A few years back I was told about this website called Meetup . It is a website where people can start a group of varied interests such as bowling, camping, hiking, book club or eating out.
I didn’t find a fly-fishing group but I did sign up for their local hiking group. Sort of like Facebook you set-up a profile and then you view the website to see if anyone has organized an event. The first event I went on was in December 2010 and it was a full moon snow-shoe hike. I had never snow shoe, I didn’t know where this location where we were meeting was, but I quickly was welcomed and enjoyed the company that evening. Sad to say I did my second event today, 2+ years later. It was a hike that I signed up for two months ago where you met at the bus station downtown and it drove up the McKenzie River to the Forest Station. From there we hiked along the McKenzie Trailhead to Belknap Hot Springs where you could opt to sit in the Hot Spring Pool they had at the lodge or just enjoy your lunch by the river. It was intriguing to me on several levels because I had never been to a Hot Spring, and it was listed as an easy hike along the McKenzie River.
Well I debated changing my RSVP to a NO many many many times most of the week. But instead I packed my swimsuit, PBJ sandwich,apple, banana and two water bottles. Placed on my hiking boots that I haven’t worn in several years, sweat pants, hat and coat.
I was surprised that there were 10 people whom I had never met before waiting at the bus station to start this journey out. The bus ride was over an hour to the Forest Station, and it was very quiet as no one knew each other. This quickly changed as we started hiking. Our fearless leader Matt and his girlfriend led the 8 of us on an amazing journey through the forest past beautiful wild flowers, roaring McKenzie, moss-covered trees and many mountain bikers. We made a few stops along the way before we made it to Belknapp Hot Springs.
It pretty much resembled the picture on the right except there were more people in the pool than this. The pool was hot and felt so therapeutic. The River was rushing along right next to the pool and the sun was shining bright. After we sat in the pool for about an hour, we had our lunch and started hiking back.
I may have pushed a bit too hard with how I have felt lately, but it was worth getting out into the sunshine for. By the time we got back to the Forest Station to catch the bus, we all were chatting as if we were long friends. All ages were there, young and old, and we all melded very well together. It was a quiet bus ride home, but only because everyone to include me was wiped out and cold.
LOOK up this website if you are looking for something to do in your area and wanting to make new friends. There is also a downloadable App for this group and once you have signed up it automatically takes you to upcoming trips, a quick link to rsvp and then reminders. This was a great outing and it was MOSTLY FREE!!! (bus ride was 3.00 and hot spring sit was 5.00) but still mostly affordable and got my butt moving for the day instead of being lazy wondering when I will ever be able to flyfish again 😛