An international outdoors group has launched a local chapter in Halifax and is calling on all women to get involved.
Women Who Explore is a community of women dedicated to encouraging other women to get outdoors regardless of experience and athleticism.
The group's co-founder Lindsay MacNevin says she started Women Who Explore with her sister Jenny MacNevin in 2016 after an unfortunate hiking experience in Western Canada.
She says it was one of her first hikes in the mountains, and wearing her child's backpack and a pair of sneakers made her stand out from the more seasoned hikers.
"We came across a group of about six women who all had the best gear... they looked us up and down like we didn't belong there," MacNevin says. "My sister and I had never felt that kind of intimidation factor before in the outdoors and thought about how many other women must feel like that too."
The idea of a welcoming adventure group quickly became reality, and it grew fast.
Women Who Explore now has more than 23 local chapters across Canada, and has 190 ambassadors in countries across the world, including the United States, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands.
"It's an important community because there is this perception that you have to be a super athlete to go outdoors," she says. "We are showing women you don't have to be a marathon runner or ice climber. Average women can get outside and enjoy their time there too."
MacNevin says empowering women in the outdoors transfers into everyday life.
"There is something to be said about feeling more confident in yourself outside and being able to make connections with other women," she says. "It is all about collaboration and not competition."
Each of the chapters organizes at least one affordable outing a month which is planned through various Facebook groups.
Halifax's first outing is scheduled for Sunday, March 24 when the group will hike part of the Pennant Point Trail, off of Crystal Crescent Beach.
Brenda Grady got the role of Halifax's ambassador after a trip to Iceland last August with Women Who Explore.
"I was nervous going to Iceland because I didn't know anyone but we connected almost immediately," she says. "I want to help build a supportive community here where women of all skill levels and backgrounds can come together and get active and explore."
She says aside from getting outside, Women Who Explore helps people connect.
"It brings together two very important things in life, friendship and nature," she says.
Grady says she has high hopes for the group and says she is always open to adventure ideas.
"I'm sure there are lots of things around here that even I haven't done so I would love suggestions about places to explore," she says.
Grady says the monthly outings will always be free or at a low cost to make it as inclusive as possible.
To learn more about Women Who Explore: Halifax or to get involved join its Facebook page.