Women’s leaders, readers, events, and adventures around the world…
Hundreds of whale sharks—the largest of the world’s fish and docile swimming companions—congregate in the tropical waters off of Isla Mujeres each July. The 4th Annual Whale Shark Festival adds information-packed events, speakers, and films to the thrill of swimming alongside one (or dozens) of these gentle giants. July 15–17. whalesharkfest.com
With more than 12 weekend programs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Trek Dirt Series will introduce hundreds of women—mostly in Whistler, British Columbia—to riding on dirt. From technical jumps to basic skills, pro-level coaches will explain it all. dirtseries.com
By the time she returns to Valparaiso in 2013, German paddler Freya Hoffmeister may have paddled more miles than any other sea kayaker—adding nearly 14,000 miles to her résumé by circumnavigating South America. In September, the 47-year-old plans to begin the first leg of her trip; She’ll start paddling south along Chile’s coast, round Cape Horn, and pull into Buenos Aires next spring with the first 4,700 miles behind her. qajaqunderground.com
“We hope to make it before the polar bears get too hungry,” says 22-year-old Natalie Warren of the 85-day itinerary that she, and paddling partner Ann Raiho, have planned for their 2,250- mile journey between Minnesota and Hudson Bay. If they finish, they’ll be the first women to canoe the route and the first expedition to make the trip in 75 years. hudsonbaybound.com
Washington, D.C. , USA
With a mission to motivate and empower families to explore America’s wilderness, WAM Reader Jenny Dengler took off on a one-year road trip with her family. During Expedition America 2011, the three will average one week in each state while attempting to climb their highest peaks. Jenny will be blogging her adventure and you can read her first post here.
With thermals triggered by warming limestone along the Pyrenees foothills, the skies above the Áger Valley will be swarming with paragliders during peak summer flying season. That’s also when 125 women pilots from all over the world and of all flying abilities will take to the sky in the second International Women’s Paragliding Open. August 28–September 3. agerwomensopen.com
Chester Triathlon Club in northwest England hosts the Deva Divas Triathlon on July 10. Participants—about 300 novice and intermediate racers—start with a 500-meter open water swim in the River Dee then transition to a 25K bike and a 5K run through scenic Chester Meadows. Be prepared to warm up with a rendition of the kid’s classic: heads, shoulders, knees, and toes. chestertri.org.uk
Grace, strength, and athleticism combine in Germany this summer when 16 of the top women’s soccer teams compete in front of sold-out crowds in the 6th-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup. “The future of football is feminine,” says FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter. With four years of build-up between tournaments, it’s likely to be aggressive, too. June 26–July 17. fifa.com/womensworldcup
The June 25 event is sold out this year, but mark your calendar for the 2012 Big Five Marathon. The race traverses the savanna surrounds of wild lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos in South Africa’s Entabeni game reserve—the largest private reserve within the UNESCO-designated Waterberg Biosphere. June 23, 2012. big-five-marathon.com
The adrenaline-fueled roll-call of events at Norway’s Ekstremsportveko reads more like the check-list of a suicide mission than a line-up of legit spectator sports. Hang gliding, climbing, wingsuit aerobatics, and whitewater kayaking are jam-packed into this week-long festival. More than 1,200 athletes from 30 countries attend to swap extreme-sport secrets, but even spectators can get in on the action: A $1,700 “Try it” package buys instruction in seven of the event’s 13 disciplines. June 26–July 3. ekstremsportveko.com
Fly south this summer for a dose of winter. The 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games is 16 days of snow-and-ice sports competitions attracting 1,000 athletes from more than 30 nations. In addition to ski racing, curling, and an off-road triathlon, the 38 events—split between seven of the islands top resorts—include big-air comps, nighttime rail jams, and an adventure film festival. August 12-28. wintergamesnz.com
Navigating nearly 630 miles, 27-year-old Sophia Mangalee is one of four women who’ll be racing across rugged Mongolian steppes and plains in the 10-day Mongol Derby. Arguably the longest, toughest horse race on the planet, the event kicks of August 6 when Sophia and a field of 30 others will set out heading east on a course that’s only revealed two days before the event. The 14-hour-per-day action barely stops—riders switch horses every 25 miles or so and rest to feast on food provided by nomadic families camped out along the route. mongolderby.adventurists.com
With 73 Mount Rainier Summits behind her and having stood atop Everest’s South Col three times already, climbing guide Melissa Arnot is no stranger to high altitude. But early this summer Melissa and fellow climber Dave Morton will attempt to climb the world’s fifth-highest mountain—27,825-foot Makalu, on the border between Nepal and China—without supplemental oxygen. After Tackling Makalu, they’ll head to Mt. Everest to attempt Melissa’s fourth and Dave’s seventh summit there.
Where in the world are our readers? According to our Twitter and Facebook: all over the map. Readers mostly hail from the USA (about 70%), but we’ve got healthy followings in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Indonesia, and Mexico. We’ve even got 9 readers in Pakistan, too!
Covering more than 44,000 miles each year between the north and south poles, the Arctic tern holds the record for the longest animal migration.
Images Courtesy of: Sian Tabor, Courtney Nash, Natalie Warren, Jenny Dengler, J. Di Grigoli, John S. Vater, Freya Hoffmeister, Roger Brendhagen, Adventurists, Eddie Bauer, Adventure-marathon.com, Getty Images