during your travels
With information about the Sierra Club
When planning a trip, don't forget to include some hiking.
Even a short walk freshens the mind and aids your digestion after spending so much time sitting in cars, planes, or trains.
The new Lonely
Planet Hiking the USA gives excellent advice and itineraries
for longer hikes.
These pages, too, describe walks in several
cities and parks.
In addition, Dr. Voyageur strongly suggests
joining organized groups for day or overnight hikes. These
are great ways to meet people and learn more about the places
One such group is the Sierra
The Sierra Club site features multi-day hikes of national
and international interest, which often must be booked weeks or
months in advance.
However, its site also gives contact numbers of local
chapters and links to some of these for information about day hikes
that often do not need to be booked in advance.
These types of short group hikes are a great way to meet Americans and Canadians and to experience some wonderful scenery.
The Los Angeles chapter, for example, offers daily hikes to nonmembers. You visit local mountains, beach parks, and other scenic areas. See its calendar.
Because chapter members organise "car pools" to trail heads, you don't even have to have a car.
Local Sierra Club chapters include San Francisco, San Diego, Portland,
Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver, BC, Toronto, Tucson, Denver, Honolulu,
New York City, Washington, DC, and others.
The club is not very
centralized, so you may be passed through several volunteers and
telephone numbers before you reach the volunteer in charge of the
day hike you wish.
Sierra Club membership, which may or may
not be needed for your day hike, is inexpensive, with discounts for
students, seniors, and those with limited incomes.
Only a nominal
fee (sometimes just a dollar or two) is charged for the organization
of each hike.
Currently, there's a new membership special. Join
Sierra Club for $15 and receive a FREE expedition backpack.
Pay attention to the difficulty ratings
of the hikes.
Except for Dr. Voyageur, Sierra members are a fit lot—a very
fit lot—and a strenuous rating is
beyond the current ability of many of us.
Bring along plenty of water, a snack, comfortable
walking shoes (boots, if suggested by the club), insect repellent
(if needed), sun screen, and a hat.
The Sierra Club, by the way, has been responsible
for preserving some of North America's most scenic areas, including
its leadership of a movement to defeat a plan to dam a large portion
of the Grand Canyon years ago.
Its founder helped save Yosemite
National Park as a national treasure, and club members fought
to create Redwood National Park. Moreover, a key reason California
has such an extensive and well cared for state park system is
that the Sierra Club has been so vocal there.
As travellers, we are morally obligated to tread lightly
on this planet, and where possible to leave it in better condition
than we found it.
Hopefully, by visiting the most scenic areas of Canada and the U.S., you will more than ever
want to preserve them.
Learn about the pros and cons of other travel methods:
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