AFTER SUFFERING A hypoglycemic episode, my new friend Donna reaches a gushing river where the once clear path of rocks has now been submerged. “I don’t see it. I don’t see it,” she says, shaking her head, as our guide Mariana helps her across with an outstretched hiking pole. Donna forges on through the pouring rain, talking about how beautiful the turquoise lake looks on the horizon.
I’m with 12 women hiking the legendary W Trek in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park. We’re at the start of a 10-day off-the-grid Wild Women Expeditions trip. In more than a decade as a travel journalist, I never gave much thought to women’s-only adventures. And yet, as we march deeper into the vast UNESCO biosphere reserve, listening to a soundtrack of laughter, whipping winds, and Eso! Eso! cheers, I realize it’s the women making this journey at the end of the world so incredible.
Before being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes seven years ago, at the age of 50, Donna was one of those how-does-she-do-it-all types: racing bikes, raising two kids, conquering the Teton Grand Traverse, and running a successful business. “Then I lost who I was,” says Donna, whose mother also passed away suddenly a month ago. “I wanted to do a trip with women because I knew they’d be nurturing and caring. I knew you’d all be there for me.”
It was one of those stripped-down travel moments when you feel part of something bigger than yourself.
That first night on the trail, thawing in our long underwear on the cabin floor of Refugio Los Cuernos with a couple bottles of wine and a container of Pringles, we toasted to Donna’s fierce strength—and the strength of us all. It was one of those stripped-down travel moments when you feel part of something bigger than yourself.
Read the full story at https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/features/all-women-female-adventure-travel/