Hi, my name is Jaime, and I am a true-crime junkie. I listen to true-crime podcasts, and I was all over the recently released Ted Bundy Netflix documentary. There are even times when my true-crime obsession affects my daily routine. I’ll often triple check to make sure I’ve locked my apartment door behind me, I try to park in well-lit areas, and I’m currently awaiting the delivery of my brand new bulletproof vest; you know, for everyday wear… nothing too serious. (I’m kidding, but, FYI, they are available on Amazon).
So, with those things in mind, and despite what every crime junkie or murderino would advise, I decided to meet up with a group of complete strangers deep in the woods on a Wednesday evening against my better judgement. Not only did I live to tell the tale, I actually plan on going back for more!
During these cold winter months, I am especially grateful for *indoor* group fitness classes. I love being able to escape the cold and get in a wonderful workout, but sometimes, my heart just longs to be outdoors. I think we can all agree that fresh air does our bodies and minds some serious good. During the winter though, I’ll admit that often, the most fresh air I get is when I’m speed-walking from my car to the warmth of my next indoor destination.
The Cincinnati Parks Foundation Hiking Club sure doesn’t let the cold stand in their way of hiking. I decided to bundle up and join them for a hike in Mount Airy Forest, and honestly, after our first uphill venture, I had already broken a sweat!
The Hiking Club was started about eleven years ago as a way for community members to come together to enjoy the beautiful Mount Airy Forest, all while getting in a good workout… and I have to say, this was the most scenic workout I’d had in a long time.
As we took off on our path, I was instantly swept into engaging conversation with my fellow hikers. The group of six was more than welcoming, and their warmth made me forget about the chilly temperatures. I took a few moments to speak with Barbara, our fearless leader for the afternoon. She is currently the designated leader for all of the hikes throughout the week; her experience and kindness made it very clear that we were in good hands. While Barbara was very laid-back and easy to talk to, she doesn’t mess around when it comes to hiking! I really did get a great workout as she set a pace for our group that kept my heart rate up and my endorphins high!
In my conversation with Barbara and with all of the group members, one sentiment seemed to hold true for everyone. Hiking serves as a blissful getaway; experiencing the nature is liberating, and a welcome escape from the stressors of desk-jobs and everyday trials and tribulations. I couldn’t agree more.
In just an hour, I felt better connected with a loving group of people, with nature, and with myself. Escaping into the beautiful Mount Airy Forest with quality company was just what I needed for a midweek pick-me-up, and if you dress in proper layers, I can assure you that the cold won’t bother you after just a few minutes of hiking! … and that is coming from someone who goes out dancing on the weekends in wool socks and with leggings underneath my jeans; I do not mess around with Cincinnati winter.
The Hiking Club meets on Wednesdays at 4:30 pm, with the hike lasting about an hour. On Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, hikes begin at 8:00 am and last closer to 90 minutes. All hikes start at Everybody’s Treehouse (which by itself is SO worth checking out!) Joining the club is completely free, but if you do choose to embark on the journey, you’ll want to print and sign this waiver. More about the club here.
I will definitely be going back to join the hiking club on another adventure soon. And, hey, I think any true-crime obsessor like me can agree that hiking in the woods with such a friendly group is not only a lot more fun, but a heck of a lot safer, as well 😉