The great outdoors is for everyone -- not just men.
Though "roughing it" on a campsite might traditionally be thought of as the kind of thing guys do, a group of women set out to prove that they're just as much at home out under the stars -- and to set a world record in the process.
"Eighteen of us wild women bonded so close in those days for life-long friendships as we laughed, cried, shared stories and talked about our hurts (and) pains (and) losses and consoled each other," said Susan Powell, the coordinator in Kentucky and Tennessee for Camp Unite 2019.
The Camp Unite effort brought together 335 women all across the country at the same time to go camping over the same seven-day period, from May 29 to June 5. Locally, 18 of those women from Kentucky and Tennessee gathered at Pulaski County Park, averaging about 55 years in age.
The women enjoyed a number of fun activities, such as cook-outs, painting rocks, drinking wine -- "All that fun girly stuff," said Powell -- as well as socializing each other, visiting different campers, motor homes and tents that people brought.
Of course, some people were willing to rough it a little more than others. Part of the fun was seeing how each woman lived while out the park, seeing how they set up their system and how they decorated.
"Some of it was along the lines of 'Glamping,'" said Powell with a laugh, referencing the trend toward camping with more luxurious amenities. "I'm in a tent. Some ladies had to get on their knees and crawl through my little tent."
The women also did more active things while there, helping clean-up efforts at the park, getting out on the walking trails, and letting Powell, a kayaking instructor, take them on excursions on the lake.
Other activities included campfire confessions, fashion night, a potluck dinner, a trip to Lee's Ford live music, and full-day pontoon rides, crocheting ... and, of course, singing to the theme Camp Unite song.
Powell, a local individual of 29 years, gave thanks and credit to Pulaski County Park Manager Kim Norfleet to being helpful in planning the event and getting the women there what they needed.
"We want to say a special 'thank you' to the Pulaski County Park and the girls that helped with this event," said Powell, "Kim Norfleet for giving us discounts and Lexie Cox, Abbey Foreman and Kaelyn Coomer for helping with all the details."
Of course, like many adventures, it got off to an interesting start.
"Most (of the women) arrived that Wednesday during the bad downwinds that rocked our little campers and trailer-vans," said Powell. "However, the rest of the week provided clear and cooler temperatures."
Powell said that they are already planning Camp Unite 2020 and meeting for other camps throughout the year, as the women's taste for getting out and adventuring grew strong.
"We just bonded," said Powell.
Those interested in joining can go to Camp Unite 2019 on Facebook and click on Zone 12 in you're in the Kentucky area.
Powell figures that they successfully got into the Guinness Book of World Records for most women camping in the nation at the same time with the same goals, but for each of the women who participated, it wasn't about the numbers -- it was an individual triumph.
"It's about women's empowerment," said Powell. "Some of these women -- like myself, I'm single -- are here to build our inner strength."