America’s new mantra has become “take it outside,” but those of us who have been enjoying Osher hikes for the last five years already know about the many benefits of “taking it outside.”

Our core group of hikers, which has grown steadily from an initial four to five to what is now 15 to 20, has been experiencing one new adventure after another. To participate in historic urban walks, winding trails and even challenging climbs like Old Rag Mountain, the Osher hikers meet monthly to enjoy our beautiful state and the congeniality of the group.

Why do we exchange comfortable living rooms for hiking on woodland trails? John Muir may have put it best when he wrote "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." Our members hike in the spirit of John Muir and also for the opportunity to spend outside time with like-minded friends, and to meet new ones. Others are in awe of our area's abundance of historic sites and welcome the opportunity to see them first-hand. Others simply value the solitude of the woods and the many gifts that Mother Nature has to offer.

When asked about their favorite hikes, many of our group reflect fondly on our "hot and humid" ascent of White Oak Canyon and our lunch at the base of a waterfall with our feet dangling in icy-cold stream water. Others remember the challenge of Old Rag with a few bloodied elbows and some leg cramps offset by magnificent 360 degree views from the summit. It was that day that we all learned the three rules of mountaineering: It's always farther than it looks, it's always taller than it looks, and it's always harder than it looks. However, most of our hikes are not as arduous or challenging as White Oak Canyon or Old Rag Mountain and provide opportunities for the most inexperienced of hikers.

All of our wonderful hiking opportunities would not be possible were it not for the hard work, thought and energy contributed by our hike committee consisting of Marshall Ervine, Floyd Myers, LeAnn Hensche, George Cain, Tim Hanger and Charlie Huffstetler. It is their preparation, guidance and leadership which make all of our hikes interesting and fun.

All Osher members are welcome. Come join us on our next hike.

–Kent Skidmore (Photo by Tim Hanger)