April 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Becoming an Outdoor Woman

"...a weekend program chock-full of half-day classes to introduce a variety of outdoor skills to women who may not have had other opportunities to experience them"

By Karen Denison

At Home Outdoors

Karen Denison is owner of Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing guide service, a former biologist, and a shameless admirer of the outdoors.

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One of the great things about living in Santa Fe is the ease of getting outdoors and the range of activities available. I'm blessed to have grown up with that tradition of outdoor living: hiking, camping, fishing and hunting. What if you did not? How do you get started?

There are opportunities in the area. Maybe you have friends who can help get you started. Or you could take one of the workshops offered through Santa Fe Community College and shops like REI. Local hiking groups like the Sierra Club and Santa Fe Hiking Meetup also do group outings (though these may not be geared for true beginners).

One of the most interesting options for women is a non-profit program called Becoming an Outdoor Woman in New Mexico, offered annually. This is a weekend program chock-full of half-day classes to introduce a variety of outdoor skills to women who may not have had other opportunities to experience them. Participants sign up for the whole three-day weekend, select four classes and get a good sampling of some great subjects like rock climbing, backcountry first aid, shooting, hiking, map and compass skills, nature photography or camp cooking. Will participants be experts after one weekend? No, of course not, but for many gals this can be a place to start.

 

Compass Class

Dutch Oven

Photo Class

Around 100 participants and numerous instructors meet at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico for the weekend. This facility is used since its 33,000+ acres can safely host all the activities for this number of participants. The onsite lodging and dining hall mean no commuting, and that's more time for scheduled activities. The trip to morning breakfast is often interrupted by watching Mule deer (see my "other" blog here), pronghorn or wild turkeys. Occasional sightings of elk or black bear are also part of the experience.

This year's BOW is May 17-19. If you or someone you know might like a fun weekend and the chance to learn some new skills in the company of other women, see the website at www.bownewmexico.com

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