Amid the ongoing pandemic, a group of Boise State students are finding ways to get outside safely, and explore the outdoors while taking in what Idaho has to offer.
In the summer of 2020, Clara Adams, a junior majoring in graphic design, started the Boise Hiker’s Guild (BHG) to encourage students to get outside and find a new community. Adams, who is from the Portland area, has always been an avid hiker and found inspiration from her own father’s hiking group.
“My dad originally was telling me a story about back when he was in a men’s singles group and there was a friend that he had that would just send out an email once a month that consisted of something along the lines of, “Hey, I’m hiking here at this time. This is the trailhead join if you want, no pressure.” I liked that idea, no pressure to join, come one week and maybe not the other. But that’s what I think started the idea,” Adams said.
The BHG meets every other Saturday. Along with hikes, they take trips to the hot springs and recently went snowshoeing near Bogus Basin. Adams believes that accessibility and openness were two things that really helped grow and add more members to the guild.
“We want people who aren’t in college to feel comfortable coming to a guild rather than a college club, having a diverse group of people of different majors and backgrounds is what we want to strive for, that’s where the word guild comes from, a gathering of people with a common interest,” Adams said.
According to Adams, she wanted to keep the BHG separate from any organization and took pride in the idea that it was run and led by students.
Kelley Hayes, a junior majoring in Art Education and a member of the guild, was very enthusiastic about the accessibility that the BHG has to offer even with COVID-19.
“It really is for all hikers, Clara [Adams] does a great job allowing us to set our own pace and still keep together as a group but still being six feet apart. Hiking in a group is great as it’s a safe way to explore with those who are at your own experience level while also still being a community,” Hayes said.
As of 2021, the guild has 50 official members signed up and 113 followers on Instagram. Most hikes consist of groups of a dozen or more hikers each week.
Becca Gunree, a junior double majoring in Spanish and English, is the social media manager of the BHG. She noted that having a committed presence on Instagram has really helped in attracting more people.
“I thought it’d be kind of fun to branch out a little bit more and have a place for our photos and all of our trips. So, we started Instagram for that. Also, Clara and I just always think of one time that we did a sticker workshop. Making different stickers and pamphlets for BHG is always in the back of our minds,” Gunree said.
Gunree believes that her biggest goal now is to simply get the word out that anyone is welcome to join regardless of experience. Adams encourages anyone who is interested in the BHG to try it.
“We would love to have you. It makes college students feel that they have access to the outdoors. Sometimes it’s hard to get out there when you don’t have fancy camping gear and all that stuff, or you’ve never been before and so leading students and introducing them to the outdoors is an incredible mission as well,” Adams said.