Solitude in the Maine woods is splendid.
So is having other people to chat with the whole way, be they old friends or brand new, because sharing the experience makes it better and also because it increases the likelihood one of them will trade you a few Fig Newtons in exchange for some Fritos. Snack swaps are one of the many perks to hiking with other people.
There are other perks, too: Hiking with a group is an excellent way to meet new people, and you already have hiking in common, so there’s a great place to start the conversation. You’re also likely to learn new things, like other great places to hike, opinions on gear, what bird that is circling overhead, and a countless number of totally-unrelated-to-hiking topics that tend to come up on the trail (want to talk real-crime TV shows? I’m your gal).
Plus, there’s safety in numbers, and it’s nice to know that someone will notice if you lose your footing and slip into a steep ravine.
If you’ve already scored a cool hiking cohort, way to go! If you’re in the market for some new hiking pals, I recommend joining a local hiking group. There are a host of hiking groups in Maine and New England, many of which are free. There are co-ed groups and women-only groups and groups for brand-new hikers and groups for folks with more experience. And all offer the chance to get out on a trail with some new-to-you people, who just might become new-to-you friends.
Hike with these outdoors groups in Maine
Women who hike Maine
The Maine chapter of Women Who Hike, this FB group is good for connecting with fellow women hikers, whether you’re looking for people to hike with (there are some organized hikes) or just want recommendations on great hikes in a certain area or which spikes people prefer in the winter.
Join the group: www.facebook.com/groups/332781623858383/
Alpine Women Collective
Women. Mountains. And sometimes camping, neckerchiefs, and beer. Sarah and Cait started this group a couple years ago to help other women experience the awesomeness that is hiking. They guide hikes throughout the year (none on the schedule at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled) and are open to new and experienced hikers. Most day hikes are free. Read more about the group in this story from Maine Women Magazine (full disclosure: I’m an editor of this magazine, which means I doubly like this story and, if you find a typo, it’s my fault): #babehike: Adventures in the woods with Alpine Women Collective
See upcoming hikes and more info on the group:
alpinewomencollective.com and www.facebook.com/alpinewomencollective
Girls who hike ME
The Maine chapter of Girls Who Hike, this FB group was created to be a “community of like-minded women who can connect, network, and discover together through our Maine trails.” There are organized meetups, plus you can get trail and gear recommendations and find people to hike with.
Join the group: www.facebook.com/groups/GirlsWhoHikeME/
Appalachian Mountain Club
You’ve probably heard of the Appalachian Mountain Club, which was started in 1876 and has chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C. The goal of the club – and the Maine chapter – is to promote the protection and enjoyment of the woods, mountains, and waters. Organized events include hiking (but of course) and paddling, cycling, and skiing. The AMC also has network of huts and guidebooks.
Check out their guided trips. And become a member.
Find them on www.meetup.com
There are also women-only programs and an AMC Maine/NH Young Members Facebook group.
More info: www.amcmaine.org
Outdoor Women’s Alliance
The New England chapter of the Outdoor Women’s Alliance (OWA) is a grassroots effort to promote women in the world of outdoor sports. This chapter spans MA, ME, NH, VT, and CT with occasional organized events (none listed in Maine at the moment), and is also a place to ask questions about gear or recommendations on your next adventure.
Join the Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/OWANewEngland/
Trail Dames of Portland Maine
Another national group with a local chapter. Trail Dames was founded in Georgia in 2006 by hiker and self-proclaimed “woman of a curvy nature” Anna Huthmaker – and there are now chapters across the country. The chapter here is geared toward curvy women and brand-new hikers (essentially anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable joining a traditional hiking group). Hikes are generally free and happen fairly regularly throughout the year. I joined them for a hike last year: Trail Dames of Portland, Maine: A hiking group for curvy women
More info: www.meetup.com/Trail-Dames-of-Portland-Maine/
Ladies Adventure Club
The LAC offers more than hiking (XC skiing, yoga, writing workshops, archery, to name a few), but there are lots of hikes throughout the year. The group is geared toward new and experienced outdoorswomen of all ages, and founder Gillian does a nice job of mixing up the offerings. There is a membership fee ($50 a year), which includes access to all the events and a regular newsletter. I wrote about the club a while back: Add more adventure into your life with the Ladies Adventure Club.
More info: ladiesadventureclubmaine.com
Maine Outdoor Adventure Club
MOAC is an all-volunteer club chock full of outdoors-lovers. There’s plenty of hiking, of course, and mountain biking and rafting and walking and more. The club, which first launched in 1989, is open to all ages and levels. This is a membership club ($20 a year for an individual), but there are also lots of organized events for the public, too.
More info: www.facebook.com/Maine-Outdoor-Adventure-Club-MOAC and moac.org