GetHiking! with Co-Workers and Friends: Reunite hiking

Face it: you miss your coworkers. Sure, Bob in the next cube could drive you nuts with his frequent “Got a minute?”s. The chronic tongue-clucker near the copy machine, the dude 

overmedicating on Creed Aventus, the fantasy football guys, the never knowing when Ms. Dithers might drop by “just to say hello.” 

Yeah, it could drive you nuts. But boy, do you miss it. 

One of the things we’ve learned over the past six months is how much we miss people, even the people we thought we could never miss. Getting together via Zoom is nice, but it isn’t the same as being together.

Staying safe outdoors

If there’s one thing research into the spread of the coronavirus seems to agree on, it’s that the virus spreads far less effectively outdoors. In August, the Mayo Clinic published a list of activities based on their risk of spreading COVID-19. Topping the list of low-risk activities: walking, running and hiking. On Sept. 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its advice on preventing the spread of the virus. It takes into account a variety of factors, but found two key activities help curtail the spread:

  • Maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet from one another
  • Being outside

Hiking/walking meets both of those criteria. Easily.

Since late July, GetGoingNC has been holding small group hikes (no more than 10 people) and small backpacking/camping trips (also limited to 10 or less). I was tentative at first about the success of these outings because of our requirements that:

  • Hikers wear a face mask at the trailhead, and keep it handy on the trail in case we pass other hikers.
  • Hikers keep their distance from one another.

Would hikers comply? They have, with no complaint. Or hesitation. That’s because they’ve been so grateful not just to be on the trail, but to be around people.

GetHiking! with Co-Workers and Friends

That made us wonder whether more people — disconnected co-workers, for instance — would  get together if they knew they could do so in a safe environment. So starting Sept. 28, we’re launching our GetHiking! with Co-Workers and Friends hiking series. 

 Here’s how it will work:

  • Weekly hikes. Once a week for eight weeks, we will take your crew on a 1-hour hike somewhere in the Triangle. If your people are largely in the eastern Triangle (Raleigh, Cary), we’ll hike there; if they’re in the western Triangle (Durham, Chapel Hill), we’ll schedule your hikes in that area. If you don’t care, we’ll spread them around.
  • Hikes based on ability. The goal of GetHiking! with Coworkers and Friends is to reunite you with your co-workers and friends, and to get some fresh air at the same time. If those co-workers and friends are into a good workout, we’ll take you on hikes that are a little more aerobic, likely in the 3- to 4-mile range. If you’re more into the socializing and scenery, we’ll take you on trails suited to a more civil pace. These hikes will be 2-3 miles.
  • Ground rules. The ground rules for these hikes will be the same as we have in place for our other GetHiking! hikes: 
    • Face masks. You must wear a face mask when we gather at the trailhead; you can remove it once we start hiking, but keep it handy in case we run into other hikers. 
    • Keep your distance. You must keep a minimum of 6 feet apart. If you’re not familiar with hiking, hikers rarely get that close on the trail in normal times.
    • Sickly? If you’re under the weather, stay home.
  • Group size. We’ll take groups as small as 5, but no more than 10.
  • When. We will offer these hikes Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The plan. When you sign up and pay a $100 deposit, you’ll be asked for the number of people in your group, where you would prefer to hike, the date and time of day you would like to hike. When we receive that information, we’ll respond with the schedule for your group, noting the day, time and location of your hike, as well as how your people should dress and what they should bring. Each week, at least two days before your hike, you will receive an eguide for that week’s hike, including a map of the route, trail description, mileage guide, where to meet and more. Twenty-four hours before your hike, you will receive a reminder, plus a report on the weather forecast. In addition to the weekly eguide, each member of your group will receive a copy of “Explore Your Neighborhood: A Guide to Discovering the World Immediately Around You,” to help you create your own local adventures.
  • Cost. The fee is $115 per hiker for 5-7 hikers, $105 per hiker for 8-10 hikers.

For co-workers, these weekly hikes can simply be an opportunity to stay in touch, to keep “office” morale high. They can also be working meetings; you might be surprised at how your creativity is juiced by walking (“The West Wing” made the walk-and-talk notion popular in 1990s).

And did we mention it’s fall, the best time of year to be outside?

Whether you’re walking to bond or to brainstorm, a walk in the woods with GetHiking! with Co-Workers and Friends may be the best hour of your week.

GetHiking! with Friends 

Learn more about the GetHiking! with Co-Workers and Friends program start the process of getting your group signed up by going here.

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