My First Meetup

I went to my first ever Meetup event today. Couldn’t have been a more pleasant day as far as the weather goes; mid-70’s, light cloud coverage, a little breeze and no bugs! Went to Lebanon Hills Regional Park, what a fabulous little gem not too far from the city. It was quite a large group, so we randomly split into two groups of 16 plus a leader. There were more women than men, I think about 6 men to 11 women in the group I ended up in.
The man who led our hike was in his upper 40’s and leads hikes with another group too, which I am going to check out. He told us about a winter hike that lasted almost 8 hours, when advertised as 4-5 hours, he referred to at as Epic! He set a brisk but doable pace and maintained way more energy and excitement than I throughout!
I started in the middle of the pack, was briefly in the back after one stop, but then towards the head og the pack for most of it. We did stop for a couple brief photo ops, to let some stragglers catch up, and allowed a Boys Scout group to pass us twice! We took so many twists, turns, forks in the road that I was really happy someone else was leading.
There were a couple lakes, lots of creeks, ponds, marshes, paths for portaging canoes, a few camp sites, shelters, benches and other places to take breaks, In some of the wetter parts of the hike there were boardwalks, but most of the path was just dirt, much of the path was wide enough to walk 2 by 2, some places we had to go single file. There were hills but none TOO bad.
I realize more and more lately that I have become much more comfortable striking up conversation with complete strangers than I was when I was younger. There was a group of 3 women that looked close to my age, maybe more upper 30’s, but i didn’t really conversate with them. I chatted with the guy taking photographs throughout the trip and his wife, who are both close to 70 I would guess, the 20-something guy with a ponytail who is a surgical nurse, the quiet, older lady who was the only one using a walking stick, and a 40-something woman who has never been married, has no kids and is going on an adventure trip shortly to New Zealand!
All and all it was a beautiful 5.8 mile hike that was nice to be able to experience with others who all like hiking and spending time outside. At the end of the hike my hair was wet with sweat, my skin was flushed, I felt invigorated and even if those I was walking with weren’t people I would necessarily hang-out with outside of a meet-up event, I will definitely go to another Meetup!

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