REI Outessa 2017

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Last weekend, I went to my second (annual) REI Outessa, aka girls glamping weekend.  It’s a 3-day camping weekend for women where there are tons of outdoors-y classes and activities you can sign up for, lots of vendors who let you try out cool stuff, and hammock time.  Basically… it’s amazing.  I went to one of the inaugural events last year with my friends Allison and Angie.  Angie was busy galavanting through Alaska this year, but Allison and I were able to go and we had SO much fun!  They put on a few events each year, and we went to the one in Mt. Hood (specifically at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl).

A quick word on the glamping.  You can camp in a normal tent, but there are still porta potties and a shower truck, plus all of the meals are provided.  OR you can do the “Fancy Camp” if you are lucky enough to get one of the few spots.  Allison and I did it last year and loved it, so we went for it again.  REI provides big Barebones tents, cots, and a lantern.  But truly the best part this year was that every morning, our “camp hostess” had French Press coffee waiting for us at 6:15.  Because the 10-minute walk to the Allegro coffee bus was just too far.

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I spent the weekend Mountain Biking, Trail running, SUP-ing, taking Maps & Compass, taking Wilderness Survival, and a few other shorter classes/talks.  REI does an amazing job bringing in their best instructors and we are total fangirls for one of our mountain biking instructors, who we also had last year, who also lives in Denver and I may have super awkwardly stopped her at Green Mountain a few months ago while she was biking uphill and I was cruising (running) down.  They also bring in some female rockstars in the outdoors/active world, including Steph Jagger, Caroline Gleich, Vanessa Garrison (founder of GirlTrek), winemaker Sarah Cabot, and SO many others.

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I loved everything, the entire weekend, so much, but there were definitely a few highlights.  The first class that I took on Friday morning was Maps & Compass – I have been looking forward to this class for months, and could have saved us a few headaches over the past year if I had taken it earlier!  I keep saying that I want Andrew to drop me off somewhere low risk with a topo map and compass and practice triangulating my location.  This class is offered at most REIs and I definitely recommend it, and am thinking about taking the next level.  In Wilderness Survival, I learned how extremely unprepared I am on day hikes/trail runs, which I think warrants its own post once I get my emergency kit figured out.

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On Friday evening during happy hour (oh, yea, did I mention it’s all you can drink, local wine and beer?), Allison and I took part in an REI Insights workgroup where they were trying to get feedback on what brands/styles/items they should carry more/less of.  There were 3 other girls plus the REI leader, Brittani, in the group.  Afterwards, all 5 girls (sans Brittani), went down and had dinner together, followed by taking the most ridiculous group photos on the ski slope while watching the sunset behind Mt. Hood (have you seen them?).  We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out, and Brittani joined us for the mountaintop dinner on Saturday, too.  While at dinner Saturday, Brittani told us about the foraging hike/class that she did earlier in the day and we met the winemaker, Sarah, who was supplying us with some delicious pinot noirs, so Allison and I ditched the other hike we had scheduled on Sunday morning to go to hers.  The foraging part was pretty cool because there are so many berries in the Northwest (what can you even forage in Colorado?  Cacti?) and we ended the class in a meadow with some wine tasting.  We were able to taste some of the berries that flavored the wine side-by-side with the wine which was so interesting.

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Would I do it again?  Yes, definitely!  If this sounds like your kind of weekend, there are still spots open for the Waterville, NH Outessa weekend in mid-September.  AndShesDopeToo also does a few called Rendezvous, with one coming up in early September (though it’s BYO gear like bikes, yoga mats, etc.).  And if you are a guy and are still reading, or if you’d like to bring your S.O., there’s a new coed series this year called Pursuit Series with one coming up in early September as well (this one is organized by the girl that ran Outessa last year, so I can imagine that it will be just as amazing).  Are there any others that you’d add to the list?

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