Hello and welcome to all our Chicago area Dames! I'm Carla and I'll be your leader as we explore the Chicagoland area. I'm a big believer in the "no hiker left behind" mindset and expect to organize 1-2 hikes or other outdoor activities a month. I live in St. Charles, about an hour west of Chicago.
I did not grow up in a particularly outdoorsy family - I played sports and we were outside a lot but hiking and camping wasn't a part of my childhood. However, I did spend hours tramping through the woods outside my home, marking my own path, something I find I still like to do 35 plus years later. I came to hiking and camping later in life and have found my passion in getting other women outdoors who may not see themselves in the fit, svelte bodies of many outdoor magazines or ads or worry about being outpaced by other hiking groups. Hiking and the outdoors in general has done wonders for my self-confidence and body acceptance. Since I started hiking, I've hiked in the Smokies, Black Hills, Blue Ridge Mountains, various parts of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois, and Costa Rica. If I had a trail name, I'm sure it would include some reference to snail or smelling the roses or all my stops to take pictures. I'm way more interested in the journey and experience than I am in logging miles.
While we don't have the mountains of my beloved Smokies or Blue Ridge Mountains in Chicago, I love that within an hour of my house are several state parks, great places for birding and wildlife observing, kayaking, miles and miles of bike paths and too many forest preserve sites to count. To date, my primary trail partner has been my 12 year-old daughter and I am very passionate about empowering our younger generation of girls to get outdoors, so you will probably also see a kid friendly hike once a quarter.
I'm excited to meet you and explore the area with you, whether you a newbie or more experienced. Hike on!