I get a lot of solid life advice from “The Sound of Music” (like how most things are best said through song and how curtains should always be made from comfortable fabrics, just in case you’re compelled to wear them one day). So when the Mother Abbess advises Maria – and the world – to “climb every mountain” and “ford every stream,” I figure I better damn well get climbing.
Of course, if you want to read into it, it’s possible that Mother Abbess just meant “go find your purpose in life,” but I’d rather think she meant GO HIKING.
That’s life advice I can get behind. And it’s relatively easy to follow, right? Just show up to the well-marked trailhead leading to Katahdin or Mount Megunticook or Caribou Mountain or some other grand peak and get climbing. Easy!
Except it’s not always that easy. For new hikers or folks who haven’t been hiking in a while, getting started can feel daunting, especially when “hiking in Maine” makes most of us think of hours-long treks up 3,000+ foot mountains…or mountains that might as well be 3,000 feet, because we’re out of shape and probably won’t make the summit anyway and we’d really rather not have to call for a rescue chopper.
Sure, those big hikes are awesome (Mount Megunticook is a personal favorite) but there are so many really fantastic – and easy to tackle – trails around the state. And there’s a really fantastic beginner hiking/snowshoeing group, so you’ll have plenty of people to start exploring those trails with.
The group, aptly called Maine Beginner Hiking/Snowshoeing Meetup for Women, is a new women-only meetup led by Kendra Wheeler. (Kendra is the owner of fitGOALS Training and she started the group as a way to encourage more women to get outside on the trails. And also because she likes to hike.)
Worth noting: It’s free. (There are sometimes trail fees, but those are generally just a few bucks.)
Last Sunday was the group’s first fall hike – we ventured into Wolfes Neck State Park to hike the trails and gawk at the water. Nearly 25 women showed up – from Lewiston, Brunswick, Portland and elsewhere – and while some hikers came with a friend, by and large most came on their own. (So if you’re hesitant to show up for a hike where you won’t know anyone, don’t worry. You’ll be in good company!)
UPDATE 1/19/16: Lots of winter snowshoe meetups planned! Like Pineland Farms Jan. 23, Libby Hill Farm in Gray on Jan. 31 and Falmouth Nature Preserve on Feb. 6, among others. See more: www.meetup.com/Maine-Hiking-Women
It happened to be a splendid fall morning and within minutes, introductions were made and conversations started popping up all over the place. By the end of the hike, jokes were made about our impressive chatting skills.
The group is open to any woman interested in hiking some trails and meeting other people who also want to hike some trails. The hikes will be beginner-friendly, so all fitness levels are welcome. “We go as slow as our slowest person,” she said.
Here’s the meetup group description: “Let’s get together for beginner hikes along local Maine trails, like Bradbury Mountain, Wolf’s Neck, and Beaver Park. We can also grab brunch or coffee after our hike if that sounds like fun. This is a perfect group for anyone who struggles to get outdoors and be active on their own. If you want to meet new people and explore new places – this is the group for you!”
Hikes will mostly be on Sunday mornings and last around an hour. And soon, when the snow starts falling (snow!) the hiking will turn to “snowshoeing.”
(Need snowshoes? Check out Portland Gear Hub in Portland for inexpensive used equipment.)
Now: GO HIKING. Mother Abbess insists.