On Wednesday, in our blog about walking after meals, we wrote about the importance of walking with people who match your pace. If you want to enjoy a walk with company, you need to be compatible. If you are an avid and fast hiker, going for a stroll with a dawdler can leave you feeling frustrated. If you like a slow walk, going with someone who cares about reaching the destination in a timely manner can be a strain and make a pleasurable walk exhausting.
As well as the emotional side of it, there is the physical component as well. You get the most out of your walk when you are with someone who matches your physical fitness level. That way, you can have a great workout — not too slow or fast with the right amount of hills.
That’s why we really enjoyed reading about the Sloth Hiking Team, whose motto is “We’ll get there when we get there.” It’s a group of hikers between the ages of 60 and 86 who splintered off from a larger hiking club because they weren’t interested in the big climbs or fast pace. They come together twice a week to walk three to four primarily flat miles and enjoy each other’s company.
“The younger friskier members of the club hike six to seven miles every Wednesday and Sunday. They even go up steep hills,” explained Claudia Craven. “So, some of the members who are slowing down a little, but still want to want to get out and about and enjoy nature at a slower, saner pace have banded together for shorter, flatter hikes.”
They carpool to the places they want to hike and get coffee together afterward. Companionship is a large part of what makes their group work. While they do log how many miles they walk, it’s all about the journey for them.
“During flower season we’ve been known to do 37-minute miles,” said Ms. Craven. That’s because they literally take time to smell the roses!
Walking with a partner or group is always a good idea for safety on new trails. You never know when you might lose your footing or need help navigating the path. With the heatwaves going on around the country, walking with company helps you in case of heatstroke or unexpected fatigue. If you have thought in the past that you didn’t enjoy hiking, it might have been about finding the right company. When you find someone who matches your pace, it can be a completely different experience. You can help each other enjoy it more and have fun as you walk.
Maybe you’d be at home with the Sloth Hiking Team, or perhaps you would want to walk with the group they splintered off from. Either way, finding people to walk with doesn’t have to be complicated. If you Google “hiking groups” and your zip code, you’ll get contact information for hiking groups to suit your style!