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Roam the Woods: Empowering Women in the Backcountry

Roam the Woods was a co-founded by Todd Soprych and Rosie Enos. Todd completed the Appalachian Trail in 2008 and had sought new adventures in the form of dog mushing in Bend, OR. Rosie had spent five years in the wilderness therapy field and found herself taking care of a hundred Alaskan Huskies alongside her soon to be business partner. In the summer of 2009, after the dog sled season, we started collaborating and sharing stories about various backcountry pursuits. After guiding a weight loss backpacking trip in the Redwoods State Park, Todd’s wheels begin turning. He came across female clients that were venturing out on these trips not for weight loss but to learn about backpacking. This started a long conversation about the need to get more women out in the woods. Even on long distance trails, like the Appalachian Trail, the number of men grossly outweighs that of women. It seemed like the more women we talked to it became clear that women weren’t going out into the backcountry partly due to fear. We wanted to create a company to give women the foundational skills needed to go out on their own outdoor adventures combating fear with self-reliance and confidence. We want women to understand the realistic fears of embarking on an outdoor adventure and to have the assurance that if a situation arises while on trail they are equipped to handle it. This is where Roam the Woods was born. The small start up costs offered a low risk and a shared vision became a reality.

Todd & Rosie

Roam the Woods offers one and two week, women specific backpacking trips across the U.S. National Parks and Wilderness areas are utilized as the “classroom” as well as the “playground”. Trip sizes are kept small, the maximum for most Roam trips being 8 participants. The main thing we emphasize is “learning by doing” as well as in Todd’s words “It’s not about the miles, it’s about the smiles.” An excursion out into the wilderness should be fun and empowering at the same time! Daily hiking mileage is kept on the lower side and all Roam clients are active participants in their trip. We want our clients to walk away with the outdoor skills and confidence to embark on their own solo adventure or plan an outdoor trip with friends.

The creation of Roam the Woods offered up the potential opportunity to share our love of the woods with others. The one thing we have done right is keeping our vision alive; backpacking plays a large part in both our lives so the opportunity to continue sharing and helping others is a great motivator. We create unique and empowering trips, where our clients are full participants. They walk away with a meaningful experience they can share with others, a true adventure! Now in the second year of business Roam is offering a full trip schedule in various locations across the East, West, and a one week trip out to the Porcupine Mountains in the Michigan! This year we are working on offering low-cost or free seminars in areas we will be traveling to this summer. This allows us another outlet to share our passion and knowledge about long distance hiking and backpacking with others, as well as become a resource for the hiking community.

Toad roamingOne of the big struggles we have found is the best way to target our peak audience. You can have a great idea but if no one is there to take your trips, the idea is only a great idea. Marketing is a fine line, working with a smaller budget we can’t afford to market extravagantly. We are constantly figuring out the best way to access the audience that would benefit from our trips that we offer, while keeping our marketing budget reasonable. We are giving ourselves five years to get a solid foundation under ourselves and build a clientele base as well as a good reputation in the outdoor community. Building wonderful trips is the easy part, finding those people who would love to join us on those trips can be a different story. We can’t cater to one size fits all nor are we an essential need for people at this time. Rarely do our potential female clients jump on the internet and search for “learning backpacking vacations” or “two week backpacking adventures” to fill their limited free time. We believe the need is out there, it is the fine balancing act of figuring out where we can place ourselves in the virtual world so our clients can find us, as well as finding home bases to advertise out of in the areas where we run trips.

We are still learning a lot as new business owners and taking past work experiences into account so we can avoid at least the “easy” business mistakes. We are keeping things simple with a goal of providing the highest quality backpacking trips possible. Roam is working towards getting accredited in the next several years through the Association for Experiential Education. This keeps us constantly looking towards what we can do next to create programming that we feel is affordable as well as worth it. You can check out Roam’s mission, trips, and awesome guides at www.roamthewoods.com. Until then, keep roaming the woods.

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One Response to “Roam the Woods: Empowering Women in the Backcountry”

  1. Amanda says:

    This sounds really neat!!!!

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