ASDT Rendezvous in the Desert
The weekend of April 14-17 I participated in And She's Dope Too's very first rendezvous in the scenic Moab area and I had an unforgettable experience. What stood out to me the most from my trip wasn't the places I saw (which were beautiful) or the things that I did (which were, admittedly, rad) it was the inspiring and amazing women I met.
The rendezvous took place in the middle of the desert and a majority of the women were going to stay in the same group campground. This means that I was going to spend almost every waking moment of the weekend with 100 women whom I had never met. This was really scary for me. When you get 100 women together cliques are bound to form right? Actually, that couldn't be more wrong! Every person I met was kind and encouraging no matter what their skill level was at any given activity. Some of these women were ultrarunners or seasoned mountain bikers and they were hanging back to help and cheer on first timers.
The weather was pretty dismal but that didn't once get in the way of the group's fun as everyone had a great attitude. Shortly after arriving to camp and registering I set up my tent and put everything inside: my clothes, food, gear, and books. It was gusty and there was quite a bit of sand blowing around camp and I naively thought that the tent would keep most of that sound out. However, after an hour or so of socializing I went into my tent to grab something and to my shock there was a layer of sand on and in everything. It looked as if the contents of my tent had been sitting in an untouched attic for 200 years. This wind and sand plagued us the entire weekend and rendezvous-ers were often stepping out of the tent to shake out a sleeping bag but everyone did so with a smile. Or maybe those were grimaces, I will never know!
The first afternoon our whole group, all 100 of us, headed to Corona Arch for a hike. It was a nice 3 miles and while it had rained earlier in the day by the time we arrived to the trailhead the rain had let up and the trail was mostly dry. Corona Arch was beautiful. It comes into view along the trail well before you arrive so it looks small from a distance. Then as you near it you realize how tall it is! We spent some time hanging out under the arch, resting, eating, snapping photos, goofing off and above all, just appreciating the landscape around us.
The first day ended at McStiff's in downtown Moab. We crammed into their upstairs space and participated in icebreakers and mingled with one another. The night ended with a raffle that had some sweet prizes. The ASDT sponsors were very generous! I hit the pillow hard after a long first day and before I knew it the sun was up and a new day was beginning!
After a chilly sunrise yoga sesh and a hefty brunch from Denny's I met up with my new friend Christina and we headed to Dead Horse Point State Park for the afternoon. While it has an unfortunate name the spot is jaw-dropping. Dead Horse Point overlooks the Colorado River from atop 2000' cliffs. A rough trail winds its way around the rim and just when you think you've seen the canyon from every angle you possibly could another one comes into view. Once again the weather was lackluster with overcast skies and even a few flurries but that didn't take away from the fact that Dead Horst Point is beautiful!
After our time at Dead Horse Point Christina and I met back up with the group for a second group hike to Negro Bill Canyon. The hike is 4.6 miles and the trail weaves its way through willow and cottonwood trees along a stream that requires multiple crossings. These crossings left more than a couple women with soaked feet from loose stepping stones (yours truly being one of them!)
Despite our soaking socks the hike was a blast and we were even in for a little extra treat! Our final hike culminated at the base of Morning Glory Arch and to our surprise a couple of men were repelling down from it! I highly doubt they anticipated such a large and enthusiastic crowd watching them repel when they set out for Morning Glory that day but they had 100 women clapping and cheering for them when they touched down!
Again, a HUGE thanks to Jenn and Taylor at And She's Dope Too for organizing such a kick-ass rendezvous. It was only their first one and they did such a thorough job arranging for permits and making sure that everyone felt welcome and included at all times. I couldn't be happier that I attended and had the privilege of meeting and getting to know so many dope women (and man!) I can't thank Jenn and Taylor enough for all of the hard work and soul they poured into this event and into ASDT every single day. They are truly inspiring!