Avid Hikers

My sub-culture was outdoor enthusiasts focusing on hikers but then we (Bethany and me) limited it down to just hikers. For last Friday, we had some secondary research about the gears they wear, their language, etc. We also had interviews set up, our leave behind determined, and an idea for a field research. We contacted a group to see if we can join them on their hike, but according to them, it would've been too "strenuous" for us so they didn't let us come. At the end of that class though, we found another group that allowed us to hike with them at Leawood Park on Saturday. So in the end, everything worked out pretty nicely. We also had an interview scheduled for 4 on Friday with Julie Cirlincuina. Some notes on that interview:

  • Doesn't have a favorite trail because each one has its own characteristic but if she had to pick one, it'd be Konza Prairie in Manhattan, KS. It's a 6 mile hike with beautiful scenery.
  • She started hiking because she needed another hobby. She doesn't like shopping anymore because after a while, they stop making cute things for you. (now I'm assuming she's in her 40s because she sounded like it and I didn't want to ask)
  • Her mindset while hiking is to forget everyday life and just focus on the surrounding - sound, hear, smell, etc.
  • She doesn't think about life while on a hike. The stress and everything just goes away.
  • She finds hiking to be therapeutic.
  • Indoors, her mind is not worried about intrusions whereas outdoors, she's more focused. Her senses are heightened and she needs to be more aware of her surroundings.
  • There's a better sense of self because she's more focused inward instead of mundane things. It's also more spiritual for her.
  • Hiking has improved her health and vascular stamina. She also stated again that there's a better sense of self.
  • "A good day on the trail is a good day in the office."
I wanted to keep the interview short since it was a phone interview and her time seemed precious so I only asked the more "important" question. She seemed pretty open and okay with talking about everything. There were some questions that I asked her and I remember her saying, "You're actually making me think." I guess she hasn't really thought about how hiking has impacted her so that was interesting to hear. 

So Bethany and me went on a hike with Julie's group, Women's Outdoor Recreation, without knowing about it. They were actually hiking with another group as well but it was coincidental that we got to talk to more ladies from the WOR group. Some notes I took of this hike:
  • A lot of the members were wearing similar gears like some sort of hat (knitted and caps), a thick outdoors coat, thick gloves, hiking shoes (mainly boots of sorts), backpack, cargo pants or sweats, some had hiking sticks (the older ones), fanny packs, etc.
  • They are very sociable and talkative, but not in the sense of gossiping, they were just genuinely interested in many topics.
  • There were clear leaders who led the group through the trails. 
  • Very open people and very nice, respectful, sweet, caring. They seemed worry about Bethany and me hiking with them but they were all for it.
  • There were more ladies there than men (but I'm assuming that's because they are also a part of the WOR group).
  • Very relaxed group, they stopped occasionally to take pictures of the scenery. They were also really excited to be hiking and being outdoors and being a part of nature.
  • They were also very funny, cracking jokes whenever possible.
  • They liked challenges on the trail like trekking through the snow or crossing water.
  • The whole group consisted of 20 people or so. Most of them in their 40s to 70s. They are at that age where their kids are settled down and they don't have to worry so much.
  • Not even halfway through the trail yet, people were taking off their thick coats already, revealing that they wore more than one layer underneath.
  • Many of the ladies were talking about their families and trips they took or ones they are planning to take. The trips seem to be to colder climates like Wisconsin, Alaska, and Colorado. This hints that they really like being outdoors and doing winter activities.
  • They seemed to be animal lovers since many talked about bringing their dogs with them, but because of the snow, it was a bit difficult. Leawood Park also require dogs to be on leashes at certain areas, otherwise they would've brought their dogs.
  • People walked in single file when we were on the horse trails but then they walked in groups when we were on bike trails.
  • "All it takes is will."
  • When someone passes them on a bike on the bike trail, they all yell "BIKE!" so that people behind them know to walk to the side.
  • They plan out which trail they hike but they don't walk it before the big hike with everyone so obstacles comes as a surprise.
  • The trail we went on is getting more difficult because of the creek coming up.
During the hike, I also talked to a lady named Jackie. She coordinates most of the hike with Julie (the lady I interviewed) and was super nice. I had no idea that she knew Julie so that was cool. But a few stories/facts she told me while we were walking back:
  • There's usually only 6 or 7 people that comes out to a hike. The one we joined in had a really good turn out with 20 people or so.
  • Every year they do a hike on the last weekend of January. Every year they hike somewhere different. Last year, it was in Michigan where the temperature was below 30.
  • There's a project happening that is working towards joining all the trails around KC into a group.
  • They get funding from the government to get more people into hiking since it doesn't cost a lot and it doesn't take much training to get involved.
  • They don't hike much in the summer because of the hot weather. They like to hike at cooler temperature like what it was on Saturday. So in the summer, they would hike really early in the morning or go canoeing, ice skating, kayaking, etc. during the day.
  • The group sometimes plans trips to take together to go hiking in another state.
  • One year, they had a New Years Day hike where they all got together and hiked with really cold temperatures and then headed over to a person's house where everyone cooked different kinds of soups to share.
  • They get together every year to clean up the trails. There's other groups, like the biking group and another hiking group, that takes care of different trails. The horse trail we went on wasn't taken very good care of because people stopped having horses to ride through so it's become a bit disheveled.
  • There was a story she told me about them marking a trail with paint so that people knew and by the end of it, the guy was covered in blue paint and it was the type that is permanent so it was hard to get off.
  • The group is trying to get younger people involved but realizes that they are busy and some find it boring. The younger people get more involved when things are indoors, like ice skating in the summer.
  • The group we went with is a lot more relaxed and chill than most others. This one likes to stop and rest, whereas other groups hike continuously. She told me a story about how a few of them went hiking with the super avid hikers and couldn't keep up.
  • Reasons why people were hiking involved keeping up their health and to keep their bones healthy.
A lot of information! There's more on Bethany's blog about our leave behind and our other interview.

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