Immersion Traveler: Take a Hike
By Sheryl Kayne
Patricia has always enjoyed walking. She realized at some point about eight years ago that she’d somehow gotten out of the hiking mode she had enjoyed growing up.
“Living in Chicago, where there are forest preserves with a good half-day walk or more on blacktop or concrete, and city views rather than wilderness areas, I had to make an effort to find a hiking group.”
She found Adventures in Good Company, specializing in outdoor travel adventures for women of all ages and backgrounds. The Web site has quite a diverse range of selections for travel all over the United States. The trips are rated by the level of conditioning participants need to be at to fully enjoy the trip, from moderate good health to top conditioning with endurance or weight training.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to like being with a group, but it worked out great,” says Patricia. “I like the philosophy and design of the trips. I specifically seek out hiking trips and that’s what I can count on getting—trips with the emphasis on hiking and backpacking.
“I want to come back changed from my travels. It isn’t that it has to be anything drastic, sometimes it’s just observing what someone else does to create less waste, or learning about a different seasoning, how to use a new spice,” says Patricia, adding that on one trip she learned how to tie her hiking boot laces so that they won’t come undone.
“Interacting with others and learning about where I go makes me rethink the ordinary in my life and the things I take for granted. I watch others to see how they live, how their city is structured, how traffic flows, and attitudes in the wilderness, or behavior in traffic jams, and they all provide perceptions to improve how I live.”
I too am cautious about joining in with groups. I know I’ll enjoy the experience of being with other like-minded people, particularly if I have a few of my friends with me. My concern is the pace. I love walking, but that’s what I am, a walker. It’s always important to ask for definitions of the physical rating system. I know I need a special category all of my own: moderate conditioning at tortoise pace.
I’d really like to try the Introduction to Lightweight Backpacking trip, geared to women who want to learn about the newest lightweight techniques and equipment. Trips are offered at different times. One is on the Appalachian Trail, from Fox Creek to Wise Mountain (Virginia). Group size was limited to 10 and rated M+, suitable for people who work out vigorously three to four times a week for 30 – 45 minutes and are comfortable maintaining physical activity the entire day. I’d need to get into shape for that.
A very interesting Adventures in Good Company trip coming up in August is Summertime in Door County, in aptly named Sister Bay, Wisconsin. There’s Biking the trails of Peninsula State Park, taking the ferry across to Washington Island, and kayaking and sailing. This is a great way to explore a new area in an organized way with someone else figuring out the details.
Door County has 250 miles of shoreline. It is a 75-mile long peninsula with small towns that have great restaurants, art galleries, state parks, and fabulous shopping. Participants stay in 2-bedroom condos at the Scandinavian Lodge in single rooms unless you are traveling with someone you’d like to room with. In addition to the great outdoors, there are indoor and outdoor heated pools, a whirlpool/sauna, tennis court, and fitness center – a girls’ dream getaway with a flexible schedule to enjoy it all as you choose. Happy Summer!
Adventures in Good Company (5913 Brackenridge Ave., Baltimore, MD, 21212; 1-877-439-4042; 410-435-1965; www.adventuresingoodcompany.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; 1 week trips Lightweight Backpacking $1,050; Door County, $1591 – $1690 with certain discounts available; check the Web site for details).
Sheryl Kayne has two new travel books out in the stores and available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble: VOLUNTEER VACATIONS ACROSS AMERICA and IMMERSION TRAVEL USA. Drop her a note to Sheryl@immersiontraveler.com if you’d like autographed stickers for your books!