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Hawaiian Trail & Mountain Corp.

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Past-HTMC President John Hall is looking for volunteers

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Please read the following from John Hall:

HIKING AND THE OSHER LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE (OLLI)

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is a program based at Krauss Hall at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, but funded by a grant from the Osher family, a wealthy San Francisco family that has supported a hundred or more similar Institutes around the Country. These are programs to provide enrichment courses for seniors over 50 who would like to learn about a variety of topics ranging from cooking or tai chi to climate change or the history of mathematics.

The courses are generally taught by volunteers and range from one session an hour long to semester long courses. The charge is $60 per semester for 3 courses and 3 special events, with the possibility of taking more if space is available. There are no exams or required work, except in classes like writing or water color, where the activity is part of the class. They are designed for people interested in the topic, and who are not interested in credit or credentials.

A few years ago, as part of the OLLI program, I offered some field trips to look at trailside, and especially native, plants on O’ahu. Some of the participants indicated that they would enjoy hiking with me, where plants might be noticed along the way, but the emphasis would be on the hike itself. As a consequence, I designed a course I called “Adventure Hikes” which would be relatively short, 2 or 3 hour hikes, in which we would start out on a well established public trail, and then, in many cases, branch off onto a more obscure, more pristine path, such as the Aiea Bisector trail. Every semester there would be 6 of these hikes on consecutive Wednesdays, beginning with a very easy one, such as the Ho’omaluhia Streamside trail or Moanalua Valley to the petroglyph rock, and then increasing in difficulty as the session progressed. The group is kept together, with myself in the lead, and Janice Nako-Piburn very graciously acting as a volunteer sweep. Each hiker has to sign a waiver form supplied by OLLI.

Much to my surprise, this program has been extremely popular. We close the enrolment at 25 people, with about half turning up for a typical hike, and there is always a waiting list. Given the demand for this experience, it is a shame that we cannot offer additional sections.

Since I am now 85 years old, it would be extremely optimistic to assume that I will be able to continue this program for even five more years, although I hope to. I have really enjoyed working with these seniors. Many are repeaters that I’ve grown to know and love. It seems to me that leading this kind of hike is something that many of the older members of the hiking community might also enjoy. Like me, I’m sure there are a number of serious hikers out there who are no longer up to reaching the summits, but would enjoy sharing their love of our mountains on easier hikes with novice seniors who are just discovering the joys of hiking and are so enthusiastic about it. I would hate to see this successful program end when I am no longer able to manage it, and as mentioned above, it would be nice to be able to offer additional sections also. These would not necessarily be 6-week sessions, but could just be individual hikes offered to the less able hikers, or more adventurous ones, or those with special interests in plants, birds, or other features. You would have the opportunity to design the kind of hike you wish.

I hope that some of you might be interested in this activity. I’d be happy to have you join me on one or more of my hikes to see how they work. I’ve also written up an Introduction to Hiking to send out at the beginning of each session for the benefit of new members, and Directions to the Trailhead and Description of the Hike for each of the hikes I lead, and I would be happy to share these with you. I also have a list of hikes that I think may be suitable. If you think you might be interested in participating as a leader in this program, please contact me by calling 377-5442 or by e-mail <jbhall@hawaii.edu>.