It was half six in the morning as I walked across Millenium Bridge towards Nassau street.
The majority of people I met were on the way back from the sesh. I envied them because I was going away from my bed. I wouldn't see it again for another 10 hours.
I started to question the sanity of my decision. It was half six on bank holiday Saturday and I was going on a hike followed by Zipit Forest Adventures.
Don't get me wrong, it all seemed like great fun when I got in touch with Mel from Galz Gone Wild but as I yawned for the 27th time that morning I began to second guess my 'great idea.'
The hikes take place usually every two weeks on a Sunday but after feedback, some Saturdays and mid-week adventures have been added.
Designed for women who have never been hiking before, or for women who want to be more mindful of the space around them while they hike by taking in the scenery and being aware of their surroundings. It's not a race, photos are encouraged and there are backmarkers to ensure no one is left behind.
It was set up in July 2017, when Galz Gone Wild founder, Melissa McDermott, wanted to create something different after moving home from London.
"I was interested in a community where women would feel encouraged and empowered. There are a lot of other hiking groups out there but they are very focused on getting from A to B, I wanted to create something where women could inspire each other to conquer the trail."
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????????????????? “GGW is like a warm soft blanket of cotton wool around what could be a hard slog up a mountain”- @clairebyrneweddings ???????????? Pic of the #ggwtribe experiencing epic views while en route to our second peak. The confidence to conquer...TOGETHER ???????? Next adventure Sunday May 13th- Full details and sign up in the link in our bio. Beginners to hiking or yoga are strongly encouraged ???????????? #galzgonewild #confidencetoconquer #adventure #hiking #hikingadventures #outdoorwomen #womenwhohike #womenwhoexplore #mountainview #explore #sheexplores #neverstopexploring #getoutdoors #ireland #wicklow #naturelovers #53degreesnorth #outsidermag #mindfulness #trail #trailblazers
Despite my trepidation (and the ungodly hour), I must have been a teeny bit excited because I was the first to arrive at the meeting point on Nassau street.
Mel arrived soon after me and her warmth and energy made it easy to brush the tiredness away and get into the spirit of things.
The others arrived and we started off towards the Dublin mountains, stopping in Dundrum to pick up a few others. There was quiet chatter among everyone as some people seemed to recognise each other from other hiking trips.
After just a few minutes climbing, Mel stopped to explain the route and to let us catch our breath.
I was already dying at this point.
There's no point in denying it, I am so unfit. I flirt with the idea of exercise every now and then but I never follow through.
Mel explained that it would be a steep enough climb for the first 45 minutes but the view would be worth it and we would take plenty of breaks.
The words 'break' and 'rest' snapped me out of my daydream where I was frantically planning my escape. Things like flinging myself off the mountain just to avoid climbing it came to mind, so the fact that there would be breaks comforted be enormously.
My fears were (almost) completely unfounded. While I was by no means the fittest there, I was surrounded by women who had no problem saying they were half dying too.
We complained and bemoaned our lack of fitness together. Vocalising it turned it into a bit of a laugh and we bonded over it.
I had never met these women before but an easy friendship had been forged with Mel at the top of the pack leading the way.
According to Mel, the adventures are about more than just the physical aspects.
"It's not just about the confidence to conquer the mountain, it's also about having the confidence to conquer an emotion or a rough time you're going through while having the community behind you as support. I want the women to use nature as a form of meditation and reconnection."
And did I mention the incredible views that made it all worth it?
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?She felt her lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery?????? The views for this Sunday’s Hike + Yoga adventure ???? Tag yourself below if you’re one of the crazies who agreed to get up for the 7am start on a Sunday ???????????? #confidencetoconquer #womenwhohike #womenwhoexplore #getoutdoors #outdoorwomen #sheexplores #getoutdoors #hike #hiking #hikingadventures #adventure #nature #mountainview #ireland #53degreesnorth #outsidermag #instaireland #neverstopexploring #wander #wanderlust #explore #mytrespass
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Mornin’! ???? If you’re not willing to prepare the night before, pack your bag, make your lunch, get to bed early then you wont reap the reward of a magical sunrise like this. Yeah it’s not easy to get up at 4am on a Sunday to come into town to get a bus into the wild to go on a hike with a bunch of weirdos but my god is it all worth it when you witness beauty like this. Do yourself a favour and at least once this month witness a sunrise. Do it alone, or with a friend. Bring your dog or your partner. Come along with the ggwtribe. Pack a flask of hot chocolate and a blanket. Just do it! It’s the most inspiring, rejuvenating and heart warming experience you can do for your soul ???? ????????? #confidencetoconquer #galzgonewild #outdoorwomen #hiking #hike #hikingadventures #nature #landscapephotography #landscape #naturelovers #mountainview #stayandwander #reflection #ireland #wicklow #instaireland #ireland_gram #tourismireland
We got to the summit at Fairy House and I gotta say I thought I was the shit.
More importantly I had such a laugh getting there with my fellow adventurers. It was barely 9am in the morning and we had achieved so much, it was a great feeling.
After about 20 minutes we started off again heading down to the intersection of Wicklow way to make our way to Tibradden Zipit Forest Adventures.
Spurred on by the hike, I was really excited for Ziplining.
Nevermind that I got slightly sweaty-palmed at the thought of being so far off the ground, I was gonna give this welly.
Cut to 15 minutes later when I was on the orange route (this is for 9 year olds btw) and losing my life as I walked across a tightrope with only a rope hanging down to balance me.
In the middle of swearing with enough vigour it would make a sailor blush, I heard one of the women in the group cheer me on from the next platform. I was so thankful to her in that moment because I was so panicked and barely inching along the rope. I got over to the other side and let out a massive sigh of relief.
I was by no means finished on the route but I was happy to keep pushing myself because I knew we all had each other's backs if we got into difficulty.
You know what they say, team work makes the dream work.
On the way back the chat was much louder, the time spent together evident in how easily we joked and laughed together.
You really would think that we knew each other far longer than a couple of hours.
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NEW DATES AND ADVENTURES FOR MAY ???????? I listened and took on board your feedback galz ???????????? I have added in a mid week and a Saturday date ????A mail out will be sent tomorrow with all the details and info. Did someone say ZIP LINING? ???? (Make sure you are added to the mailing list to receive our monthly adventures. Link in bio) ???? #confidencetoconquer #womenwhohike #hiking #hike #hikingadventures #ireland #trailblazers #explore #adventure #womenwhoexplore #neverstopexploring #getoutdoors #wander #wanderlust #nature #mtnchicks #wicklow
The particular hike I went on cost €48 which included transport, the guided hike and 4 hours in the Zipit adventure park. They are usually €40-€45 but it all depends on what you do on the day.
It's worth all that and more.
The next two adventures include a three to four hour hike on Brockagh Mountain and 1 hour yoga practice this Sunday and a double summit sunrise hike and breakfast (yes, a full Irish breakfast) on Sunday 20th May.
Other Galz Gone Wild adventures include surfing and weekend getaways.
Follow @galzgonewild for updates and info on upcoming hikes!