Saturday’s GetHiking! Winter Wild hike at the R. Wayne Bailey-Caswell Game Lands near Yancyville was cold, really cold. But the brilliant blue sky more than made up for the 28-degree temperature. If I had a nickel for every time someone on the hike said, “What a beautiful day!”, I’d have a dollar thirty-five. A little sun can make up for a lot of cold.
Here’s an exchange I find myself having surprisingly often.
Other Person: I’ve been trying to find a local hiking [slash-paddling-slash-cycling-slash-climbing-slash-other-favorite-activity-here] club but haven’t had any luck. Are there any?
Me: Have you tried Meetup?
Yes, even today, after 12 years, 14.1 million members, 131,119 Meetup groups and 2.65 million monthly RSVPS (members indicating they plan to attend a Meetup activity) there are still people out there unfamiliar with Meetup.com. In short: Meetup is how people gather to play in the internet age. You want to go on a group hike in Charlotte, you join Outdoor Club South: Charlotte. You want to go kayaking in the Carolinas? Simply join Simply Kayaking. You want to do just about anything and you live in the Triangle? Become one of the 5,392 members of the Triangle Hiking & Outdoors Group: they’ve got 20 events currently scheduled and odds are at least one will tickle your adventure fancy.
Finding a group is easy. Go to Meetup.com, click “Find a Meetup Group,” click on your interest and how far you’re willing to drive, and options will appear. If they don’t, if there’s not a group that does what you want to do, start one.
To give you an idea of what’s out there, here’s a list of the 17 Meetup groups I belong to. Click, see what they do, where they go and who they are. Like what they’re about? Click one more time and become a member.
It’s that easy.
Last week, I wrote about finding enlightenment through a race report filed by fellow Uwharrie Mountain Runner Charles West. After doing the UMR’s 40-mile version (I did the 20), he shared 11 things he learned from the race. Most were about performance, about nutrition, gear, tactics. I was most struck by point No. 11:
It’s hard to paddle this time of year if you don’t have a boat. Only a handful of boat rentals are open year-round (Lake Johnson and Lake Wheeler in Raleigh come to mind), and most of those only open when the 100-degree rule applies (when the combined air and water temperature top 100). Thus, the joys of winter paddling go unappreciated by the masses.