Lindsay Gibson moved with her family to Anchorage, Alaska, in her late 30s and quickly realized she needed to make friends with winter. As part of the Anchorage Petroleum Women’s Association, a group of women involved in the petroleum industry, she learned to Nordic ski and hike in the winter, which were both out of her comfort zone. She was hooked immediately. “I realized,” she says, “you can try new things at any point in life and discover that they can be your absolute passion.”
In moving to Pittsburgh, she began sharing her newfound love of adventuring outdoors, through all seasons, with other women…especially women who felt intimidated to get out on their own. “I felt compelled to do it,” she says. Then after researching and chatting with Gillian Schair, who founded the Ladies’ Adventure Club in Maine, Gibson knew her idea for the Women’s Adventure Club of Pennsylvania could work.
And work it does. After starting with a women’s 3-mile hike—during which she nervously read an inspirational quote she’d written on an index card stowed in her pocket—the Women’s Adventure Club has hosted 400 women, aged in their 20s to their 70s, across 250-plus events over three years on outdoor activities ranging from full-moon hikes to Nordic skiing and whitewater rafting. She still reads that note of inspiration on every outing, and still guides the hiking, biking, and most Nordic skiing outings herself. On other specialty trips, she utilizes partners for standup paddling and rafting activities, or archery and skeet shooting. She’s offered classes such as “Intro to Hiking,” and “Intro to Snowshoeing,” and this past summer, she led women’s trips section-biking the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP).
Here, Gibson shares her tips on getting more women outside in all seasons.
On the benefit of getting out of your comfort zone
It allows you to tell yourself a new story about who you are and what you’re capable of. You prove to yourself, even if you’re nervous or uncertain, that you’re going to do it anyway. You come out with resilience, strength, courage, and empowerment.