Women of Adventure: A book path brings women’s stories to

What inspires you? If it’s hearing stories about other people’s adventures, the book “Women of Adventure: Being Brave in a Big World” (Garmin, $14.99) might be for you. It tells stories of outdoor adventures and the women who took them, like Rebecca Rusch, an endurance athlete who mountain bikes incredibly long distances all around the world, and Mirna Valerio, a trail runner who advocates for inclusion in the running community for people of all races, body sizes and backgrounds.

Lucky for us, ordering the book and reading it on the couch isn’t the only way to explore with these adventurers. Throughout the summer and fall, the book will be featured on two book paths at Slate Valley Trails and Pine Hill Park, both in Rutland County. That means readers can embark on their own outdoor adventures while being inspired. The book paths are being coordinated by Come Alive Outside, a nonprofit in Rutland that is helping people live healthier lives outside, and Garmin, the maker of outdoor technology like backcountry GPS devices and high-tech watches.

“When we put books up in natural places,” says Arwen Turner, the executive director of Come Alive Outside, “we combine storytelling, activity and time in nature.”

The book went on display on the Bumper Cars Trail at Slate Valley Trails on July 1, and will be up through Aug. 31. Readers can read a large-format printout of a page of the book, and then walk a short distance to the next page. This slow pace with the book, reading it one page at a time, explains Turner, allows readers to really get their mind into the book. Plus, it brings people to the trails.

Not only does the book include inspiring stories, such as the tale of Rusch mountain biking with a friend through Vietnam and Laos, it also introduces the featured “Women of Adventure” when they were young girls and explores what influenced them to pursue their passion.

In addition, each story includes an Explore page that teaches readers about maps and wayfinding, rocks and geology, heights and flight, and more. These pages detail the science behind how things work, the tools required for each adventure, and various facts and figures related to each tale.

What’s most special about the book to Turner is that many of the women come from underrepresented backgrounds. Come Alive Outside, she explains, strives to help everyone find their own outdoor identity. With this book, says Turner, “people can imagine themselves doing these adventures, too.”

The creators at Garmin shared a similar sentiment: “We created Women of Adventure to not only share stories of six strong, fearless women,” says Stephanie Schultz, with Garmin, “but to also inspire kids of all ages, body types, activity levels and ethnicities, to dream big.”

Valerio, who is one of the characters in the book and is also based in Vermont, said she was excited to be part of the book because it matched with her own love of sharing her passion for the outdoors with everyone.

“I love to share the joy of being outside on a trail with everyone I meet in person or through words and pictures,” said Valerio, “because I want them to experience that same feeling.”

Turner says Valerio has long supported the mission of Come Alive Outside and helped the organization spread its message. When word got out that Garmin had created the Women of Adventure initiative and a book was coming out that featured Valerio, Turner immediately reached out to Garmin to bring copies to book path events in Rutland County. Garmin responded by donating the laminated pages for the book paths, and also donated 25 books for Come Alive Outside to share with local program participants.

The partnership is equally exciting for Garmin. Book author and creative director at Garmin, Rebecca Sommers, says: “We believe good stories are meant to be shared.”

The book will be up again on Pine Hill Park’s Pinecone Adventure Forest Trail from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. Copies of the book can also be purchased at garmin.com online. Proceeds from each book purchased go toward the women’s chosen charities, supporting causes that clean up coastlines, empower women and girls worldwide with donated bikes, educate and inspire girls through STEM-related efforts, and more. Visit garmin.com/womenofadventure to learn more about the Garmin Women of Adventure initiative.