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Central California Life Magazine

Meet Central Valley Hiking Group, One of the World's Most Active Meetup Groups

Jul 11, 2016 03:12PM ● By Melanie Heisinger
The Central Valley Hiking Meetup group, based in Fresno, CA, has been tackling the great outdoors since November of 2007. Since then, member numbers have multiplied, and so has the participation.

The group currently has over 2,700 members. Though it isn't the largest group on Meetup, it is one of the most active. This was made aware to Karol Seabolt, the President and Organizer of the group, last month by Meetup Headquarters. 

Karol Seabolt, Head Organizer

We were able to get in touch with Karol Seabolt and learn more about one of the worlds most active Meetup groups.

Tell me a little bit about the Central Valley Hiking Meetup group. How did it get started? 

Central Valley Hiking Group was started by a small group of like minded outdoor enthusiasts. As it began to grow, making it difficult for one person to manage, it was reorganized, and a governing committee of seven members was created, along with a President/Lead Organizer and Secretary/ Treasurer. We then became a nonprofit.

How many people are a part of the group?

Right now we have a membership close to 3,000.

What kind of activities does the group focus on?

We offer year-round activities to include hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, skiing, and camping, along with less physical activities like movies on the outdoors, or walking tours.

We are lucky to have Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, along with Pinnacles National Park, and many other State Parks just a couple hours from us.

We also do several large group campouts a year in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and Lassen National Park - to name a few.

We hike all through California, but focus on our own playground.

On average, we offer five or six hikes a week from easy to moderate to strenuous.

We are meticulous in describing our hikes to protect our members from attempts to do a hike they are not physically able to accomplish. Our strenuous hikes are well vetted.

What is the mission of the group?

Our mission to to bring outdoor-enthusiasts outdoors, while fostering safety, learning, and camaraderie.

We look at each other as family. CVHG is my hiking family.

How can people join in? How often does the group meet?

Meetup is an online software program that brings people together who share common interests.

Central Valley Hiking Group on Meetup does not charge members to join. It is free to join. Once a year we will ask for donations to help us pay for the site.

Since we encourage car pooling, it is customary to help the driver pay for gas to the event. And, if the event is in a state or national park, there will be a fee if the driver or another member doesn't have an annual card.

We ask our members to please sign in with a real name and a real picture. The reason for this is so the event host and new friends can recognize you when you show up to hike. It does not have to be your full name first, middle or last will do.

What is your most memorable Meetup moment or trip?

All of them. I have never been on a bad hike. Sometimes I wished I had left earlier or done the hike in a different season, but all hikes are memorable in their own way.

When I am on a trail, I breathe in the pine or the ocean, I feel the wind; the warmth or the cool air, I see such wondrous sights and I say to myself...more than 98% of the world population will never experience this moment, this sight, this feel. I have accomplished something. It's pretty amazing.

Every time you hike a new trail, its as if you're an explorer and no one has been there before you.

Anything else we should know about you, or the group?

We have recently been notified we are one of the world leaders in activity participation in all of Although there are larger groups, our group has greater participation and more events. We are pretty proud of that.

Studies show how hiking in the outdoors, even an easy hike, have an effect on your body and sense of well being. You're a happier person by spending time in the wilderness.

If you can walk a mile, you can hike. Start slow and build up. The first time you see Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point or Clouds Rest, you will never be the same. It gets in your blood, and what a healthy habbit to have.

Warning on hiking:

It's never good to hike alone. Join a group. 

To learn more about the Central Vally Hiking Meetup, visit their website