Run, Don’t Walk, to the Indianapolis Hiking Club
Writer / Rachel Quade
Webster’s defines a “hike” as a “long walk, especially for exercise or pleasure.” Well, meeting up regularly with the Indianapolis Hiking Club should give you plenty of exercise AND pleasure!
The group offers several hikes a day throughout the city. You want fast paced, slow paced, flat or hilly? Every kind of hike is available for you! There is a description of each hike’s terrain, speed and distance (typically 5-7 miles at a 2.5-3.5 mile per hour) listed on their website at indyhike.org. You can also find the current two month calendar detailing the daily hike offerings.
The hikes run morning through night, so you should be able to find a choice that fits your schedule. Also, there are walks 365 days a year. Don’t think cold winter days mean you have an excuse to stay home! On inclement weather days, cancellations can be found on the website.
Lucky for me, there was an opportunity to join the group right around the corner! Every Monday evening at 6 p.m., hike leader Rick Braun takes off from Mama Bear’s for a 6-8 mile walk. The group heads up Brooks School Road and walks through the Brookston Place and Hamilton Proper neighborhoods. Be warned – the group leaves their hikes on time. You should plan on arriving to the meeting place about 10 minutes early.
With a loud “tally ho,” our group leader started the hike. The eight of us fell in line keeping up with the quick pace. I will tell you – this hike is not a casual stroll. While it is possible to walk and talk, you will be somewhat winded. Undoubtedly, this is great exercise!
To keep members safe, our leader yelled out “car up” when a car was approaching. On the hike, there was an even split between men and women ranging in age from their 30s to their 60s. We had a guest group leader that day. Mike has been in the club for 31 years and goes on several hikes a week! The hikers all chatted with each other and enjoyed the camaraderie. For people who may be new to the area or just would like to find a regular group to walk with, this club is ideal!
At the end of the eight miles, the group wound their way back to Mama Bear’s. Not everyone completed the hike. A few people broke off along the way. That’s fine! Whether you make it the full eight miles or maybe just four miles, you just got in a good workout!
People can sign up to join the club on the group’s website. They have two requirements – you must be 18 and you have to have gone on at least two hikes with the club before you join. The initiation fee is $10, and the annual fee is $20 for an individual or $30 per family.
Once you join, you will have a myriad of hikes to choose from throughout the year. Last year, the group scheduled over 2,000 hikes. The hikes take place all over the city. There are hikes throughout downtown, Broad Ripple, all of the local parks, nearby malls and various neighborhoods. You also have the option of trying some of their many themed hikes, such as wildflowers, museums, monuments and flower gardens! The hike leader will share some interesting facts along the way. Though pets are not allowed on the regular hikes, the Club does schedule pet hikes, so throw a collar on Fido and join up with some friends!
If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, the Club organizes extended stay trips. This year’s trips are planned for Tucson, the Smoky Mountains and Michigan.
If you are vacationing in Florida, the Club even has options for you to meet up and hike with fellow Hoosiers. There are also hikes planned for every state park this year. For more details on any of these hikes, see the group’s website.
Last year, the Club’s members logged an astounding 88,747 miles! With over 570 members and about 40 hikes a week, you can’t help but find a hike that works for you. There are also social events throughout the year.
Our group thoroughly enjoyed the experience and definitely plans on going again! So grab your most comfortable shoes and join in on the fun. You’ll be glad you did!