“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

women backpacking together

Backpacking: A Daunting Thought

Backpacking has always been on my bucket list. Although I’ve been an avid hiker for years, the idea of carrying a giant pack and then sleeping on the ground after a long day seemed a bit daunting. The thought of not knowing what I was doing or not having the right gear made backpacking even more intimidating. As soon as I heard about the this women’s backpacking trip for beginners through the Wine Hiking Society, I knew that was the perfect way to get started.

Two women backpacking guides

Angelique (pictured on the left) and Cindy (pictured on the right), two inspiring and skilled backpackers, led our group of 12 women backpacking newbies into Canyonlands National Park for an incredible 3-day, 2-night experience.

Minimizing Intimidation through Learning

To prepare the 12 of us to backpack, they provided us a detailed packing list, taught us how to lean forward and use our hiking poles so we wouldn’t fall over backwards with the packs, and even provided us with fancy matching backpacks, tents, and extra gear we needed.

Given that our backpacking destination in the Needles District is total desert with no water sources along the way, we had to carry 9 LITERS of water each. Let me just say, that is a lot. When just our water was weighed, it came in at a whopping 20 pounds. That made our first day with an already awkwardly large pack even harder.

But in some ways, I think that made our accomplishment more rewarding and bonded us all even more quickly.

So much gear and food to fit into this one backpack!

Wine, Whiskey, and Women: Yes, Please!

We spent our days hiking: 4.5 miles in, 9-mile hike (without our packs!) on day 2, and 4.5 miles out on the last day. Then once we came back to our secluded campsite, we would celebrate with gorgeous views and mugs of wine and whiskey. Being far away from technology and the stress of city life, the bright stars lighting up the sky at night, and the laughter from our conversations about anything and everything, made that weekend so special.

women's backpacking trip

It made me even more thankful to be able to have experiences like this with such amazing women and with such beautiful views. I’m already excited for my next trip – especially as it won’t require nearly as much water!

Takeaways from the Trail

Some of my takeaways for next time:

  • Pack Hot Hands hand warmers or body warmers to keep your sleeping bag extra warm and cozy at night
  • Package your food out by day/meal in their own Zip-loc bags. It makes the packing and unpacking easier and keeps things organized.
  • Bring more wine – because after a long day on the trail, kicking back in your camp chair with a glass of wine is pretty delightful! These Platypus wine bags are perfect!
women hiking and enjoying views

Looking for Women’s Backpacking Trip?

The WWHS has another women’s backpacking trip in the works for fall! If you are a beginner like me and aren’t sure where to start, where to go, or what gear you need, it’s SO worth it. This time, they’ve added an extra night in a condo in Moab the night before you hit the trailhead, as well as a workout guide to help people prepare. Sign up here!

Erin Mckalip, Summit County Ambassador

Erin Mckalip, Summit County Ambassador

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