The Highs and Lows of Hiking


Jordan Ghita


When SCC Hiking Club President Angela Li went hiking alone in Issaquah’s Tiger Mountains, she didn’t expect to run into a family of bears.

Li had been walking along the trail when she paused to take in the lush, woody atmosphere. Time stopped for a second, and the noise of everyday life escaped her mind. Captivated by her surroundings, it was only when she heard a faint rustle that Li looked up and realized there were three black bears — two cubs and their mother — standing right beside her.

“It was shocking,” Li said. “I had to calm down first. I knew I couldn’t run or else (the bears) would see me as their food. So, I just walked backwards very slowly while keeping eye contact until I couldn’t see them, and then I just ran.”

Li doesn’t recommend hiking all alone, especially at a beginner level. However, upon finding SCC’s Hiking Club, she has had the opportunity to experience extraordinary and unforgettable moments like these in a fun, accessible and safe way.

“Hiking provides an outlet for a lot of people that they don’t get in their regular lives,” said William Gilfoil, the club’s head of communications.

Gilfoil said that finding and getting to locations can be a big hassle, but that the club makes hiking easy by finding beautiful locations, providing food and taking care of transportation. With so many members in the club, it also gives students the chance to meet a lot of new people.

This November, the club hiked to Snohomish County’s Lake 22. Located near Granite Falls, the hike featured all of the features you’d want in a typical hike.

According to Gilfoil, the hiking club typically only does one hike per quarter, but the goal is to double that in the future.

Although Gilfoil enjoys challenging hikes, he said experience is not required to join the Hiking Club. “You can come in not really knowing much and still have a great time,” he said.

In fall and winter, the club usually does easier hikes to help people adapt to the level of difficulty. In spring quarter, club members typically wants their final hike to be more challenging.

For example, last spring the Hiking Club did an overnight hike at Mount Si. The club went canoeing, took a nature walk to identify birds and animals and did a workshop on how to make a fire. They also had a mushroom hunt, where students learned about which mushrooms were in season, which were safe to eat and which to avoid altogether.

Club Secretary Jesse Molitor likes the challenge and roughness of hiking. “It takes a lot of effort to get to where you want to be and the moment when you get to the lake or the good viewpoint makes it worth all the effort to get there,” he said. “It makes you feel good.”

Molitor also said that although he enjoys talking to people as he hikes, there are times when he enjoys the silence. “Sometimes I like solitude … I go on hikes to get away from all the noise,” he said.

To prepare for a hike, Molitor recommends bringing hiking boots to avoid injuries. “Someone did get injured on the spring hike, but they were unprepared,” he said. “They didn’t have proper shoes and they were wearing sandals.

“We’re definitely going to check for that this time. If you don’t have the proper shoes you’re not going to be able to go because it’s dangerous.”

Getting Involved

Hiking Club can usually take up to 45 students on its outings, and its sign-up sheet fills up pretty quickly. However, there is a waitlist to fill in for students who suddenly find they can’t go on the hike. If availability comes up, those on the waitlist are immediately sent an email and given the offer to join the hike.

Students can sign up for Hiking Club by contacting Gilfoil via email: [email protected].