Club Spotlight: Hunterdon Hiking Club
The Hunterdon Hiking Club of New Jersey recently celebrated its 40th year. A Trail Conference member club, the group hosts outings and maintains trails.
Hunterdon County in New Jersey is the home of the Hunterdon Hiking Club. Hunterdon features state, county, and municipal parks, plus protected preserves. Centrally located, Hunterdon is a short drive from the trails of northern and southern New Jersey and parks in nearby New York and Pennsylvania. The abundance of outdoor areas has attracted residents who celebrate being outdoors and have an interest in preserving the land and maintaining its rural nature.
The Hunterdon Hiking Club recently celebrated its 40th anniversary of enjoying the outdoors together. The club started in 1980 as an affiliate of the Hunterdon County Park System and began with one hike a month. Today, they sponsor an outdoor activity almost every day of the week. The activities are categorized to meet differing skill levels; some days are short bike rides or hikes on relatively flat surfaces, others are longer hikes of 4-5 miles over paths in the woods, and others are more challenging hikes of up to 10 miles with steep climbs and rocky trails. In some cases, the hike is a tour of New York City or Philadelphia, with a visit to a museum or other attraction, or a weeklong trip to Shenandoah, the Catskills, or the Adirondacks.
The Hunterdon Hiking Club’s outdoor culture is wide-ranging. HHC has continued its relationship with the park system by participating in the parks department’s events on Earth Day and National Trails Day. It maintains trails in the Wallpack Valley and the Musconetcong Gorge, including a section of the Highlands Trail, and every July it sets up a table on the Appalachian Trail and offers fresh food to the thru-hikers—the HHC members get to meet thru-hikers and hear their adventures in exchange for a cold soda and a comfortable chair.
In addition to the outdoor focus, there is a social aspect to the club. Many of the members participate almost weekly in one of the events and have become good friends. After the shorter hikes or rides, members may stop at a little roadside restaurant for lunch and a chat.
The Hunterdon Hiking Club welcomes new members who enjoy the outdoors. HHC is always looking for that new leader who can introduce a new hike, or that person willing to give back through trail maintenance, or just a new member who wants to meet others who share a love of outdoor activity and a love of nature. More information on the club is available at HunterdonHikingClub.org.