Monday, January 31, 2011

Avid Hikers: Interview, Self-Reporting, Field Research

Vi and I emailed each of the different hiking groups that we found around the Kansas City area and attempted to set up possible interviews and hikes. In one case, we were told that there would be no time for an interview and that the hike would be too difficult to talk during. We were able to set up one phone interview, a face-to-face interview as well as go on a hike with the Kansas City Outdoors club. We found that many of the hiking clubs found in Kansas City are connected not only through but their own social circle. On the hike, it was the perfect opportunity to talk to the participants and understand, not only their love for hiking, but also more about their personal lives--what they enjoy, where they are from, their families, etc...I was also able to snap a lot of photographs which will be helpful in the next step of the research process! From both of our conversations, Vi and I were able to make a list of important information that can be found below:

Field Research [Shadowing]:
Hike with the Kansas City Outdoors Club in Leawood, Kansas on
01.29.2011 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Notes: on Hike with Kansas City Outdoors Club:
  • Doesn't have a favorite trail because each one has its own characteristic but if she had to pick one, it'd be Konza Prairie in Manhattan, KS. It's a 6 mile hike with beautiful scenery.
  • She started hiking because she needed another hobby. She doesn't like shopping anymore because after a while, they stop making cute things for you. (now I'm assuming she's in her 40s because she sounded like it and I didn't want to ask)
  • Her mindset while hiking is to forget everyday life and just focus on the surrounding - sound, hear, smell, etc.
  • She doesn't think about life while on a hike. The stress and everything just goes away.
  • She finds hiking to be therapeutic.
  • Indoors, her mind is not worried about intrusions whereas outdoors, she's more focused. Her senses are heightened and she needs to be more aware of her surroundings.
  • There's a better sense of self because she's more focused inward instead of mundane things. It's also more spiritual for her.
  • Hiking has improved her health and vascular stamina. She also stated again that there's a better sense of self.
  • "A good day on the trail is a good day in the office."

Interview #1: Phone conversation with Julie Cirlincuina of the Women's Outdoor Recreation Club on 01.28.2011 at 4:00 PM
  • A lot of the members were wearing similar gears like some sort of hat (knitted and caps), a thick outdoors coat, thick gloves, hiking shoes (mainly boots of sorts), backpack, cargo pants or sweats, some had hiking sticks (the older ones), fanny packs, etc.
  • They are very sociable and talkative, but not in the sense of gossiping, they were just genuinely interested in many topics.
  • There were clear leaders who led the group through the trails.
  • Very open people and very nice, respectful, sweet, caring. They seemed worry about Bethany and me hiking with them but they were all for it.
  • There were more ladies there than men (but I'm assuming that's because they are also a part of the WOR group).
  • Very relaxed group, they stopped occasionally to take pictures of the scenery. They were also really excited to be hiking and being outdoors and being a part of nature.
  • They were also very funny, cracking jokes whenever possible.
  • They liked challenges on the trail like trekking through the snow or crossing water.
  • The whole group consisted of 20 people or so. Most of them in their 40s to 70s. They are at that age where their kids are settled down and they don't have to worry so much.
  • Not even halfway through the trail yet, people were taking off their thick coats already, revealing that they wore more than one layer underneath.
  • Many of the ladies were talking about their families and trips they took or ones they are planning to take. The trips seem to be to colder climates like Wisconsin, Alaska, and Colorado. This hints that they really like being outdoors and doing winter activities.
  • They seemed to be animal lovers since many talked about bringing their dogs with them, but because of the snow, it was a bit difficult. Leawood Park also require dogs to be on leashes at certain areas, otherwise they would've brought their dogs.
  • People walked in single file when we were on the horse trails but then they walked in groups when we were on bike trails.
  • "All it takes is will."
  • When someone passes them on a bike on the bike trail, they all yell "BIKE!" so that people behind them know to walk to the side.
  • They plan out which trail they hike but they don't walk it before the big hike with everyone so obstacles comes as a surprise.
  • The trail we went on is getting more difficult because of the creek coming up.
  • There's usually only 6 or 7 people that comes out to a hike. The one we joined in had a really good turn out with 20 people or so.
  • Every year they do a hike on the last weekend of January. Every year they hike somewhere different. Last year, it was in Michigan where the temperature was below 30.
  • There's a project happening that is working towards joining all the trails around KC into a group.
  • They get funding from the government to get more people into hiking since it doesn't cost a lot and it doesn't take much training to get involved.
  • They don't hike much in the summer because of the hot weather. They like to hike at cooler temperature like what it was on Saturday. So in the summer, they would hike really early in the morning or go canoeing, ice skating, kayaking, etc. during the day.
  • The group sometimes plans trips to take together to go hiking in another state.
  • One year, they had a New Years Day hike where they all got together and hiked with really cold temperatures and then headed over to a person's house where everyone cooked different kinds of soups to share.
  • They get together every year to clean up the trails. There's other groups, like the biking group and another hiking group, that takes care of different trails. The horse trail we went on wasn't taken very good care of because people stopped having horses to ride through so it's become a bit disheveled.
  • There was a story she told me about them marking a trail with paint so that people knew and by the end of it, the guy was covered in blue paint and it was the type that is permanent so it was hard to get off.
  • The group is trying to get younger people involved but realizes that they are busy and some find it boring. The younger people get more involved when things are indoors, like ice skating in the summer.
  • The group we went with is a lot more relaxed and chill than most others. This one likes to stop and rest, whereas other groups hike continuously. She told me a story about how a few of them went hiking with the super avid hikers and couldn't keep up.
  • Reasons why people were hiking involved keeping up their health and to keep their bones healthy.

Interview #2: Kevin Smith on 01.29.2011 at 3:00 PM

Answers the questions on the interview questionnaire (found below):

1. Diverse Ranges from normal to businessmen to grandparent. Huge demographic/community. Brought together by enjoying nature and experiencing it.

2. Grew up with parents that told him that he should be playing outside and not spend time inside. Would tromp around the woods. Also grew up drawing as a child—outside and in.

3. Excited.

4. Peaceful

5. Could be both. Climbing is more of a sport, hiking a pastime. A freeing experience

6. The Falls in north Georgia Mountains And lower part of Appalachian trail

7. Online, magazines, getting lost and happening to find them, word of mouth

8. No-climbing not hiking

9. Depends on the day. Great to be with people who enjoy it too. But there is something to be said to go into the woods by yourself

10. Twice per month—to cold up here and work gets in the way. Still try to get out there as much as I can

11. Absolutely

12. Mental—a recharge for me, almost spiritual, physically it is great exercise that is a plus but it is definitely mental

13. In the future: would love to try to climb all the 14000 ft peaks in Colorado, love to Patagonia in Chile and go climb, hike and camp

14. Some sort of pack, water, snack (depending on how long), shoes that you are able to hike in for a long time

15. Depending on trip: size of pack—normal school backpack to 70 liters, light hiking tennis shoe or big hiking boots, nalgenes (water bottle),

16. Bushwhacking is making your own trail (going off designated trial to find your own)

17. No—parents, grandparents introduced it to him

18. Happy (uncomfortable indoors) Happy being free, feel closer to God outdoors

19. Spending time outdoors and experiencing nature the way that it was supposed to be

20. If you’re going on long trips, don’t go alone. Just enjoy it. Soak it up and take experience for what it is

21. Given me an appreciation for the outdoors more (now that I work inside) make it something I appreciate for the times I have had and the time I hope to have

22. The change it has made includes finding God out there. Spiritual connection of being outdoors

23. The willingness to do it. The drive to do it. Taking people with you with you that know the area or know how to hike also. Learn by doing it.

24. Leave No Trace—leave them exactly the way you saw it. Stick to maintained trails. Packing out what you take in—including everything. Thinking beyond you for the experience of others. If you trash it you ruin it for everyone else.

25. British Columbia: coming down from summit and slipped on ice and fell 200 ft. (bouncing, flipping) Be careful, know where you are at, pay attention when you need to

26. Turn cell phone off—just hope I know where I am going. Map/compass are only for extended hikes. Half the fun is getting lost and going. Hopefully you will be within cell range if you need something. Tune out for a bit.

27. Did not want to use green.

Self-Reporting: Kevin Smith on 01.29.2011

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