Nine years ago, Katie Kotynski founded Girls In Glacier to create a group fitness opportunity in the great outdoors.
“I thought, you know, we need to do something that’s gonna keep people fit for life. they need to find something that they love and want to keep doing,” Kotynski said.
Kotynski said group hiking and individual hiking are quite dissimilar.
“Group hiking is completely different than hiking with one or two other people. Today we only have three people who showed up but a lot of the time we have 18-19 people,” Kotynski said.
A 2017 study from the American Osteopathic Foundation found that group exercisers benefited from not only an increase in their physical health (24.8%) but their mental (12.6%) and emotional (26%) health as well, with the most notable improvements seen in emotional health.
Kotynski believes those benefits come from time spent with others outdoors.
“The mood lifts. You’re around friends. You’re outdoors getting that vitamin D,” Kotynski said.
Girls In Glacier has a membership of nearly 50, each of which assume an important position.
“We have a leader who’s out in the front and then there’s somebody in the rear who’s the sweep and its important for us for safety reasons that everyone abides by the program that we are a group and that we do look out for one another,” said Girls In Glacier co-leader Sue Michels.
These Glacier girls subscribe to the belief: no woman left behind.
“We have bonded out of commitment to one another to stay together as a group...we might in some cases split into a faster versus a slower group but we're always together,” Kotynski said.
Through their bond, the wanderlust women have blazed a trail across Montana, covering thousands of miles of terrain.
The Girls In Glacier are always accepting applications; click here if you’re interested in joining or to learn more .