Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Columbia Plateau Trail, My New Hiking Club

Have you ever heard of meetup.com? Maybe it has been around forever and lots of people already know about it, maybe I am the last person to discover this gem of a website, I am not sure. But if you haven't gone there yet to check it out you really need to and here is why.

I have been dying to get out and do some exploring since we moved to Washington. However, Erik has been working a lot, (which is a great thing) and now he is traveling to track meets on the weekends. Combine that with the cold weather and lets just say our adventures have slowed down the past few months. In the past I have had no problem hiking alone, I actually love the solitude and chance to meditate on personal matters. However, two things have made me apprehensive to venture out alone. One, I am really unfamiliar with the area, I like to know where I am. Two, I am packing little Tate along with me. She loves to be outside and does great on hikes, however, if something was to happen to me I worry about her. Being a parent makes you worry about things you never contemplated before. Well, one day as I was searching online for a good hike in the area I came across a pretty cool looking hike. I also came across a club that was planning an outing to this particular trail the following week. It occurred to me that a hiking club is what I needed. A way to learn trails in the area and meet new friends in this lonely land up North.

That is how I stumbled across meetup.com. Not just for hikers, you enter in what city you live in, how far you are willing to travel, and what you interests are, and BOOM! It spits out a list of clubs according to the activities you are looking for. You then meet up with people and do said activity. It is awesome! There are women's hiking groups, camping clubs, Mothers groups, running packs, etc. After some research on a few clubs, I joined a hiking groups called the Inland Northwest Hikers. They are really active and have several meet ups a week in the area.

Well, even after joining, it still took me two months of getting invited to all their events to finally get up the courage to actually attend one. The group was hiking at a trailhead that was just 5 min from my house, no excuses to not attend that one. So I apprehensively RSVP'd to the event and showed up with Tate. It was a great time and I met some wonderful people. I don't know why I was so nervous to go.

We hiked 5 miles on the Columbia Plateau trail into the Turnbull wildlife refuge. The trail is an old rail line and was totally straight and flat, nothing to write home about, but the company was great.  There were about 12 people there and everyone just spread out and walked in smaller groups according to speed. We had such a great time chatting while we walked and everyone loved Tate. The weather is slowly warming up! Soon the hiking will move from the low foothills to the mountain tops!

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