Always a good time to get outside!

By Terry Owen, Outings chair

Jacques Cousteau famously said, “We only protect the things that we love,” and the Rio Grande chapter provides an abundance of opportunities for our members and non-members alike to fall in love with New Mexico’s wild lands. From snowshoeing and nordic skiing in the central and northern mountains to hiking all across the state, there are lots of options from very easy to very challenging activities.

What’s more, there is the Excursionses a la Naturaleza de Nuevo Mexico program that offers outings in Spanish, and the Military Outdoors program that encourages military veterans, active duty and reservist to get outside. With all of these options, there’s virtually no reason for not joining us on an outing!

Thanks to the chapter’s volunteer outings leaders, 2019 was a great year. With more than 70 outings and over 400 participants, they offered a variety of events and outings that were safe, fun and inspiring. Some of the highlights included a hike near Las Cruces to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks Monument, a camp, hike and bike outing at Chaco Canyon; and wilderness first aid training specifically geared for Sierra Club members. All of these activities were at no cost or very low cost to participants.

We began the year with 14 outings leaders across the chapter and added two more to our ranks. Congratulations are in order to June Parson in the Central Group and Hart Pierce in the Northern Group for completing the certification requirements and leading outings in their respective regions. Unfortunately we had to bid farewell to longtime Chapter Outings chair and one of our most active outings leaders, Odile De La Beaujardiere, as she relocated to Colorado.

We invite you to join us in 2020 for more outdoor adventures.

If you’re short on outdoor gear or have too much outdoor gear, we have a Gear Swap tentatively scheduled for mid-April, a service project planned at Chaco Canyon for late April, and Wilderness First Aid training scheduled for September. We’ll also be recognizing the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with some special activities. That’s in addition to the scores of outings we have planned.

If you or someone you know would like to become a certified outings leader, we’d enjoy having you join our ranks. Outings Leader Training (OLT-101) is scheduled for March 7 in Albuquerque. You can find out more and register by March 4 here.

And, as always, you can find a listing of the current outing at https://www.riograndesierraclub.org/current-outings.

Featured image, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks by Alan Shapiro.

Always a good time to get outside!