I wasn’t born a hiker, I became one. I grew up in the flat lands of Michigan and Ohio, where winters lasted forever and outdoor activity happened in three month spurts of brief but greatly appreciated nice weather. When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area at the age of 30, I discovered my now life passion thanks to a postcard in the mail.
Hike for Discovery (now part of Team in Training) was looking for participants to train to hike for a Grand Canyon event while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A good college friend had battled Hodgkin Lymphoma and the Grand Canyon was on my life bucket list. Call it serendipity or possibly fate, but either way, I’d found something inspiring to do in my new city.
After that first season of hiking dozens of trails in the Bay Area and ultimately the Grand Canyon, I’d discovered something I truly loved and made lifelong friends along the way. I have since participated in four Team in Training events (Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, snowshoeing Yosemite and Tahoe), one of which I did as a mentor. I have also gone beyond day hikes to backpacking, with my biggest accomplishment at 60 miles of the John Muir Trail.
And now with this blog, I aim to provide a destination for hike information and inspiration. Hike on!
– Johanna Hoadley, founder/writer/editor
The word hikerly may not be in any dictionary, but it’s a common adjective used by the SF Bay Area Team in Training hike teams. At some point in my four seasons of training with the team, the word became a commonplace part of my vocabulary and that of other hiker friends. A very big nod needs to go to Coach Carolyn Balling, who made sure we were all very “hikerly” in how we hit the trails, from clothing to gear to safety. She taught a lot of us how to be hikers and made us laugh while doing it. Thanks Carolyn! She is the ultimate hikerly woman and deserves credit for the origin of the word in my life. It’s even her license plate; take that Merriam-Webster!
Of course word origins are never that easy; hikerly is a word that you’ll find used throughout the Web by outdoorsy types. A 2005 Appalachian Trail journal references it, a the 1990 book New Statesman Society uses it, author Heather Rolland uses it to describe herself in her Amazon bio, and even traditional media has given it cred like this Outdoors column in the Albany Times Union. There are hikers across the country who have claimed the word for decades; perhaps we should lobby to get it added to the dictionary?