MEET: SHARRON MCBRIDE
Age / Location / Passion
26 / Hidden location in Los Padres National Forest, CA / Hiking
Also stoked about?
Full-time husky mom of 2 rescues with eyes peeled for a third
Favorite place to get outside?
My backyard, literally
What’s your story?
Let me start this off by saying that I’m not one of those crazy experienced female hikers. I only hiked up fire roads until my early 20’s. My first backpacking trip was last year + I’m just beginning to summit the larger peaks that SoCal hikers are obsessed with. I was a girl who lived in the Los Angeles region, who had a desire to get outside and explore some more of our trails.
What’s something coming up this year that you’re stoked about?
I would have to say the trips that we are doing with an all women’s outdoor adventure company, WHOATravel. We have over 30 members exploring Machu Picchu, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, + hiking Germany during Oktoberfest together. Who would not be stoked about these upcoming events?!
Who inspires you?
The Girls Who Hike LA members. They have grown to love and trust this online community that we have formed together. Every message I get from a member, whether it’s her reminding me to keep pushing forward, motivating me to continue reaching outside of my comfort zone or her thanking me for creating a community that has literally changed her life; each message usually brings a tear to my eye. These girls are my #1 inspiration. They are the reason this group exists.
Why Girls Who Hike LA? What’s it all about?
I didn’t have any girl friends to get outside + explore with. Hiking solo and with your boyfriend is fun, but nothing replaces the “girl time” a hike gives. When I created GWHLA, I simply wanted to connect with more ladies in the area who were in the same boat as me: they wanted to conquer some new trails and didn’t want to do it alone. As GWHLA has evolved over the last year, it has turned into this tight-knit community where ladies can trust in each other when it comes to updated trail information, gear recommendations, buying/selling outdoor items, safety advice, and encouragement/motivation from one female to another.
I wanted the name to be self-explanatory and when I did the research, there were no online communities labeled “girls who hike.” We now have 10 official GWH chapters all over the U.S. + over a dozen who have used our name to create their own unaffiliated chapter. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery, right?
Why is what you’re doing through Girls Who Hike LA important?
It’s fantastic networking, encourages more women to step away from the computer and explore the outdoors, and creates solid friendships. And that’s important these days because the older I personally get, the tougher it becomes for me to find solid lady friends like the women I’ve found through GWHLA. Our members are proud of our community. They see other members on the local trails all the time. I always see posts like, “I ran into these three girls on “XYZ” trail today and they were members too! Great meeting you!”
I think in this day and age, it’s truly getting harder for women to connect with other women outside of social media. If you take a look at apps such as Tinder, it’s become a norm to meet a date from social media for the first time, but I still feel like there’s a little bit of bias against women meeting other women for “girl dates.” Hitting a local trail together is the perfect way to get to know another lady, where you already have something in common, you like to hike.
What about the boys?
There are other wonderful hiking groups for that. We even heard through the grapevine that someone made a Boys Who Hike LA and a Guys Who Hike LA. I think one is poking fun at us, though. It only has posts about getting Starbucks together and stuff.
When you’re not getting outside with Girls Who Hike LA, what are you up to?
I’m inside managing the Girls Who Hike chapters. It’s my full-time job. We’re only at 9,000 members across 10 chapters but we plan to be in every state by the end of 2017. We are getting the groundwork laid out for regular group hikes in the San Francisco, Oregon + Texas chapters with Washington, New Mexico, and Arizona close behind.
In this rat race of life, what’s something that you think is really important?
Maintaining relationships with your loved ones and keeping my house a home. I take pride in making breakfast for my little family every morning and a homemade dinner every evening. I’m huge on values, traditions, my faith and my family. Regardless of where the GWHLA roller coaster takes me, I will always have my home to come back to.
What’s something that’s helped you balance adventuring + everyday responsibilities?
I’ll actually repeat some advice I heard recently during a TED Talk. Time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it. You will “find time” for what you prioritize in life.
When GWHLA really began to take off in the middle of last year, I was putting in up to 20 hours a week on the group outside of my 40 hour/week desk job. I “found time” for it because it was important to me. I prioritized it.
One Instagram account that you’re crazy about?
Favorite trail meal/snack?
When I’m not punching on Powerbar gels, Meat N Nuts jerky mixes + Frontier Bites. Meat N Nuts are the perfect mix of flavored jerky + dehydrated fruits/nuts. Frontier Bites are these bomb crunchy bites that are easy to chomp down while out on the trails.
Thanks for sharing your story with us. See you out on the trail soon.
Stranded on Land