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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Boulder, Colorado

SpunhungenBoulder, Colorado is a town I heard about long before I started research for GO! Girls Outdoors.  American friends spoke with awe about the vast array of outdoor activities that could be done in and around the town.  Pick an outdoor activity and no doubt there is somewhere within a few kilometres (I should say miles) of Boulder that you can do it.  World class athletes go there to train because of the town’s high elevation, world class scholars go there to attend the University of Colorado and world class outdoors people go there because, well, it’s just great.

I was excited to be going to Colorado and in particular to Boulder.  Very early on in my research for GO! Girls Outdoors I realised that there was a lot of interesting stuff going on in Boulder for women who love the outdoors.  For a while there it seemed like every great link I found and every new organisation I uncovered was based in Boulder, Colorado.  I spammed them all and had no trouble setting up meetings for the profiles I wanted to write.  I had a week planned out in the town and I was booked up with activities and meetings, and I was very excited about that.

I left the Seattle drizzle in the afternoon after two great meetings, jumped on a plane, wrote profiles and blog entries for two hours, jumped off the plane, jumped on a bus, sat for over an hour, jumped off the bus and made my way to the GO! Girls Outdoors sponsored high class accommodation (that is, the local youth hostel).  My first impressions of Boulder were, therefore, seen through some very bleary and tired eyes and I hate to say it, but I wasn’t impressed at all.  The hostel is right near the university and the streets were full of hammered university students.  You’re only allowed to stay for 3 nights and the rooms are locked from 10am to 5pm.  The room was noisy, the bed uncomfortable and someone threw up in the bathroom during the night.  What town could possibly come back from an introduction like that?

Boulder, that’s which town can come back from an introduction like that.  Boulder is a town of firsts, forward thinking and innovative firsts.  The university, which was established in 1874, employed a female professor just four years after opening its doors.  The town was one of the first to declare an official speed limit of six miles per hour in 1904.  Thirteen years before the US enacted prohibition and nine years before Colorado went “dry”, Boulder passed an anti-saloon ordinance.  This was in 1907, also the year that Ivy Baldwin walked a 635 feet long and 582 feet high steel cable across Eldorado Canyon.  You can see that outdoor adventure started early in Boulder.

But wait, there’s more!  We’re only up to the early 1900’s!  One of the professors at the University of Colorado developed a red sunflower in 1910.  One of the earliest day-care centres in the nation was formed in 1918.  The town bought itself a glacier for part of its water supply in 1928.  The town was the first county to enact historic preservation legislation, the first in the nation to approve tax to purchase open space, the first city in Colorado to enact a smoking ban in bars and the first city in the country to replace all references to “pet owner” with “pet guardian”.  Stephen Schneider and others published the first theory of global warming in 1984.

Famous people  from Boulder include Fred C. Smith who set a world record for continuous automobile driving (104 hours and 8 minutes), the NASA astronaut Scott Carpenter and Glenn Miller who was the Big Band leader and disappeared while flying over the English Channel.  There have been four Nobel Prizes won by academics at the University of Colorado as well as countless gold medal winning athletes.  An infamous person from Boulder is Jon Benet Ramsey, the 6 year old beauty pageant queen whose murder in her home in 1996 has never been solved.

Today in Boulder you can walk along or even paddle Boulder Creek, the pretty river that meanders its way through the town.  Unless you venture out of town by a few miles you can’t buy groceries at anywhere other than Whole Foods, a grocery store where you can’t buy anything that’s not organic or unprocessed or in some other way healthy.  You can study a wide range of natural therapies, including more types of massage than I knew existed, and people come from all over the world to do so.  It seems like every second store in the pedestrian mall is a funky, trendy coffee shop or a second hand book shop.  You can get organic food and local brewed beer at every pub, fresh salads and real meat hot dogs at the takeaway places and good quality, fair-trade coffee absolutely everywhere.

After spending some time walking around Boulder, hanging out in the beautiful local library, browsing the book shops and relaxing in the coffee shops, I fell in love.  It didn’t take long - maybe a couple of hours - but the beautiful weather, good food and friendly people returned my mood to its best again and I looked forward to all the meetings I’d set up.  When I got home to the hostel that night someone had cleaned up the vomit, I moved to a new bed away from the window and slept like a log, firm in the knowledge that I was going to have an enjoyable and productive time here in Boulder.

Afterword:  Thanks to the “Boulder, Colorado 150 Years Official Guide” publication I was able to complete all my research for this article in one sitting!  With articles such as “Environmental awareness has moulded city’s development” and “Healthy foods movement had early roots in city’s history”, I was able to build up my knowledge and love affair with the town.  If you’re there on July 4 2009, make sure you attend the “Sesquicentennial Stroll” through the town.

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