I recently joined a hiking/outdoors group through Meetup.com in hopes of getting myself out of the house more when I don't go hiking on my own, and having a good outlet in which to meet new people and try some new things. I had joined a different group through the same website but somehow never made it to any outings (though now I might actually try).
This Wednesday, I actually joined the group for an evening hike at Castlewood. Hiking with a large group of people had never really appealed to me, as I tend to like hiking on my own, or with one or two people. But determined to meet some people and push myself out of my comfort zone, I went regardless. Because of getting off work late and rush hour traffic, I was actually late and did not meet the group at the starting point. But I figured why quit? I would just have to deal with traffic again if I left right away. So I decided to hike the trail anyway; if I caught up with the group, all the better. If not, oh well! At least I had done a nice hike!
Hiking in the evening is also new for me. The sounds, the light, it is very different than my usual morning/afternoon hikes. It was kind of peaceful. There were a few serious trail runners out there, but mostly I had some quiet peace while hiking. About a third of the way through I actually caught up with the group. While trying to get to know a bunch of new people in the middle of a hike is kind of awkward, as is hiking with that many people when you're not used to it, I still had a surprisingly good time. Most of the people were very welcoming, and I talked to a couple people while walking along the river and climbing up the debris on the trail. I can't make it this week, but I will definitely try it again. I also really liked the idea of an after-work hike. Some exercise was both calming and made me feel like I had a definitive finish to my day.
Over all, group hiking may take some getting used to, but I am kind of excited to see what kind of events the group plans, and start going on some hikes. Hiking with others is always safer, after all, and I might see some places I might not travel to on my own.
On a slightly related, but mostly not, note, I am currently reading: Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record Setting Run Across America by Marshall Ulrich. I won a copy of the book from a friend's fitness/food blog, and promised to do a review. Even though I don't run, the book fascinated me and I couldn't wait to read it. Can't run, but I do want to do my own Great Walks one day in the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails!