Seven years ago, Sandy Wood joined the UW Faculty Auxiliary and quickly discovered the Tuesday Trekkers.
“It was a dream come true,” she says.
A UW graduate and the wife of a retired faculty member, Wood was looking for an healthy ways to fill her days in addition to spending time with friends, grandchildren, gardening, and basketry. After a career ranging from practicing and teaching psychology to urban planning and community organizing, she joined the Tuesday Trekkers and was soon planning and organizing expeditions into nature’s open air, far beyond the reach of any roof or urban grid.
At present, Wood serves the leader and hike planner for the Tuesday Trekkers, whose members range in age from those Wood deems relative “youngsters” in their 40s or 50s to “young-at-heart” trekkers in their 90s. All year round, the group goes hiking every Tuesday, rain or shine.
“Some of us hike nearly every week; others just once in a while,” Wood says. “But as we share our love of the out-of-doors, we also learn from each other and develop friendships that spill over into other areas of our lives.”
(Among the more obscure facts Wood has picked up through her association with the group is that deer ferns, which are native throughout the northwest, have separate male and female fronds on each plant.)
The Trekkers can trace their origins to more than 45 years ago, “back in the days of the Faculty Wives Club,” Wood says. Today, the group counts faculty, retired faculty, and numerous non-UW “friends” among its company. Each week they offer a “Gold” hike and a “Silver” hike, so there’s opportunity for easier and shorter as well as longer and more challenging hikes.
Several times a year, they will also sponsor multi-day trips to destinations such as Mt. Baker, the Olympic Peninsula, Wallowa Mountains, and Columbia Gorge, staying at a lodge or other base camp to partake of a wide variety of day hikes. Each winter, Wood and gang head for the Methow Valley for four days of cross-country skiing and other winter fun.
Woods says the year-round, all-weather nature of the group allows members to inspire one another as role models for healthy aging. And while their primary focus is on day hikes, the consistent get-togethers also prepare Trekkers to take on more ambitious side trips.
“The year before last my husband and I participated with a number of other Trekkers in a nine-day village-to-village hike along the Thaya River Valley in the far north of Austria,” Woods says. “We hiked with just a day pack through rolling forests and farmlands in a little-traversed area near the Czech Republic border, staying in a different village each night.”
Next fall, Wood says the Trekkers are planning a trip that includes a week or more of hiking in the Swiss Alps.
Not bad for an average Tuesday.
If you would like to join Tuesday Trekkers for a Tuesday hike, a multi-day trip, their annual trail work party with the WTA (Washington Trails Association), a ski or snowshoe outing, or even a hiking experience abroad, send Sandy an e-mail at email@example.com. Learn more about the Tuesday Trekkers and the many other Interest Groups of the Faculty Auxiliary here.