The hiking club is an unofficial VU club that was started by a resident assistant at George Rogers Clark Hall.
Matt Wootten, a pre-law major from Rochester, Indiana, founded the club in October.
The club has quite a few members mostly because Wootten asked random people walking through the lobby to join. They meet in the lobby after sundown on days they go on hikes. They all travel over to the trails and go exploring through the woods.
Wootten started the club to get residents outside of their rooms so that they could get exercise and meet new people.
He encourages people to join because he feels that people spend too much time indoors. He believes being in a beautiful area is an absolutely great way to get residents to make friends and bond with others around them.
When asked how he got people to join this club he said he fostered a very good relationship with his residents. A lot of the residents gravitated toward him and all he really had to say was “hey let’s go do this” and they agreed to come along.
Hiking also teaches them important lessons in the woods like what plants to try and which to avoid, and what sounds different animals make. Some of the residents saw their first deer while out on a hike with Wootten.
Madi Baker, a general studies major from Orleans, Indiana, and Cadin Caldwell, a welding major from Crawfordsville, Indiana, are the two members The Trailblazer interviewed.
Both members explained how they strongly suggest hiking for people who love adventures and want to bond with people on campus.
“It is a good way for the Clark Hall residents and their RAs to bond, but for anyone who doesn’t live in Clark it is a good way to meet people on campus and get to know each other,” Baker said.
Caldwell learned on the trip how to be more aware of his surroundings because there were deer not even 300 feet ahead of them and they didn’t know until they heard a branch snap. He started to bond a little with his hiking buddies, and he would go out of his way to test the paths to make sure they were safe for the whole group.
According to Caldwell the trails are not challenging until hikers start to get more off the beaten path.
“The first time we went out there were only four of us and the boys were not prepared. They learned the value of appropriate clothing,” Wooten commented when asked about the first hiking trip.
The first time Baker went on the trails she wore Converse sneakers and she ended up losing them by the end of the trip.
“I ended up walking barefoot through the woods because I didn’t have appropriate footwear,” Baker said. “It was very challenging.”
They suggest wearing a good pair of boots and wear layers to keep warm. Don’t wear leggings, but wear jeans at least.
“I was wearing three layers of pants,” Caldwell added when asked about appropriate clothing.