GLACIER NATIONAL PARK — If you've been to the Flathead Valley lately, you know that this is a crazy time of the year with families and couples traveling, and now more than ever, women are traveling on their own.
Glacier Guides and Montana Raft, and West Glacier-based company, is taking full advantage of that with its new program, taking sisterhood to new heights.
Courtney Stone, the marketing director of Glacier Guides and Montana Raft, first came to the Glacier National Park mountains when she was just 18 and she found a sisterhood. But years later, she needed to find the magic of women again as an adult.
She found it yet again in the mountains of Montana.
"I came out to Montana as a child and as an adolescent and really enjoyed adventuring with my family, but I wasn't sure how to go about it once I was out here on my own, and it was the groups of other women that I met that took me down the Alberton Gorge for the first time and took me backpacking in Glacier National Park," said Stone.
Courtney decided to start a women's-only group through Glacier Guides and Montana Raft, for five days of outdoor activity starting with a three-day backpacking trip through Glacier National Park, as well as an overnight rafting trip.
"There is a growing movement of women who want to get out there and learn and recreate and understand how to leave no trace and to tread more lightly, so we saw that opportunity, and just started advertising that we would take women only," Stone said.
Glacier Guides and Montana Raft is male-owned but over 50% of it is ran by women guides, and these women know the importance of giving Montana women and women that traveled to Montana something that's meaningful.
"Our focus is really on bringing people out here and educating them about Montana's precious resources while they're here and I think that speaks to a certain group of women across the country who are interested in that but don't know how to begin," said Stone.
The greatest thing about this program is what happens in the Glacier mountains doesn't stay in Glacier mountains. These women become friends long after their five-day journey ends.
"I love to do the debriefing at the end of each trip with the women who've been on and it's so fun, there's often single women on the trip in fact most of the trips are women who come by themselves," Stone said. "At the end, they've all become this cohesive unit after five days out there in Glacier National Park together and then they become Facebook friends and email buddies and some of those friendships have carried on for years now and it's just really a joy to see."