Women’s Adventure Club of Sewickley encourages year-round outdoor activity

Thursday, October 31, 2019 | 1:30 PM

No matter if there’s rain, snow or sleet, a group of Sewickley-area women will be headed outdoors this winter to breathe in the fresh air, converse with their neighbors and get exercise hiking or biking through area trails.

The Women’s Adventure Club of Sewickley, launched a little more than a month ago by Leetsdale resident Lindsay Gibson, gives ladies in the area a chance to explore the outdoors together while making connections with other women of all ages from the community.

Whether they’re taking a hike in Sewickley Heights or McConnells Mill, or venturing on a bigger monthly excursion to fat bike or Nordic ski in the snow, the club is about giving women a chance to do something for themselves, while connecting with nature and their peers, Gibson said.

“I feel connected to something bigger than myself. I feel just calm and peaceful. It’s a complete different energy,” Gibson said of the time she spends outdoors. “Then when I come off the trail, I’m like in my highest mood of just complete joy. Totally energized. It’s a total mood-booster.”

Gibson, who moved to Leetsdale with her family a little over a year ago, came up with the idea for the club after living in Anchorage, Alaska, for seven years.

While there, she joined an outdoor women’s group that took her outside regularly for adventures, where women went fat biking across a frozen lake or glacier or hiking in the summer.

“It was so valuable and so meaningful and I feel like I experienced the greatest sense of well-being that I’ve experienced because I was getting outside,” she said.

On the trails, she had deep, meaningful conversations with other women, where they truly got to know each other.

When Gibson moved to the Sewickley-area, she spent her first year exploring the outdoors on her own. She used books and apps on her phone to find new areas to explore. She went as a far as Moraine State Park and the Laurel Highlands.

But she wanted to share that experience with other women.

Partnering with Fern Hollow Nature Center, she set up a table at their annual fall festival in September and launched the adventure club.

The membership group has about 10 women so far.

What she’s heard from the women who have joined thus far is that they didn’t want to spend another Pittsburgh winter inside like last year. Coming here from Anchorage, she was surprised how grey Pittsburgh is and how people here often stay inside when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

The adventure group — which has a six month, annual or drop-in rate — has weekly activities to get women outside. They go on hikes and bike rides. Once a month, Gibson plans to host a larger activity.

Even in the rain or snow, she doesn’t plan to cancel. They will dress for the occasion and head out on their adventure.

Jessica Cindrich, 45, of Leet, was one of those moms who was dreading another cold and gloomy Pittsburgh winter.

She scrolled through Instagram when a post for the club popped up.

“It was like a light from heaven shining on me,” she said. “I was like, ‘Yes! Sign me up!’”

The stay at home mom, who has spent the last few years highly involved in the Osborne Elementary HSA, was looking for a way to pass the time this winter.

She loves that she gets to be outside, exercise and talk to other moms.

“I call it Girl Scouts for grownups,” she said. “You feel safe, but also courageous. It’s adventurous.”

Spending time exploring the outdoors also boosts women’s confidence, Gibson said. Some no longer become afraid to hike alone.

The group of women are accepting and you don’t have to come with a friend to join, she said. And if you don’t have the right gear, that’s OK. A lot of the ladies joining the group are buying new cold wear so they’ll be ready for whatever this winter may bring.

“I think they’re ready to feel different about winter and they are trusting me to get them out there,” she said.

For more on the Women’s Adventure Club of Sewickley, visit adventureclubsewickley.com.