Monthly Archives: February 2012

Hartfield’s Hikers Black History Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park

Hartfield's Hikers Sweetwater Creek Group

We had a fantastic first Saturday, February hike when we celebrated Black History month!  This hike was very special and unique in a number of ways…

  1. Almost half of our hikers were first-timers…including at least one out-of-state person from Alabama!
  2. We had a total of 40 hikers (33 from Hartfield’s Hikers and 7 from Keeping It Wild)
  3. We had to enter the park through ‘an alternate’ entrance due to the park closure
  4. For the first time in the history of Sweetwater Park…it was closed to the general public…we had special privileges due to prior arrangements
  5. We had Interpretive Ranger Don Scarbrough escort and tell us the history of the park New Manchester ruins located in the park
  6. Sweetwater Creek State Park is one of the Georgia state parks used in the upcoming film ‘Killing Season’ starring John Travolta and Robert DeNiro  (to be released late this year), the reason for the closing…we were treated very special!  (Read articles here and here)
  7. We actually toured the inside of the New Manchester Mill ruins and saw some of the movie production props
  8. We partnered with OPALs and Keeping it Wild on this special Black History hike
  9. We displayed and took orders for the all natural health supplements/products we use to maintain our outstanding levels of health, wellness and vitality!
  10. We kicked off our first ever Membership Drive!  Get more info here and join us.

As always, just as I think the last hike was the best ever, the next one gets even better!  This was a phenomenal hike!  Initially, we had 60 RSVP’s… WOW!  I was trying to figure out how we were going to handle such a crowd.  Well, rain was threatened, so I think that is why many changed their minds about joining us.  Others let me know their plans had changed, and they would be unable to make it…I thanked them for giving me advanced notice.

Well, as mostly all of our hikes go…the weather was great. No rain.  As a matter of fact, the weather was perfect.  The temperature was just right, not too cold and not too warm.  The sun even peeked out close to the end of the hike.  Hikers were actually taking off some of their layers of clothing.

After touring the ruins, we headed off on the trail. Normally, we hike the red and blue trails, but due to the park closure, our route was altered.  We hiked the green blazed trail to the red trail, to the ruins. We visited the historic sites with interpretation from Ranger Scarbrough and this is where it was really interesting. Hikers had their option of trekking the red, more difficult trail or the easier, but a bit longer blue trail.  To my amazement, out of 40 people, all but six chose the more difficult red trail down by the creek’s edge!  Both trails are very nice and scenic.  You know, I really am not amazed, because when we have hiked this trail previously and given hikers the choice, the vast majority choose the more difficult trail…people love challenging themselves!  I love it!!!

For many of the hikers, it was not only their first time hiking, but also their first time at Sweetwater Creek Park.  We had adults and young people on this hike.  It is such a joy for me to see everyone having such a joyous time meeting new people, learning new things, exploring new challenging adventures and doing something to improve their health, all at the same time.  This is why I lead these hikes!

There are two people I want to highlight, both were first-timers:

  • Melva shared an interesting goal of hers with me.  She is in the process of visiting every state of the United States.  To date she has visited all but three of the states; Oklahoma, North Dakota and Nebraska.  She is 57 years old and pursuing this dream of hers.  I urge you to use her as an example and set BIG goals for yourself and go for them!
  • Joanice drove in from Birmingham, Alabama, to join us on this hike. Her work is in the area of minority health and she wants to expand our outreach to include OPALs of Birmingham.  OPALs is Older People with Active Lifestyles!  She is a true Baby Boomer OPAL…way to go!

Also, I received a very interesting email from my good friend Donna this morning.  The title of the article she sent me is “Physician Assistants to “Prescribe” Healthy Hikes in Georgia’s State Parks.’  State Parks Director, Becky Kelley, is quoted in the article saying, “When exercise is fun, people tend to stick with it for much longer. It becomes part of their daily lives, and they have a better sense of well-being.”  We are in front of the curve on this one! How about that!  You can read the entire article here.  I have  already made contacts to reach out to Becky and let her know what we are doing and how we can be included in those promotions.  Stay tuned for updates…

Just to restate one of my reasons for leading these hikes is to help people become more healthy by addressing the leading health indicators as outlined in Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020, which are science-based 10-year national objectives for improving the health status of all Americans. I have been involved in this national agenda for almost 10 years now.  Without going into a lot of detail, I strongly believe that we can get our exercise/physical activity through fun activities such as hiking and at the same time strengthen our social ties and improve our mental clarity, all while participating on ‘Wonderful Outings in the Wilderness’ as I have dubbed our WOW adventures!

I hear so many positive stories from our hikers as to how the hikes have changed their lives!  We have had tremendous growth over the past 2 years of  leading these hikes.  I am so very blessed to have men and women step up to work with me; Paulette who has been with me since the beginning, Gregory who spearheaded the youth component, and Ian who is our ‘official’ photographer,  Evonne is now working on helping us expand our adventures and who setup the special arrangements with Ranger Scarbrough for this hike.

Share your thoughts and experiences with us…

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