Go take a hike — literally. The hikers in both the Evergreen Newcomers and Neighbors and Conifer Newcomers & Neighbors groups are addicted to hiking, organizing hikes each week May through …
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For more information about the Evergreen Newcomers and Neighbors hiking group, visit www.evergreennewcomers.com.
For more information about the Conifer Newcomers & Neighbors hiking groups, visit www.coniferneighbors.org.
Go take a hike — literally.
The hikers in both the Evergreen Newcomers and Neighbors and Conifer Newcomers & Neighbors groups are addicted to hiking, organizing hikes each week May through October. Some hike through the winter, too, though staying a little closer to home because of the weather.
Members hike for various reasons: the views, the exercise, the companionship, the mental health and the wildflowers.
“CN&N opened my eyes to a lot of hiking trails I had never been to,” said veteran hiker Barbara Voth. “I love the outdoors, and I love the wildflowers. It gives me peace to be out there walking in those flowers.
“I like to stop and look around, look at the views and just enjoy the journey. It’s my therapy, I guess. I like it when the (hikers) are genuinely interested in the wildflowers. It makes my day.”
For CN&N hiker Kathy Short, it’s about the exercise and the social connection. Connections can be made and a lot can be discussed while on a multiple-mile hike.
Don and Tricia Rosenthal have been hiking for years and organize the Evergreen Newcomers and Neighbors hiking group.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Don Rosenthal said. “Tricia and I have met so many people and friends through this activity both participating and leading it.”
The Rosenthals were hiking Bergen Peak in 2012 and found the ENN hiking group at the summit, so they joined immediately.
Joyce Dickey, who leads CN&N’s Tuesday hiking group, has been hiking about 30 years, starting in her late 40s after her children were older. She and a friend purchased a hiking book, and their hobby continued to grow.
“Now I just have a love of hiking,” she added.
How the groups operate
To participate, hikers must join either ENN or CN&N.
Don Rosenthal explained that hikes in the spring and fall tend to be closer to home while those in the summer months are further away because snow on higher trails has melted.
The hiking group leaders send emails with details each week of where the hike is, its length, where to meet to carpool and more.
“We respect all of our hikers no matter what their skill level,” Dickey said. “We don’t let anyone walk alone.”
Tricia Rosenthal added: “Some people come to local hikes, some to the shorter hikes, some want the more difficult hikes.”
Don Rosenthal likened selecting hike locations to creating a music playlist because you don’t want the same kind of hike each week. They need to vary in length, location, elevation and more, so more hikers will participate.
“We make decisions based on when it’s good to see the wildflowers,” Dickey said. “That’s a big consideration. Also avoiding ice and snow.”
At CN&N, Dickey hosts a meeting in March so hikers can provide hiking-trail suggestions, and she plans 16 hikes through the summer.
CN&N’s more advanced hiking group has 60 members and hikes on Wednesdays. The intermediate group has 50 members for Tuesday hikes, but in general, five to 10 hikers participate each week. ENN’s hiking group has 68 members, with six to eight participating each week. They hike on weekdays to avoid crowds.
Some group members are well versed in botany and geology, adding to the educational nature of the hikes.
In addition, Tricia Rosenthal said, “A lot of people have accumulated knowledge about some of the hikes we do. They know where to go, what time of year, when there is no snow, and when the flowers are at their peak. The hikes change a bit every year, but it’s fun that we carry on the tradition of doing these same hikes that people have been doing for decades.”
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