A conversation between Nicole Brown and Hydro Flask:
Hydro Flask: How did Women Who Hike (WWH) start?
Nicole: Women Who Hike started out as a hashtag on social media. A few months later, we had a website, a membership program and started hosting group hikes. Today we are hosting about 20 group hikes per month, mostly in the US and Canada, and we have nearly 100 Facebook groups to help connect Women Who Hike all over the world.
Hydro Flask: What are the driving values behind the organization?
Nicole: We have a saying at Women Who Hike: “we are better together.” This is eminent at group hikes and within our Facebook groups – women are there for each other to help each other become more aware and more experienced hikers. We are also getting more involved with advocacy work through our relationships with Leave No Trace and 1% For The Planet. We know the impact that our social media presence is having on the trails, so we feel a responsibility to educate our audience about how to give back to the environment and how to leave these places better.
Hydro Flask: How can someone join?
Nicole: Our membership allows for us to further connect with our community. When you become a member, you get our Women Who Hike patch and sticker. It is a one-time fee of $16 and with that you get our emails with all of our group hike and event information. Most of our events are kept private in order to ensure hiker safety. You can also join any of our Facebook groups which are closed (also for hiker safety); the links to each one can be found on our website, womenwhohike.com.
Hydro Flask: How widespread is WWH now?
Nicole: This year we will start to grow more internationally. It is something we get asked about a lot, and it will be an area of focus in 2019 to bring more women together outside of the US. We are also starting to get involved in international trips and trekking and we will do our second and third trips to Kilimanjaro this year.
Hydro Flask: The hikes are led by WWH ambassadors. How can someone become an ambassador?
Nicole: Most of our group hikes are hosted by a Women Who Hike ambassador and we also co-op with some of the organizations and brands we work with. We like for our ambassador team to really know our community and align with our values, so we first ask that the person be a member for at least three months. Many of our ambassadors are members who we have met at group hikes. Additionally, all of our team has and is required to get their Wilderness First Aid Certification to lead group hikes.
Hydro Flask: How do you see the organization evolving in the future?
Nicole: I’ve always said that Women Who Hike isn’t about me, so this is always a tough question to answer. Many of the things that we have done and still do today are things that have been asked of us by our community. Women Who Hike is truly a community-led organization; so much of our growth and new things that we do is be dependent upon what we are asked to do by our members, followers and ambassador team.
Hydro Flask: What are you most proud of in relation to WWH?
Nicole: There really is nothing more rewarding than getting to see these women come together at group hikes. We just returned from a group hike in South Dakota where we had 45 women come from all over the state and also from out of state. The eagerness to connect with one another, the craving of community, that is why Women Who Hike is what it is today, because of the women who want to be a part of something, a part of us, and I am just proud to be a vessel for that.