This week I hiked with a group of women who hike every Wednesday morning all year long. I felt that I was in the company of greatness — as though I’d joined “the Order of Walkers” as the naturalist John Burroughs called those who invest in regular walking.
The members of the group known as the Wednesday Women’s Hiking Cooperative have lost count of the precise number of years and outings they’ve undertaken, but they remember the companionship and the scenery. Organized through a reliable and unobtrusive email network, the group resists being over-organized. No bylaws or officers or fees. They just like to be outside.
Linda Bogardus of Keene, one of the two women at the center of the group, explained that the members are from all over Essex County.
Meredith Johnston, the other informally delegated coordinator added, “We get exercise, fresh air, learn of new places to explore and enjoy the natural wonders of the Adirondacks! Enough said.”
Eighty-five names are on the Wednesday Women’s Hiking Cooperative email list but attendance is around 5 to 10 on a given week.
Members range in age and interests. They range from those who climb to those who prefer flat land. Some like roads, some like trails. Some like snowshoes, some need trekking poles. Some come year-round and others take off summers to paddle or winters to downhill ski. Each one takes off when family or health dictates. There are newcomers and long-timers. They talk of deer scat and oak galls and grown children in foreign countries and the difference between Apple TV and a Roku box.
This week I joined them for a combination of a bush whack and a road hike. We headed off the road in the direction of Styles Brook. Down a steep bank we came across a game trail along the brook that wreaked havoc on the Town of Keene. This year it still shows its power with a steady, rugged flow over dramatic, rocky drops.