With half of the autumn leaves still on the trees and the other half covering our path ahead, we all gathered by our cars. Some of us put on our gloves, and some of us wished that we had brought gloves; the cold fall weather came quickly. We exchanged names (and repeated them a few times for memory), reviewed our plan for the day, and then we began our hike.
Our single file line of hikers paired up in twos and threes and began talking. At first we covered known common ground which is our involvement with AMC. One participant has been climbing for a while with the mountaineering committee, a few of us hike regularly, and others are new to the area and to the club. We turned our conversations to our careers, and the moving and traveling we are doing to build them. Two participants study and work in healthcare, two others worked in Virginia, and others are now beginning something new. The conversations shifted and then turned again. They never went quiet for very long. We talked about local fairs, new restaurants, and trails where we may plan more AMC hikes in the future.
We stopped when we found some interesting mushrooms and to have a drink of water, but mostly we kept a steady pace until we reached the New England Trail. Out on the ridge we took in the views: the peak of Mt. Tom was to the southwest, and we looked out over the town of Easthampton in the valley below. The wind kicked up but we stayed for a few minutes anyway. We posed for a group picture and shared snacks. Too cold, we descended back into the cover of the trees along the trails, crossed a couple of small bridges over a stream, and arrived back again at our cars.
A couple of hikers returned home to do homework while the rest of us went to dinner. We met another group of AMC Young Members (20s/30s) hikers there. Like us, they also hiked along the New England Trail, but they chose a longer section of the trail and hiked at a faster pace. At these few dinner tables brought together, end to end, some ordered drinks and some shared a bottle of wine. We all quickly ate the fresh bread and oil. We laughed and talked some more about hiking and our experiences. Our meals came and soon leftovers were boxed. Then we headed home, to begin the week again.
Registration for these Inter-Chapter Young Members hikes fills fast, sometimes even weeks in advance. We need your help: we need more leaders who are in their 20s and 30s to host just a couple of activities per year. Many Young Members are busy with coursework and careers, but a little help from each new leader goes a long way! Whatever your interest, we’ll provide you with the resources, training, and funding that you need.Thanks!
About the Author: Nicole Dewberry is a hiking leader and the Young Members (20s/30s) Chair. Feel free to contact her at any time to make your first plans as an AMC volunteer.