Otter Tail County women form hiking group
She Ascends, a women's hiking group, was originally started about two years prior. Now, along with the Otter Tail County chapter, there are 12 different chapters in 12 different counties.
A new group in Otter Tail County popped up about a year ago in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. She Ascends, a women's hiking group, was originally started about two years prior. Now, along with the Otter Tail County chapter, there are 12 different chapters in 12 different counties.
Otter Tail County's chapter leader Leona Cichy, 31, of New York Mills, said their chapter currently has about 10 to 12 members. Though, some chapters have as many as 100 people.
"I just really have a passion for getting people in the general outdoors," Cichy said. "I heard about She Ascends, and it just seemed like a perfect fit. I'm passionate about helping people, and they are as well."
She Ascends goes on monthly hikes. According to Cichy, Otter Tail County's chapter tends to rotate between state parks in Otter Tail County and Wadena County. They enjoy hiking the same trails at different times of the year because they can notice its differences and similarities between seasons.
Along with monthly hikes, this group offers regional meet-ups with other chapters. During one of these meet-ups, the chapters went on a day trip and learned how to make tea with natural ingredients you're able to find in Minnesota. They also had lunch together and learned how to build a campfire.
According to Cichy, She Ascends incorporates outdoor skills with self care. "It's a great way to help women get out despite experience level with the comfort of other women," she said. "It's also an opportunity to meet other women."
The first hike with She Ascends is free. After that, Cichy said it's $40 to join for a year. She believes the group is a good opportunity for women who don't want to hike alone. The hikes chosen for the group are accessible for any fitness level, she said.
The goals of She Ascends are to strengthen bodies, feed minds, calm souls and connect women to nature, each other and themselves. Eventually, the Otter Tail County chapter hopes to have overnight events.
"You don't have to be an avid hiker or mountaineer (to join She Ascends)," Cichy said. "It's a really cool thing."
For more information, you can go to their website at sheascendswellness.com or their Facebook group. There, you'll find links to their event calendar and how to become a member.