Hiking as an Opportunity for Camaraderie

Submitted on behalf of Andrea Schwartz, long-time AVAC® Member

One day in the spring of 2017, I joined my daughter for a hike. I never considered myself someone who would like hiking, always passing by that section whenever in a sporting goods store. However, something about an outside workout that can be as challenging as I wanted it to be, increased my appetite for hiking. Before long, I bought myself some “real” hiking boots and went on more hikes. I managed to walk the Los Gatos Creek Trail all the way to the reservoir, the Campbell Trail, a loop at Quicksilver Park, all around Vasona Park, and to the top of Mt. Umunhum the weekend it opened.

Andrea hike1.jpg

During my next weekly training session with Oceana Berry, I proudly shared my hiking success of reaching Mt. Umunhum’s peak. She told me about AVAC’s monthly hiking group and invited me to participate. It took me awhile to clear my Friday morning schedule to join her, but eventually I started putting it on the calendar.  So far, I have done two hikes with fellow-AVACers and have enjoyed the varied conversations in the midst of walking through beautiful Creation!

Like all good ideas, AVAC’s hiking model inspired me that I could replicate it with women I mentor around the Bay Area, all of whom I have met in church circles and events. Most of them already know each other, but rarely get a chance to do things like this together. I also invite them to bring their daughters and babies along, to help with potential babysitting issues. Because they live all around the Bay, we select a different location each month: South Bay, East Bay, and Peninsula locations. How blessed we are to live in a great place with many trails from which to choose!

It does take a bit of work to organize it all, and my intent is to keep it small enough that all the participants get a chance to talk with each other at some point during the hike.  I am grateful to Oceana and the management of AVAC that they not only provide something like this for their members, but also have inspired me to implement their model for a group of women I know.

-Andrea Schwartz

Visit AVAC’s Hike Club webpage for information about upcoming group hikes.

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