Have Coffee, Will Hike

A Willoughby Ohio coffee shop has come up with a novel idea for combining coffee, socializing and exercising every Saturday morning. We’ve read about biking coffee clubs, so now we have hiking coffee clubs - well, at least one. Chris M. Worrell reported on the program this week. He described how the local parks department works with the local Starbucks to take coffee-fueled hikers for scenic and educational five-mile hikes every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The hikers pay $10 a quarter, which includes about twelve hikes, plus a cup of coffee before and after the hikes.

A naturalist leads the hikes and offers insights along the way. The terrain varies from flat easy trails to rolling moderate terrain, to rugged challenging topography. Up to fifty caffeinated hikers take part every week. The program has been running since 2003 and has rarely been cancelled due to weather. The Park Department employee in charge of the program stated, "The overall purpose of Starbucks hikes is to get people outside and into nature." He added that there is also a strong social component. Hikers quickly bond as they overcome hills, puddles and northeast Ohio's fickle climate.

This sounds like a wonderful idea. Fresh air and exercise, plus warm coffee, add up to a wonderful combination, in addition to the opportunity to meet new friends with shared interests. How many of us would go on an energy intensive five mile hike on an early Saturday morning without some motivation from other coffee-drinking club members? If your favorite coffee shop doesn't have a hiking club, you could start your own. Bring thermoses of your favorite coffee along and enjoy the outdoors. Maybe your local parks department has organized hikes. All you need do is add your coffee. Brew on, actively!

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