Outdoor Clubs On East Coast

If you are single or have hard time to make you friends get of bed to climb some mountains or paddle some rivers - well, here’s something that might interest you. I’ve found few huge and really cool organizations that engage themselves in doing some interesting adventure outings in groups. The biggest and the best of these is the Sierra Club. It’s purpose of existence is nature conservancy and awareness. Every week they have multiple outings - hikes, kayaks, group dinners, meetings and even outdoor movie shows! The places I’d visited with some of the hike leaders this summer were mind blowing, kind of secret gems… They also have special singles outings which I guess is better place to find that special someone then anywhere else because people who you meet in these clubs are the ones who you can identify with yourself, the spirit of adventure and sense of exploration. The Sierra club is non-profit, has chapter in almost every state in US (I usually go out with NY and NJ chapters) and they excert high influence on US nature policies.

Another huge organization is AMC or Appalachian Mountain Club. They stand out by the diversity and huge quantity of outings they offer - including everything from hiking, sailing, kayaking, tour of Brooklyn bridge, night time Central Park, ice caves, all summer softball at Central Park, camping at their own facilities, windjammer cruises, tree identification walks, a day at Coney Island and so on. In spite of these, I like them less compared to Sierra due to couple of reasons. They don’t publish their schedules fully on web and force you to get their printed book. That tiny book takes time to arrive and can easily get misplaced. Many of the hike leaders doesn’t have or disclose their email addresses and at many instances, you will find it hard to contact them by any means even if they disclose anything at all. While most the people you will meet are very respectable and pleasant in person, the Sierra’s flavor of openness and friendly feel is not as strong.

The last organization on the list is ADK or Adirondack Mountain Club. Actually this is the first one I came to know about before any other. While it’s small and locally focused on NY/North NJ, I believe it’s the most intimate and friendliest club around. But the coolest things they do which sets them apart from everybody else is their international and national adventure travel. The list includes week-long outings like staying with real Inuit people at Greenland in the way they live, hikes at Swiss Alps, England Coast-to-Coast, trekking with donkeys in France, Grand Canyon backpacking, Alaska rafting and so on.

A last point: I’ve often observed that that age proportion at many of these vibrant exciting clubs is not well balanced: numbers of young people (in 20s) is strikingly and surprisingly less. I guess it’s responsibility of people like us to spread the word and keep these clubs and spirit alive in the coming time. So get out of the bed and go somewhere!

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Shital Shah

A program trying to understand what it’s computing.

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