Over the past few weeks, I have spent more time outdoors than I have in years. Jeff is hard at work training to climb Mt Rainier in May, and while I won’t be joining him on his adventure, I am training by his side. While I avoid his gym sessions of running and endless climbing of stairs, each weekend we’ve been taking hikes that increase with difficulty. Considering I only started hiking in May, I have come a long way.
But, the biggest challenge will come on Friday when, weather-permitting, we will be hiking up the highest peak in New York state, Mt Marcy, located in the Adirondacks. It will be our most difficult hike to date, so to we’ve been doing everything we can to get ready.
Which is why we both decided to join the Appalachian Mountain Club. For an annual fee of $40 for individuals, $25 if you are under thirty, you can join many hikes and activities with other members free of cost. We decided this would be the perfect way for us to train, and without hesitation, we signed up for our first hike with the AMC this past Saturday
We met our guide, Ellen, and four other AMC members at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Center, located off the Palisades Parkway in New York. While the entrance was different, this was the same park we had hiked with Discover Outdoors. We bundled up, as it was extremely cold that morning and headed into the woods to warm up. After walking a bit, we introduced ourselves and took our first “separation” break, or bathroom break. Then we were on our way for an eight mile hike.
It was cold, and there was a lot of snow on the ground, but it was a beautiful day to be outdoors. While we climbed up and down peak after peak, my motivation to get through it was the beautiful views that were waiting for us at the top of each one.
We were also in good company with such a small group of hikers; this allowed us to really get to know each other.
Our hike was one of the hardest hikes I have been on; it was labeled in our book as being “strenuous,” and it truly was, but like I said, we are training for Jeff’s big climb. The cold and wind didn’t help matters, either did the snow on the ground.
But, hiking with a group definitely helped matters and took my mind off any challenges I was facing. Even though we were all at different levels of hiking, we all had a love of the activity and spent most of our time discussing different places around the country and world that are the best for hiking.
Hiking has opened up my eyes and given me a real appreciation for the world I live in, which is also what traveling does for me. This is why I feel I have fallen so deeply in love with it, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Whether it’s hitting the trails around my home, or eventually taking on Kilimanjaro, the Inca Trail, and Everest Base Camp, I love the new world hiking has opened up for me.