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Hiking for Regular People (Lederhosen Optional)

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Hiking for Regular People (Lederhosen Optional)

By Janet Kilgore
     Photos by Martin Callahan

So you’re not exactly an athlete. And you’re looking for a way to unplug yourself and your kids and get to the Great Outdoors? Volkssporting is waiting for you.

Hiking for Regular People (Lederhosen Optional)

Quick German lesson: Volkssporting = people’s sports; Volksmarching = people’s hiking. These activities are all about PEOPLE, the regular type. Volkssporting started in Germany (of course) and has spread worldwide. You can enjoy a family hike in the Texas Hill Country, a year-round walk around Boston, or a self-guided walk in London. There’s something for everyone–everywhere. Texas alone has 27 clubs.

There are two ways to participate: Special Events and Year-Round Events. These are hosted or sponsored by a volksmarching club (Austin, San Antonio, Kerrville, Comfort, Fredericksburg, Uvalde, Castroville, etc.) and take place in scenic areas. These can be rural, sometimes with special access to private property, or urban. Many urban walks are through scenic parks or historical areas of towns. The trails are rated for difficulty, and many are wheelchair and stroller accessible. They vary in length, usually 5k or 10k.

Hiking for Regular People (Lederhosen Optional)

Remember, this isn’t a competitive sport. The object isn’t to finish first; the object is to finish. This makes these events perfect for young families, anyone trying to get in shape, and active seniors. At some events, there are pins and patches available for purchase to commemorate your accomplishment. Volunteers from the hosting club clearly mark the trails, staff water stations along the hike, and “sweep” the trail at the end to make sure everyone made it through.

Hiking for Regular People (Lederhosen Optional)

The YREs, Year-Round Events, are usually self-guided walks in Hill Country communities. Maps and instructions can be found at a central location, like a motel. Kerrville has five YREs, according to Patrick Powers, president of the Kerrville Trailblazers. He adds, “The starting point for all of them is the Inn of the Hills in Kerrville. The directions are right there, and you can choose which one you want to try.”

The location staff are friendly and helpful. If you like, you may keep track of your YREs and add them to your mile/kilometer count, or you can simply check them out for the fun of it. Visiting friends or relatives? YREs are a great way to see the area less like a tourist and more like a local. Take your children on an adventure!

Hiking for Regular People (Lederhosen Optional)

The following clubs have events coming up in November and December: