Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meeting up

There are a lot of advantages to being a lone wolf when it comes to outdoor activities.  You can wake up in the morning and spontaneously decide to go hiking, toss a few things in a pack and be out the door, without coercing anyone to go or waiting on someone.  Conversely, you can plan to snowboard, wake up in the morning and think "nah..." without disappointing anybody. You don't need to worry about other people keeping up, or whether they are having a good time.  Your friends are busy or don't have the same days off?  No problem.  You'll just go alone.

But I was in the mood for hiking with some outdoor buddies.  My friends were out of town or busy, and it was raining, so it would have been easier to just stay home or go to the gym.  But it's good to get out of your comfort zone sometimes.  So with trepidation I drove to a local park to join a Meetup group on a short hike.

Meetup groups (link, just change to your city) exist all over the country (you can even start one!) In my area, there are meetup groups for gamers, singles, hikers (the one I joined) crafts, and fitness (I joined this one too).  There are over 200 people in my hiking group, which shows that others are looking for outdoors buddies too.

About 10 people showed up.  Some were in their 20s, others in their 50s.  There were two dogs, one a bulldog named Ron, equipped with a reflective vest.  It rained and tried to snow.  We walked on a muddy trail to an overlook, looked out over the valley and talked about our lives.  A couple people were retired military. A young guy was taking a break from college to help his grandparents.  One of the dogs was retired from search and rescue.  I probably would have never met these people any other way, yet I plan to see them again on other adventures down the road.

I'll never give up exploring the outdoors on my own because of the freedom and spontaneity of it.  But like any successful wolf, it's good to have some packs to join if you feel like it.

View of a frozen lake from the overlook

11 comments:

  1. Although I too like hiking alone, sometimes it's nice to have companions. I'll have to check out the meet up organization in my area.

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    1. I bet there's a lot around Portland.

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  2. I haven't tried any meet up groups, I've heard about them but I think I will join one too, given the right push by your post! I like that you said, as a lone wolf, you occasionally need to run with a pack!

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  3. Good for you! I used to do that in Lansing, and met some nice folks with a similar interest.

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    1. I didn't realize how popular it was until I looked it up. They are all over.

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  4. Meetup.com is how I met almost ALL of my friends when I moved to San Francisco without knowing a soul. While my group was strictly women in their late 20s/early 30s looking for friendship, I've also joined hiking and volunteer Meetups to have buddies to do these things with. I'm such a fan.

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  5. Sounds like a great option...and way to meet other folks by taking the first plunge.. You can choose to continue or try another group. I didn't know about these groups. Glad to hear about it in your area.

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    1. And there are a couple around here, too, I discovered.

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  6. And you can be with people who -- presumably -- aren't looking at their phones/tablets, etc the entire time. That's a good thing!

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