Embracing Empowerment and Adventure in Utah: A Journey of Friendship and Nature

Embracing Empowerment and Adventure in Utah: A Journey of Friendship and Nature

By Mona Kelly, AdventureWomen, Operations Manager

Utah Adventure 2024

Utah had always been a dream destination for me, but little did I know just how much it would shape and empower me. Spending a week with 13 amazing women was an adventure in itself, but what unfolded in the canyons and trails of Utah transformed this trip into an unforgettable experience for me.

Conquering Fears Through Canyoneering
I was lucky to recently join Utah: Zion & Bryce Multisport,  one of our shorter, domestic trips with other AdventureWomen guests.  Our week included an adrenaline-pumping introduction to canyoneering, which was a completely new experience for most of us. The thought of squeezing through narrow slots, rappelling down cliffs, and splashing through icy water initially seemed daunting. There were nerves and hesitant smiles all around–myself included– but the spirit of encouragement quickly took over. With each other’s support, we geared up and dove headfirst into the canyon.

For those who doubted themselves at first, canyoneering turned out to be a game-changer. Pushing through fears and challenges became a collective victory and pride. Before we knew it, canyoneering had become a highlight of our trip. What’s next for me? As the mother of a 14-year-old athletic boy, I’ve already secured a canyoneering adventure for us in my native France!

The Healing Path of Hiking Through Nature
Utah’s natural beauty literally left me speechless as I trekked along with the entire AdventureWomen group through Zion and Bryce National Parks. With an average of 18,000 steps a day, I immersed myself in the awe-inspiring landscape. The sweeping vistas weren’t just a treat for the eyes; they were a reminder of nature’s magic. Each step, though challenging at times, brought a profound sense of peace and fulfillment. One of the surprising highlights of this trip for me was stumbling upon a soon-to-be-wed couple and their photographer at the summit of our sunrise hike. It was pure magic witnessing the beautiful bride-to-be in her wedding gown, set against the orange hues of Canyon Overlook.

Beyond the physical exertion, hiking in these parks offered profound psychological rewards. Surrounded by nature’s embrace, far from the chaos of everyday life, I found solace and healing. As Florence Williams explores in “The Nature Fix,” the great outdoors has a remarkable ability to rejuvenate our minds and bodies, offering a sanctuary from the stresses of modern living.

UTV Adventures in Utah

UTV Adventures and Newfound Confidence
Mastering the art of driving UTVs was another highlight of this journey. While the idea of maneuvering these large rugged vehicles across challenging terrain seemed intimidating at first, I quickly found my stride. With each turn of the wheel, it seemed as if the confidence of each women grew. The thrill of conquering the UTVs filled us with empowerment and joy. Laughter echoed as we admired our dirt-covered faces post-ride, a testament to the sheer fun we had together.

The Bond of Female Friendship

The Bond of Female Friendship
One of the most rewarding aspects of our trip was the deep bond that formed among us women. Despite our diverse backgrounds, we discovered the incredible strength of female friendship. In this supportive environment, we nurtured and uplifted each other, sharing stories, laughter, and moments of vulnerability.

Gratitude for Exceptional Guides
Our guides played an crucial role in making our adventure truly extraordinary. With their expertise and boundless enthusiasm, they elevated every moment of our journey. Whether leading us through canyons, guiding hikes, or helping us master the UTVs, they ensured our safety while creating memories that will last a lifetime. As one of our group members put it, “Mandy and Heidi were the perfect guides! Knowledgeable, friendly, caring, considerate, patient. They took lots of great photos and a wonderful video we watched on our last night that made us laugh and cry. We all loved them and were so sad when it was time to say goodbye. I cannot say enough about these wonderful women!”

Nature’s Healing Power
Our trip to Utah transcended mere adventure; it was a transformative journey of healing and self-discovery. Immersed in the splendor of the natural world, I experienced firsthand the profound healing effects of nature. It served as a gentle reminder that sometimes, the greatest therapy lies in stepping outside and embracing the beauty around us. As American writer, educator, and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams justly said, “wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.”

Final Thoughts
My time in Utah with these extraordinary women left an indelible mark on my heart. Beyond the breathtaking landscapes and thrilling adventures, I returned home with a renewed sense of strength, newfound friendships, and cherished memories. Utah’s canyons and trails will forever hold a special place in my soul, a testament to the power of friendship, nature, and the joy of embracing life’s adventures.

Considering your own Utah adventure? Join us in 2025!