Tuesday, September 26, 2017

REI Outessa what a great experience!

This past weekend was a powerful weekend for me, and over 250 participates in the last REI Outessa of the year in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. 

Let me tell you all about it.  

Before I start, I would like to let you a few things about me.  First, last year was a big transformation year for me, I lost over 50lbs, gaining my self-confidence, my love of the great outdoors back, and so much more.  Secondly, you need to know that I'm not a highly sociable person, takes me a long time to get my nerve to up to talk to people.  

So last Wednesday, I started a two-day driving trek to New Hampshire.  I arrived on Thursday afternoon at my destination the Waterville Valley Resort located in the White Mountain National Forest.  The area was just gorgeous with the Fall foliage starting to come out in the Mountains.  When I arrived I a solo traveler and absolutely knew no one who was attending.  I arrived a little early, so I had a short time before registration began.  So as I was walking in, I overheard two ladies talking at a table outside one of them introduced them self from the Washington DC area.  So, I had to go over and introduce myself and let them know I was from the same area.  So, I was introduced to Ambreen (Maryland), and Mary Ellen (Long Island).  So we just started talking and walks up Sarah (Pennsylvania), and she was introduced by Mary Allen to all of us.  This is how our little tribe was formed.  

Once Registration was opened, received out camp bracelets, information about DIY camping and given a nice swag bag of goodies.  Sarah and I were the last ones to finish our registration.  So we decided to camp together, so we walked over to the DIY camping area, and started to pick out campsite.  We noticed that Mary Ellen and Ambreen where already starting to set up, so we decided to camp next to them.  So we got our packs and began to set up camp for the next three nights in the DIY Camp City.  The first night after registration we had a happy hour and campfire with Smores.

The next day, I was awake at 6am.  So I got up prepared for the day of hikes and classes.  Mary Ellen was awake also when I crawled out of my tent.  So we walked over for coffee from the Allegro Coffee Bus and breakfast started by the time we arrived over to the building.  The breakfasts for all the days were just excellent.  Sara and Ambreen joined us shortly after.  We then all split up for the day, due to we all had different events and classes on our schedules, but we would meet up for lunch and dinner.

My first event of the day was the Mountain Steam Hike at Cascade Falls Trail. We had to guides and one particular person on our trip.  Diana Van Deren, an Ultrarunner, sponsored by North Face who has won various races over the years and overall lovely lady to talk to.  Anyway, she made the 5-mile hike memorable with tips and socialization did with all of us.  The hike had great views and beautiful waterfall to take pictures of.

We got back for lunch which was make yourself sandwiches or salads, plus brownies for dessert.  Then it was off to afternoon classes that included Map and Compass Basics, and Outdoor Tool Maven with Leatherman.  

After the class, I went back to camp and repacked my backpack with jackets for the evening.  I tell you that the meals at this whole event were excellent and nutritious. Made of organic and whole foods.  Dinner the first night was Sirloin Beef sliced for you, salads, and vegetables.  The dessert was a pumpkin mousse that was yummy.  

Saturday, I woke up early on a cold morning to rise and shine yoga, then off to eat a quick breakfast and was off to get ready for my day.  My day started out with another hike this time I was doing Mount Tecumseh Scenic Hike a beautiful 3-mile hike.  We were supposed to summit but the groups the day before finding out it was too much for the morning session, so they cut it in half.  I was thrilled with myself; I was able to keep up with the leader the whole way through.  I wouldn't even able than a year ago; I was so happy with myself. We came back in time for lunch, and then off to our afternoon classes.  The temperatures were already in the 80's.  Drinking a lot of water and trying to stay cool the whole time.  My class in the afternoon was Wilderness Survival.  After my class, I decided to go ahead a get ready for dinner with a nice shower.  They provided us with portable showers for us to use.  I felt so much better and refreshed.  

Dinner was a surprise for all of us that night.  We were told to be in Outessa Village by 6 pm due to we go to dinner together.  We walked around the pond to our dinner location.  Were we found bowls of Clam Chowder waiting for us.  We were having a New England Clambake.  I was so excited, but also little bummed due to I know it was the last meal for us all.  But we made the most of the evening, eating the great food and enjoying the social time with everyone at tables.  The night ended back to the village with music and dancing.  What a night and will never forget it.

The next day, I was up for the rest of the ladies, so I thought, Mary Ellen was at a table eating breakfast the time I got there.  My day started with Kayaking.  I loved being on the water in my kayak.  After my kayaking, I was heading back to camp to break down my camp before my next class. But I ran into Ambreen and Mary Ellen.  Ambreen was getting ready to head back to the real world.  So we said out goodbye so she could catch her flight.  So Mary Ellen and I walked over and broke down camp and walked around the Village before we split up for our next classes.  My class we Hydration 101 class with Osprey.  Great Class and useful information.  After lunch, I had my last class, First Aid in the Wilderness.  Sarah then said her goodbyes to both Mary Ellen and myself.  Shortly after that Mary Ellen and I said our goodbyes and off we were off.  

What a fabulous weekend and great friendships that were made, I the only thing I was thinking about on my long drive home yesterday.  I feel my transformation last year has made me a new person and this Outlessa weekend made me even stronger.  I will never forget my tribe (sisters) and this weekend. Love you, ladies, a lot all ready.  Sweaty, Dirty, and happy we all were.