Outdoor America 2018 Issue 4
Wyoming >> Hiking boots, tennis shoes, snowshoes — members of the League’s Charles E. Piersall Chapter use a variety of footwear to enjoy the outdoors, no matter the season. These Ikes hike through meadows, atop mountains, and along riverbanks on outings led by Jennie Cooper, chapter vice president, and Dan Cooper, chapter webmaster.
Three years ago, the Coopers lamented the lack of co-ed hiking groups that offered evening and weekend outings to accommodate work schedules. So Dan and Jennie started a hiking program at their League chapter. They lead hikes on Wednesday nights during spring and summer months. When the weather turns cold, they hike on Saturdays to maximize daylight hours. And when the conditions are just right, these hikes become snowshoe outings! Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join in. The most important thing to the Coopers is helping new audiences build a connection with nature.
Attendance ranges from 4 to 20 hikers eager to explore the trails around Casper, Wyoming. Some hikes are organized around specific events, such as a late-day outing to (hopefully) see bald eagles in their roosts at sunset.
The Coopers also ask participants for suggestions on future places to hike. Dan says he now has an email list of more than 120 people who are interested in the outings.
While the hiking attire may change with the seasons, the incentives remain the same year round: enjoy nature, exercise, and building a connection with the outdoors — and each other.