GO! Girls Outdoors

A resource for women in Outdoor Education and Recreation

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Gear Resources
Gear manufacturers have realised that lots of women like the outdoors and they're different shapes from men. Here's what's out there, and where you can buy it.

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Travel Resources
A selection of travel resources especially for women who love to travel. Includes a list of online communities if you do it yourself, or companies if you need a little help.

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Surfing Resources
Listed here are some links to resources from all over the world that cater to women who love surfing.

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Hiking Resources
Extended walks are great for the mind and spirit and lots of women love to take part in them. Check out these resources and get inspired to go on a walking adventure.

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Snow Sports

Snow Sports Resources
Skiing, snowboarding, backcountry, polar expeditions - all done in the snow and all done by lots of amazing women.  Check out these resources to find out more...

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Kayaking Resources
White water, surfing, sea kayaking, sprint racing, marathon racing, multisport, fishing...is there anything you can't do from a kayak? Explore these resources!

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Cycling Resources
A list of resources for all sorts of cycling - mountain biking, road biking, touring, racing, recreation and commuting - all specific to women.

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Climbing Resources
Women can (and have) achieved incredible things in climbing. Listed in this section are a collection of climbing and moutaineering resources that are useful and inspiring for all climbers.

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A list of organisations that cater exclusively to women, or run trips exclusively for women. A great way to find a women-specific adventure in your area.

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Outdoor Industry

Outdoor Industry Resources
Looking for resources to help you plan programs, companies and organisations that cater for women or organisations you can join? Look no further...

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I used to think that Alcatraz was an odd sort of name for the fenced enclosure that my grandparents built to keep their golden retriever out of the vegie patch.  I never particularly liked history at school and am therefore pretty ignorant about the most obvious of historical facts unless they directly impact on me.  I’m often quite embarrassed by my ignorance of all things historical, and I was more than a little embarrassed when Dave had to explain that Alcatraz wasn’t just a funny name for a dog enclosure but one of the most famous prisons in American history. 

Alcatraz Island is a short boat ride from San Francisco.  The island has a rich and tn_P3080262.JPGvaried history, it wasn’t just a federal prison but also a lighthouse, military fort and military prison - it became a national recreation area in 1972 and is now a historic park operated by the National Park Service.  The name comes from the first bloke to chart the San Francisco Bay, who named it “La Isla de los Alcatraces” - island of the pelicans.  This is now shortened to Alcatraz Island, just Alcatraz, or simply The Rock.

tn_P3080272.JPGAlcatraz sits in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, which I’ve written about before (go here to read the blog entry).  The strong currents and cold water of the bay make Alcatraz an ideal place for a prison and there were very few inmates who ever tried to escape, even fewer who managed to get off the island.  A couple got away and were never heard of again - maybe they perished and maybe they made it, who knows? 


I remember seeing an episode of Mythbusters where they re-enacted the most famous escape off the island, and they told us about it again when we were on the island.  A few of the inmates dug their way through the vents at the back of their cells using spoons and handmade drills.  It’s thought they did this while ‘music hour’ was on in the evenings, and they disguised the holes with cloth painted like the wall of the cell.  They eventually made a hole big enough to crawl through and one night shimmied through it into the wall cavity behind, which we could see while we were in the cell block.   There were lots of pipes they must have used to climb up to the roof, then they made their way to one of the beaches where they disappeared using flotation jackets made out tn_P3080269.JPGof raincoats.  Meanwhile the guards were in the cell blocks counting heads, unknowingly counting the fake heads that the prisoners/escapees had made out of papier-mache in arts and crafts.  The inmates were never seen again!  I think Mythbusters figured out their survival was plausible, but who knows?  They were learning Spanish so perhaps they’re somewhere in South America.  They’d be octogenarians by now, but I relish the thought of them coming on a sightseeing trip to San Francisco and going on the Alcatraz tour for a laugh.  I did see one old guy there so...

Apparently the prisoners said that the worst thing about Alcatraz was the fact that they could hear the sounds of San tn_P3080286.JPGFrancisco that drifted over the water - laughing and merry making and so on.  Such a short distance, but such a treacherous stretch of water.  Alcatraz opened as a federal prison in 1934 and closed in 1963, 29 years later.  The costs of running the place were too high so they relocated the prisoner to other, land-bound prisons.  Still, for most people the name Alcatraz is linked with the high security prison.

Thanks to my tour, I’m now able to have a chuckle about the name my grandparents gave the dog’s fenced yard, even if it is about ten years after the joke was made.  And as far as we know, the dog never escaped.

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