experience where I got to know people while at the same time offering a plethora of diversity in age, experiences, etc. I am grateful that AdventurUs Women exists - the organization is dedicated to empowering women, and I am eager to attend another event soon.