“There are plenty of people in our community who like outdoorsy stuff — hiking, biking, all kinds of activities like that,” says Craig Howell, the woods coordinator for Adventuring, an LGBTQ activity group. “The ideas for what to do come directly from our members. It just depends on what the trip leaders want to do and when they can schedule it.”
Adventuring lets would-be hikers know about the physical demands of each hike beforehand, and reserves more strenuous activities for experienced hikers in good physical shape. Still, Howell says that’s the exception more than the rule. Typically, the average Adventuring outing attracts up to 10 people during the winter months, and up to two dozen during peak hiking season.
As the group prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary, members are planning a hike in Shenandoah National Park, and possibly even a whole weekend of camping and fishing at Rapidan Camp, the site of a residential cabin in Shenandoah where former President Herbert Hoover and his wife used to vacation when they lived in the White House. Pete Kostik, one of Adventuring’s co-founders, is even being coaxed out of retirement to lead the excursion.
One of the group’s favorite adventures is the “Blackberry Ice Cream” hike, which occurs during the summer, when hikers head for the mountains to escape the sweltering heat in the District.
“People don’t think about this, but the higher the elevation, the drier and cooler it is,” says Howell. “The temperature can drop as much as 10 to 15 degrees at the highest elevations of Shenandoah National Park. Every time we do one of those hikes, we end up at one of the park lodges, like Skyland or Big Meadows, where they make this blackberry ice cream that’s just out of this world. We realized that we had to start advertising these hikes based on the main attraction, which, in this case, is the ice cream after the hike.”
Adventuring’s next outing for all ability levels is a 6-mile hike through the southern section of Gettysburg Battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., on Sunday, Mar. 10. Attendees will carpool from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station at 9:30 a.m. For more information and a list of other upcoming trips, visit www.adventuring.org.