“I never take a hike where I don’t learn something new,” explains hike coordinator Sandy Jackson who started out with the group when it all began in 1984 (and took a ten year hiatus in there somewhere while working). The mix of backgrounds, occupations, and stages in life makes for stimulating conversations along the trail.
Exercise hooks other hikers to sign up. The hikes cover six to ten miles and can climb up to 2,000 feet. Rambles stay under six miles and stick to elevations less than 750-1,000 feet. For walkers tired of hitting the city streets, these organized hikes provide a welcome change of scenery.
Friendships seem to grow with the mileage logged in. “For some of us it becomes more than just a recreational group,” explains hiker Ruth Spielman. “It becomes a social network.
And then for others…they find that love blooms along with the wildflowers. A few romantic relationships have developed, including one divorced couple who started dating again and remarried. “The couple that hikes together stays together,” laughs longtime hiker Carolyn Knutson.
Although not scientific by any means, Jackson believes that “Being outside makes you more positive.” Her fellow hikers agree. “My husband always says, ‘There’s never a bad hike?’” laughs Knutson as she recalls returning home from every hike in a good mood.
Hike coordinator Jeanine Thoene speaks of the same afterglow. “I talk to my sister who lives in Nevada about this group and she says, ‘There’s no downside. Every time I talk to you, you’re up when you come back from one of these hikes. I don’t even live in Lake Oswego and I love this group!’”
These are definitely some happy trails worth checking out. All the details are included in the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation catalog. Hikes and rambles both take place on Thursdays. “You don’t have to sign up until you get here,” explains Jackson. So if you wake up and feel like moving, just show up at the West End Building, 4101 Kruse Way. Hikers leave at 8:00 a.m. (unless otherwise noted) and travel no further than two hours away from Lake Oswego. Ramblers leave at 8:30 a.m. and don’t travel as far. Fees will be collected and carpools assigned.
The season runs from mid-January to the week before Thanksgiving so there is still time to get out there and receive more than you seek!