When I'm out giving an outdoor program about biking, hiking, paddling or whatever, a common question often comes up: "I'm new to town, and I wondered if there are any hiking or biking clubs that I could join to meet people and car-pool to outdoor outings?"
The answer is yes, there are a number of outdoor clubs in the Boise area. Some are more organized than others. But there are actually quite a few groups. I'll talk about some groups that I'm most familiar with here in this week's column, and if people know of other good clubs that I overlooked, please let me know in the comments section below the blog.
- Idaho Outdoors Yahoo Group - This is an active group whose 1,800 members often request friends to accompany them on hiking, biking, skiing or snowshoe outings in SW Idaho. Owen Jones does a fine job of moderating the group. Anca Stamm is leading a day trip to Sawtooth Lake on Sunday, Sept. 12. See the group posts for more details. All you have to do is get a Yahoo login, if you don't have one already (no cost), and you can join Yahoo groups and post. Leo Hennessy, non-motorized trail coordinator for Idaho Parks & Recreation, leads lots of trips for the Idaho Outdoors group. Leo knows his stuff and he's very well traveled in Idaho. The group also meets on First Thursdays in Boise to get to know each other a little better while strolling through art galleries and drinking wine. Once you join the group, you'll get a daily digest of message posts.
- Idaho Whitewater Yahoo Group - Idaho Whitewater is a little bigger than Idaho Outdoors with 2,288 members, and it's very active as well. People post information and pictures about their trips, which can be very helpful when you're planning a river trip and want to check on water levels and conditions (trees across the river, changes in rapids, etc.). A lot of experienced whitewater boaters like Ted Day, who also is very knowledgeable about river levels in Idaho as an employee of the Bureau of Reclamation, frequently post information to the group. Many members of the Idaho Whitewater Association are members of this group as well, so you can keep tabs on IWA's projects.
- Idaho Mountain Recreation - This is a relatively new club in the Boise area, and they have a solid following. Their next trip is "Peak Bagging in the Lemhi Mountains," on the weekend of Sept. 10-12. It's an overnight trip. Idaho Mountain Recreation has monthly meetings with guest speakers (I have been one of them), and they do a lot of fun trips. Colleen Back is the current president. She's a pilot, hiker, skier and fly fisher, among other things.
- Boise Women's Hiking Network - Joyce Fabre of Boise leads this Yahoo group, which now has almost 900 members. They do a lot of hiking, biking, backpacking, skiing and snowshoe trips. Good source for women who like to go on outings with women. They also do social gatherings from time to time. Joyce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Boise Trail Heads has a hiking group with 400+ plus members. They're planning a hike on the Corrals Trail tonight at 8:30 p.m. Mike Needham runs the group. Click on the Boise Trail Heads to learn more about the group. The group is run through meetup.com, a Facebook affiliate.
- SWIMBA - The Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association leads mountain bike rides primarily in the Boise Foothills and in other locations in SW Idaho on a regular basis. The club is very well organized, being led at the present time by president Margie Rosenberg. Planned outings this weekend include the Sawtooth bike trek on Sept. 11 and a ride from Baker Lake to Norton Creek Sept. 12. See the SWIMBA web site for more details.
- Mountain West Outdoor Club - I couldn't find their web site, but the group has existed for about 15 years. They do low-key non-competitive outings such as hikes, bike rides and other activities. Call 208-854-1139 for more information.
- Singlesteps of Boise - This is a group led by Leslie Harned of retirees and others who have flexible schedules to do hikes and other outings during the week. Leslie is currently leading two hikes per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting at 9 a.m. The group has a calendar on its web site, and others are welcome to lead outings. They also go to movies, play golf and go bowling. Contact Leslie at 321-0134.
- If you like to do trail-running, Greenbelt running or running in general, there are a number of clubs specifically focused on running, including the Y Striders (runs start and finish at the downtown YMCA), Hash House Harriers (running and beer drinking or vice versa :) ), Boise Aggies, and Boise Run/Walk. Two running stores, Bandanna Running and Walking, and Shu's Idaho Running Company, offer weekly outings as well.
- Many of Boise's bike shops also offer regular weekly outings or sponsor riding clubs. If you have a favorite bike shop, ask them about weekly rides. Idaho Mountain Touring sponsors the Lactic Acid Cycling Club, which has a strong following. George's Cycles sponsors the Boise Cycling Club. Bob's Bicycles sponsors road and mountain bike teams but there are no weekly rides at the present time. Again, check with your favorite bike shop to see if they have regular rides.
- If you have kids who might want to ride bikes competitively, the Boise Youth Rider Development Squad, BYRDS, is the place to go. BYRDS is led by Douglas Tobin, a very experienced cyclist and fitness expert. BYRDS helps kids learn how to ride road bikes, mountain bikes and cycle-cross. They have several rides every week. Contact Tobin for more inforation, email@example.com.
- Both Idaho River Sports and Alpenglow Mountainsport provide regular paddling outings, often low-key canoe and kayak float trips. IRS is leading a trip on the North Fork Meanders, starting at North Beach on Payette Lake on Sunday, Sept. 12. Alpenglow is promoting a competitive event at Kelly's Whitewater Park in Cascade on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Thanks! - SS