Throughout my life there have been periods where I prefer the solitude of hiking and skiing alone and other times where I’ve enjoyed the social aspects of exploring with a group. One common barrier to outdoor adventure is simply not having anyone to explore with. Today on trail’ology we’re talking about where to find people to explore with and recommending a few resources to find group hikes or meet new outdoorsy people.
1. Meetup Groups. We like meetup groups! The concept is simple, login, sign up, show up, make new friends and hike (or ski, or snowshoe or cycle etc). In an effort to help parents get kids on the trails and meet more trail lovin’ families we recently started a meetup group. We always have a blast! There aren’t a ton of meetup groups in Laramie, but hiking meetup groups are abundant in places with larger populations.
2. Social Media. I’m impressed with how social media turns a big world into a small world. I’ve found that social media, especially twitter is a great place to link up with like-minded adventurers. If you’re looking to find someone to explore with I’d recommend #hikerchat on Friday mornings at 10am (MST). I don’t get there often, I try to be on the mountain on a Friday mornings-but if you’re on twitter and can fit #hikerchat into your schedule check it out, be sure to tell everyone where you’re from and you might find a new hiking buddy.
3. Volunteering. Another great way to meet like-minded explorers is simply by volunteering. It can be as easy as volunteering for your local search and rescue and attending monthly meetings, showing up for a trail clean-up or maintenance day our joining a group like the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers who assist the Canyon Lakes Ranger District and help manage and protect wild areas. You can also volunteer to help out at a local race or event, sometimes bonding over sliced bananas and paper cups of water at these events are perfect for finding new hiking buddies.
4. Sponsored Hikes. We like attending hikes sponsored by local organizations and outdoor stores. A few summers ago we attended a wildflower/birding hike at Curt Gowdy State Park sponsored by Sierra Trading Post. We learned that we aren’t all that into birds or hiking with people who are into birds but still had fun. I didn’t see any STP sponsored hikes last summer but if you’re in Larimer County, there’s always a list of events to check out here and the city of Fort Collins does a good job of scheduling group events too.
5. Clinics. Sometimes ski shops will put on a waxing clinic or a bike shop will put on a bike maintenance clinic. A clinic is a great place to network and meet other skiers or mountain bikers. REI puts on awesome clinics if there’s one in your area.
What did I miss? Where do you go to meet new friends to explore with?