Between Covington and Maple Valley lies Cedar Creek Park — 119 acres that have become the inspiration for a women’s hiking group that is focused on exploring the outdoors and building community.
Cedar Creek Park founder Lisa Parsons and King County Parks Ambassador Leia Duckworth started Women, Wine and the Woods late last summer. The two women wanted to raise awareness of the park and to encourage women to get out hiking.
“That was the thing that was the catalyst for doing this Wine, Women, and the Woods,” Parsons said.
The format of the group is simple: a Thursday evening hike followed by dinner at a locally owned restaurant.
“We’ve had women who’ve never really hiked but wanted to hike, but didn’t want to go by themselves,” Parsons said.
The group started at Cedar Creek Park and expanded this summer to exploring other parks and hikes in the area. Some of the destinations have included Taylor Mountain, Henry’s Ridge, Lake Sawyer and Pinnacle Peak.
“The response has been great,” Parsons said.
Duckworth added that the Thursday evening hikes have been a highlight of her summer that she looks forward to every week.
“I think what was nice about this summer is that we got to branch out and found some other hikes that were really close by,” Duckworth said.
The group goes on hikes in the summer, wrapping up for the year in the fall.
“We’ll wrap it up because it’s hard when the weather gets bad, and then you’ve got kids in school and soccer practice,” Parsons said.
One of the exciting aspects of the group has been seeing the women, who might not have anything else in common,become friends. Parsons and Duckworth said the members organize hikes and other activities together.
“The audience for the group has grown,” Duckworth said. “It’s neat because I’ve noticed people exchanging phone numbers.”
Duckworth noted that women from all ages and walks of life have been going on the hikes.
“I think that women need to give themselves permission sometimes — I think it’s hard for us to give ourselves permission to have a break,” she said,
Duckworth said that getting outside can be that perfect outlet, and Parsons added that there are lots of options close by that the group has been enjoying.
“I think it’s a really good outlet,” Duckworth said. “What brings us together is being outside. It draws a lot of different kinds of women. We don’t necessarily have common ages or politics or religions. It’s just us being outside and being able to connect that way.”
The next Women, Wine and the Woods hike will be on Aug. 21 at Hanging Gardens. For more information visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/103744443028535. For more information about Cedar Creek Park visit friendsofcedarcreekpark.org.