Hiking club for ladies explodes with popularity - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Hiking club for ladies explodes with popularity

The No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society meets at Central Library in Lake Charles. (Source: KPLC) The No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society meets at Central Library in Lake Charles. (Source: KPLC)
The No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society meets at Central Library in Lake Charles. (Source: KPLC) The No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society meets at Central Library in Lake Charles. (Source: KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The terrain of Southwest Louisiana does not exactly set itself apart as a hiker's paradise, yet a newly-formed hiking club for women is exploding, just one month into its existence.

It is called the "No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society," and it is free, for any woman with an interest in hiking, and it offers a lot more than a hiking excursion.

By day, Clare Coleman is a librarian for Calcasieu Parish.  She has a passion for books and a passion for boots - of the hiking variety.

"A good hike for me is one where I don't know what's next," she said.  "I like to be surprised when I turn around the corner, because I feel like it's a destination rather than just a workout."

Coleman recently hiked with her husband through the rolling hills of Ireland and came back with a spark to share this interest with other women.

"There are probably other women locally who are interested in this kind of thing," she said. "Let's start a hiking club, just thinking it would be something where we could share resources.  It's become bigger than that!"

Coleman and her traveling friend, Mary Richardson, created the No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society and held their first meeting in August.  They were shocked at the turn-out.

"I don't personally know that many women locally who love to hike," said Coleman.  "I was going to be excited if we had 20 and we had 90...90 showed up for the first meeting."

In just one month, the club has grown to 150 women.

"Everything between ages 20s to 80s," said Coleman.  "Women who had never hiked, had never walked in a forest at all and women who had walked pilgrimages like the Santiago de Compostelo through Europe, so some really seasoned hikers."

Dawn Crum and Connie Book have been friends since high school.  The hiking bug bit them a couple of years ago. 

"I said 'I'm gonna do that one day, I'm gonna do that one day,'" said Book, "and then my friend calls me out of the blue and says 'I'm gonna hike part of the Appalachian Trail and I want you to come with me.'"

That was the start of the adventure of a lifetime, something Crum admits was out of character for her!

"I do not like to sweat, I do not like to do any exercise," she said.

Yet these friends have hiked hundreds of miles on the Appalachian Trail and across Maryland.

"You're not thinking about the phone calls you have to make or cooking for anybody, cleaning for anybody," said Crum.  "It's just concentrating every step on my Lord.  We make a mile, and it's 'Praise God! Let's go, yes, we can do this!'"

That is the contagious positivity of the hiking society members, ready to conquer trails together.

The No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society is open to any woman with an interest in hiking.  The group plans to meet every two months at Central Library in Lake Charles, but in the meantime, you can connect with the them via e-mail (ccoleman@calcasieu.lib.la.us) or on the club's facebook page

Copyright KPLC 2016.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly