Hen Hike in the Smokies

For 17 years, a group of women called The Hen Hike, have invaded one B&B or another around the country. 6 of us are sighted, and 6 are blind. We come from Minnesota, Georgia, Canada, Mass., NJ, New York, Ohio, and other states, depending on who is able to join us. There are only 12 of us, and the hiking trip is by invitation only. If you want to see me bristle, ask about our “program.” It is not a program. It’s a dozen women who have become friends over the years, and 6 of us happen to be blind. We know most of the women from having been at Ski for Light, a week long program of cross country skiing, so we are sure our fellow hikers are active and in good athletic condition.

Some of our hikes have been rather vigorous, almost too rugged and a little dangerous for our tastes, but at the end of each day of that kind of hiking in New England, we were proud of having accomplished it. Some of our hikes have been pretty tame, which have been more like walks in the woods than true hiking over rugged trails with roots and rocks to negotiate. But it really doesn’t matter what the hiking day is like. At 5:00, we’re back at our B&B for Happy Hour. Nope, these chicks don’t camp.

Recently, the Hen Hike was held in the Smokies, near Sevierville, and we stayed at the Blue Mountain Mist, whose staff treated us like royalty. The hikes took us along rushing rivers, over an abandoned railroad trestle, through an ancient cemetery, and most delightedly, to the home of one of our gals, who, with her husband, owns a business of making and selling hand made purses. Because we are women who not only like to hike but also love to shop, it was like a feeding frenzy at the shop. Hand bags of all shapes and sizes, made of all colors of leather were ordered and will be delivered in time for Christmas. Usually, we don’t have such an opportunity, although one year, a few of us took a day off from hiking, because we were just too close to an outlet mall to let the chance to shop til we dropped go buy. Well, you could say that we did hike from store to store.

As you might expect, in Tennessee, the weather was warm enough for hiking in short sleeves, a little too warm for my taste, but I enjoyed the variety. We haven’t discussed where we’ll be next year, but some suggestions have ranged from Ohio to Canada to North Carolina. You just never know where 12 happy healthy women will show up.

Because this is such a unique group and a unique experience, I’ve written a speech about it, which I’ve presented to 3 different clubs so far. I’ll be doing it for my church circle in November. Even though I have resigned from Toastmasters, I’m glad to have the opportunities to keep those skills in practice. If you know of a group who would like to hear an amusing story with humor and inspiration, just let me know.

For 17 years, a group of women called The Hen Hike, have invaded one B&B or another around the country. 6 of us are sighted, and 6 are blind. We come from Minnesota, Georgia, Canada, Mass., NJ, New York, Ohio, and other states, depending on who is able to join us. There are only 12 of us, and the hiking trip is by invitation only. If you want to see me bristle, ask about our “program.” It is not a program. It’s a dozen women who have become friends over the years, and 6 of us happen to be blind. We know most of the women from having been at Ski for Light, a week long program of cross country skiing, so we are sure our fellow hikers are active and in good athletic condition.

Some of our hikes have been rather vigorous, almost too rugged and a little dangerous for our tastes, but at the end of each day of that kind of hiking in New England, we were proud of having accomplished it. Some of our hikes have been pretty tame, which have been more like walks in the woods than true hiking over rugged trails with roots and rocks to negotiate. But it really doesn’t matter what the hiking day is like. At 5:00, we’re back at our B&B for Happy Hour. Nope, these chicks don’t camp.

Recently, the Hen Hike was held in the Smokies, near Sevierville, and we stayed at the Blue Mountain Mist, whose staff treated us like royalty. The hikes took us along rushing rivers, over an abandoned railroad trestle, through an ancient cemetery, and most delightedly, to the home of one of our gals, who, with her husband, owns a business of making and selling hand made purses. Because we are women who not only like to hike but also love to shop, it was like a feeding frenzy at the shop. Hand bags of all shapes and sizes, made of all colors of leather were ordered and will be delivered in time for Christmas. Usually, we don’t have such an opportunity, although one year, a few of us took a day off from hiking, because we were just too close to an outlet mall to let the chance to shop til we dropped go buy. Well, you could say that we did hike from store to store.

As you might expect, in Tennessee, the weather was warm enough for hiking in short sleeves, a little too warm for my taste, but I enjoyed the variety. We haven’t discussed where we’ll be next year, but some suggestions have ranged from Ohio to Canada to North Carolina. You just never know where 12 happy healthy women will show up.

Sorry I don’t have the photos yet to go with this post, but when the other hikers get around to sending them to me, I’ll ask Eric to put them up here.

Because this is such a unique group and a unique experience, I’ve written a speech about it, which I’ve presented to 3 different clubs so far. I’ll be doing it for my church circle in November. Even though I have resigned from Toastmasters, I’m glad to have the opportunities to keep those skills in practice. If you know of a group who would like to hear an amusing story with humor and inspiration, just let me know.

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