This is the time of year when I usually wind up making my first overnight trip into the Sierra. When I first venture back into the mountains I usually feel a rush of homecoming. I love the smell of the trees, the sounds of the birds, the lush vegetation, the rush of water in snow-fed creeks. In the high country there are the pristine lakes, the twisted junipers, the snowfields filled with suncups, and the rugged beauty of the high granite peaks themselves, especially when they reflect the last rays of the fading sun.
And do you know who I have to thank for helping me develop this love of the outdoors that I value so highly? Of course you do; it is the Sierra Club -- more specifically, our own Chapter. The Club has been bringing people together to enjoy the outdoors since 1901. I joined the Club because of my interest in conservation, but my first real exposure came when I joined the Peak Climbing Section. There I met a wideranging group of people who loved to get out and climb, and were more than willing to share their experience to help along a novice who was eager to learn. I am vastly richer for having taken this step. Not only do I have a lot of great memories, but I have made some wonderful friends who will be with me forever.
Our Chapter's activity sections enable like-minded people to get out and explore nature. For those of you who enjoy hiking but don't want to go away overnight, we have sections that offer local hikes. Most of these sections also sponsor social events, and differentiate themselves according to age group, geographic area, or lifestyle (Family Outings for example, or Sierra Singles). Some offer more strenuous hikes, while others are more laid back. Then there are sections where you will find a variety of hikes depending on who is leading them. All of these groups welcome newcomers.
If you want to get away for a weekend (or longer) various activity sections offer such trips. In addition to the Peak Climbing Section, we have sections geared towards kayakers (the LP Paddlers), cross-country skiers (the Ski Touring Section), rock climbers, and backpackers. All lead trips, usually for a couple of days or more, and most also have meetings locally where you can meet some of the members and get to know more about the group and how it operates. And all of these groups have training sessions, either formal or informal, where newbies can learn what they need to know in order to participate.
So, how do you find out more? It's easy: Go to the Chapter's home page lomaprieta.sierraclub.org and click on the Outings link, or go straight to lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/outings. There you'll find a listing of all the sections with brief descriptions of their activities, along with links that will take you directly to each section's home page. Now get out and enjoy the wilderness!