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We are now a week into the Get Out More Women’s Edition tour and it’s been absolutely amazing. Starting our tour in Conway, New Hampshire we have traveled to Chicago in just over a week. In that time we have visited Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois. Stopping in Ohio for our first presentation, Benchmark Outfitters hosted 53 enthusiastic Women. Because our first presentation wasn’t structured like our typical presentations moving forward, it allowed us to be creative, which worked out impeccably well.
After Ohio we traveled to Kentucky to camp in Mammoth Cave National Park campground. With a few days free before our next event in St. Louis, Missouri we decided to participate in two guided tours of Mammoth Cave and hit the trails ,above ground, for some hiking. Having arrived to the park in the afternoon, weather conditions were less than favorable with several severe thunderstorms and heavy rain threatening our campsite for the following 24 hours. That night we spent our first night in the Hilleberg Keron 4 GT tent which, without fail, kept us warm and dry. Due to the rain we had ample opportunity to hone our presentation while visiting a local Library the following morning. Eventually the sun came out and we hit the trail in our HI-TEC Altitude hiking boots to explore the areas around the visitors center. Stretching our legs, it was hard to imagine we would be 125 plus feet below the surface the following day.
Morning slowly came as anticipation quickly built to catch our bus to participate in the Domes and Dripstones cave tour. This tour highlighted some of the parks only stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and a particular feature named Frozen Niagara. At only $12 for three quarters of a mile it was absolutely magical and worth the guided experience. Our second cave experience named the Violet City Tour was three miles and roughly three hours long. With 40 participants and only 10 lanterns to illuminate our way, we experienced the cave system the way it was first discovered as well as viewed some artifacts left by those who explored these caves since before the early 1800’s.
Monday morning came and we packed up our vehicle to hit the road once again. Leaving Kentucky with ample knowledge we shifted our mindset to the next adventure. St. Louis, Missouri was just a few hours away and with plans to visit the Gateway Arch we were excited. Nearing East St. Louis, we remembered one of our tour guides mentioning a worthwhile stop to see the Kahokia Mounds State Historic Site. The key feature was Monks Mound, the largest prehistoric earthwork in America! Less than a week into our tour and another beautiful place checked off our list.
Continuing into St. Louis we crossed the Mississippi River, parking our car along the levy. With the Gateway Arch towering above us we entered to main building to arrange our ride, via tram, to 637 feet in the sky. As we entered the transportation pods and ascended the arch you could feel the gentle sway with the wind. Standing in the observation area the views of the city were incredible. Feeling humbled by the incredible engineering marvel we stood within made it hard to leave such an American treasure.
The following day we spent our morning practicing for our first official presentation as practice makes perfect. By four PM we were on the floor setting up at the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood, Missouri, soon to host roughly two dozen ladies. We felt we gave an informative and exciting presentation with ample laughs and informative women’s specific tips being traded. As an added bonus we were joined by two of Rebecca’s College friends, there to cheer us on.
With our first week behind us our minds race with all the adventure that lies ahead. With presentations scheduled for Chicago, Illinois and Bloomington, Minnesota in the next week we can’t wait to share more! Follow us on any one of our social media feeds; FaceBook, Twitter, Flicker, Instagram, and of course Backpacker.com/WomensEdition!
Samantha & Rebecca
Women’s GOM Team