On Sarah Lingley’s first trip to Mount Rainier National Park, she hiked the Skyline Trail. The view left her stunned and awed.
“I’d never seen anything like it. The snowcapped mountains, these beautiful spring wildflowers all around. It blew my mind,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘I would love to be able to show all the people I know this (place). I would love to be able to share this experience with others.”
Now, she does.
Lingley, 32, of Richland, is founder of Thrive Fitness Adventures, which provides outdoor experiences designed to “empower you to reconnect with yourself, nature and other inspiring men and women.”
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Her signature events are Wild Goddess Weekends, which are all-inclusive getaways at Mount Rainier.
There are a lot of different opportunities out there to hike or go to a studio and practice yoga and meditation, but to combine those experiences is unique and powerful.
Participants hike and camp in the park, with opportunities to reflect, journal, meditate and practice yoga.
They dine on healthy gourmet food and sip on wine around the campfire.
“There are a lot of different opportunities out there to hike or go to a studio and practice yoga and meditation, but to combine those experiences is unique and powerful,” Lingley said. “To be in nature is to be disconnected from the day-to-day routine and the distractions of everyday life. There’s something special about that.”
Lingley led her first Wild Goddess Weekend of the season a couple weeks back, with camping at Ohanapecosh Campground and a hike along the Shriner Peak trail.
She invited four local women for the test run, including this Herald reporter.
The five-mile hike with a 2,000-foot elevation gain was challenging, but not too much so — doable for varied fitness levels. It included plenty of breaks and a stunning view at an overlook turnaround point.
Lingley also led participants through stretching sessions and guided meditation at the campsite, plus built in time for reflection and relaxation.
She brought along resources from oracle cards to a feeling wheel for participants to peruse and test out if they liked.
During the weekend, “you really do feel like the focus is on you. If you need to go off by yourself or go write in your journal, you can,” said Erika Zink of Richland, one of the participants.
She appreciated the outdoor experience Lingley brought as trip leader. Lingley holds wilderness first responder certification and has hiked and camped extensively throughout the national park.
“It’s comforting to have someone who knows what they’re doing (leading the way),” Zink said, calling the trip “an amazing experience.”
Michelle Conlay of Richland, another Wild Goddess participant, said Lingley is filling a niche with Thrive Fitness Adventures and Wild Goddess getaways.
Often on guided trips, campers are assigned chores and duties, “but here, everything was taken care of,” Conlay said.
“It was mind-freeing. You’re very carefree. It definitely sets the stage for being able to focus on your inner self,” she said.
Lingley grew up in rural Maine, playing in the woods, biking, kayaking and canoeing.
When she was younger, she dreamed of living in the big city one day. But she tried that out as an adult and discovered a more nature-centered life was for her.
Lingley moved to the Tri-Cities from Boston about two years ago. An engineer who still works in that field part time, she started Thrive Fitness Adventures in 2016.
The Launch University program at Fuse Coworking Space in Richland helped her get the business off the ground, she said.
Along with Wild Goddess Weekends, Lingley also leads hikes up McBee Hill in Benton City through her business.
Both those offerings are for women, though Lingley hopes to eventually add adventures for men and co-ed groups.
The McBee hikes are free and the Wild Goddess Weekends cost $395 per person.
Lingley said the trips are a chance to “invest in yourself,” noting that, “we as women will give, give, give to others and forget to (attend to our own needs).”
Lingley also can create customized adventure packages and help with trip planning and consultation.
She looks forward to building Thrive Fitness Adventures. It’s about bringing people closer to nature and to inner happiness, she said.
“I used to think, ‘I’ll be happy when my life looks like x, y and z. But achieving certain things doesn’t bring you happiness. Sustained happiness is about creating a life that feels good to you. What I’m trying to encourage is leaning into what feels good and letting that lead the way,” she told the Herald.
In nature, it’s hard to not feel good, she said.
“For me, being outdoors brings a sense of calm. Being an engineer in my day job, I’m in my head a lot — thinking, planning. When I’m in nature, I forget about all that. I become very present,” she said. “It gives you a feeling of awe and reminds you there’s so much beauty in the world.”
Spots still are left on Wild Goddess Weekend trips on July 7-9, 21-23 and 28-30. An August trip already is sold out.