By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
The chance to step away from civilization with a few friends along for company has led a group of area hiking and backpacking enthusiasts to form a network of like-minded fellows.
Through email and social media, people with a desire to hit the trail can now more readily find associates to go along, thanks to the efforts of Carolyn Beasley, Sadie Gardner, Andrew and Julie Battaile and a number of other charter members of the Tupelo Trekkers.
Bringing together a number of informal circles of trail-minded friends, the group is the formalization and renewal of an effort that began several years ago under the same name.
Through this network, someone looking for companions for a hike, someone seeking information about new trails and different horizons, those looking simply to get started or those striving to advance their skills all have a ready, handy, local resource.
From ideas for day hikes nearby to first-hand information on the best ways to access the Appalachian Trail, the Tupelo Trekkers offer a wealth of information available peer to peer.
“We’re interested in pulling together both backpackers and day hikers,” Beasley said. “We’re not strictly one or the other.
“In Tupelo, there are several small groups here and there, several pockets of enthusiasts. By bringing them together we can create a network where one person knows another and we can all benefit as a group for planning and filling trips.”
“We have people from New Albany, Pontotoc, Columbus and a number of areas outside Tupelo,” Beth Townsend said.
circle of friends
“This can create a pool of fellow hikers and backpackers who can share experiences more readily than a smaller pool might,” Gardner said.
Beyond trusted hiking companions, the group is also a resource for those just getting started on the trail.“We’re considering renting our older gear to people who are interested in giving it a try,” Beasley said, a move that would make the cost of introduction very low indeed.
“I also look forward to drawing on a pool of knowledge that other experienced hikers might have,” Andrew Battaile said. “I have a wealth of knowledge about accessing the Appalachian Trail that I’d be willing to share, and I believe there’d be others with knowledge of areas I don’t know who’d share the same, and expand the realm of experience for us all.”
The group’s own individual introductions to the pursuit prove avenues for getting started are as varied as the places they may lead. Some were led to the trails in adulthood by friends, some draw their earliest memories in life from camping trips with their family, while others crossed over to hiking from similar outdoor adventures.
To learn more about the Tupelo Trekkers, connect with their Google group at groups.google.com/group/tupelotrekkers. You can also reach them by email at SadieEGardener@gmail.com or by calling 662-213-6945.