We at Women Who Hike were lucky enough long ago to connect with the folks and hard working team over at Merrell. We have been long wearing Merrell brand hikers and were overjoyed at the chance to be able to work with their product as well as their upcoming Womens Initiative for 2017. Not only does Merrell have a wide range of shoes and sandals made for the outdoor woman (and man) in mind, but they also have a exciting, good looking and functioning line of apparel for all activities and climate in mind.
So, a few months ago, we, @WomenWhoHike along with the guys from the @Brod_Trip were invited to shoot and showcase the product for next year’s catalog, with Puerto Rico for the shooting location. Puerto Rico is home of the only rainforest belonging to the US Forest Service, spanning 29,000 acres.
Our trip started off with a little hitch in the plans with some rerouted flights, but that definitely didn’t get us down as we, Savanah and Nicole met up in Washington DC to make the final travel leg together into the San Juan airport. Upon arrival, we checked into the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, right along the beach. We dropped our bags and headed immediately to the sand and shoreline to check out what Puerto Rico nature is all about. After a quick drink and a toe dip in the water, we headed for our fittings with the Merrell team and stylist, Angela Borrelli and producer, Mesa Lange. Both who were a delight to work with and whom we can count on having future adventures with! The line of clothing for spring and summer is so exciting and enticing and we cannot wait to show you (pre spring 2017) our favorites from the line. Not only is there the expected reliable and state of the art footwear, but also some shoes and clothing made for adventure travel. The colors, graphics and patterns are bright and the fit and movement are everything you would want for hiking, exploring, travel and everyday wear.
Day 1 we had a 530AM call time and headed straight into hair/makeup and wardrobe. We can tell you this about Puerto Rico… the hair and the makeup part wasn’t the easiest part of the trip. The reason Puerto Rico is so lush and tropical would be because of its wet, hot and humid weather. That morning, we headed for El Yunque Peak for a hike, some history and peak views from 3,450 feet. We visited some waterfalls along the way and hiked amongst lush wet rainforests with trees that had leaves as big as a car.
Day 2 was a much earlier call time… 4AM! But, as women who hike, we are up for anything and we headed to beach where we shot two different looks and activities. Nicole, did the trail running along with Justin from the Brod_Trip. I, Nicole can tell you there is a special pair of trail runners I got to wear that are NOT to be missed in next years line up of shoes from Merrell, we can’t wait to show them to you! Savanah did the camping/lounging looks with Adam, also from the Brod_Trip. If planning a camping trip to Puerto Rico, please note: Tent=Sauna.
After the beach shoot we stopped by a local "Gasolina" to fuel up and found that you can buy pouches of Sangria for a great price and with arms full of the local fruits, we headed off to old San Juan. We, Nicole and Savanah shot together here around the landmarks and colored buildings in historic San Juan. Fountains and colorful culture surrounded us. We had all been so worried about this day due to the Tropical Storm warnings! Sure enough, just as we were capturing our last shots of the day, the rain started pouring down from the sky; drenched doesn't even begin to describe how wet we all were and I've never seen someone cover up a camera so quickly. We raced through the streets of Old San Juan to find shelter and lunch, really putting those new Merrell shoes to the test. As we all sat together over lunch and cocktails we began to realize that we were surrounded by friends. We can't say enough good things about the crew we had the pleasure of spending this experience with.
Our last day of shots, Day 3, we got to do more hiking at Rio Tenajas, a trail that leads up to a creek, waterfalls and ROPE SWING! Yes! Mesa, the producer somehow managed to find a local man who allowed us to trek through the rainforest on his property to the falls and pool. This is where real adventure and fun set in where the four of use were set to do some hydro hiking in some great sandals from Merrell and show off our skills on the rope swing along with the guys from the @Brod_Trip. Again, the rain was never too far. When you're in the rainforest, you hear it before you feel or see it and like a wave of water the sky opened up on us and for a solid five minutes we got poured on. Its a powerful feeling to truly experience the rainforest this way, the way that nature intended.
Our second location was for some more adventure travel clothing and footwear, set in where we ate meat off sticks that were cooked right there in the streets of Puerto Rico. We rode bikes and sipped from coconuts (a few of them spiked with rum, of course). We had some laughs, checked out colorful tourist spots which looked along the bay of Pinones.
Our last look of the day and trip were on the beach around a campfire. What better way to end our working trip?! We sat fireside, sipped a celebratory beverage with the team and the crew as we all laughed and loved up on each other on some days well spent with an incredibly fun and hard working team, crew and talent.
I know that we will never forget this trip and we were sad, yet grateful and reminiscent of days and nights well spent on this once in a lifetime opportunity. We would like to thank our talented photographer and videograper, Andrew and George . The team at Merrell who joined us: Kelly, Alyssa and Colleen, as well as Lauren who stayed back in Michigan but was a huge part of pulling this trip and opportunity together for us. Angela who kept our looks on point. Mesa Lange who not only planned all the locations but also kept us laughing nearly the whole trip. And the guys from the Brod_Trip: Justin and Adam, who we had been waiting months to meet up with! We can tell you that things like these are fun and treasured, but it truly does take a village to pull it all together and it couldn’t have been done without them… Til the next adventure… #MerrellOutside #MyNature