ABOUT THE INDIANAPOLIS HIKING CLUB
A Brief History |
The Club Today |
Social Events |
Current Officers |
A Brief History
The Indianapolis Hiking Club was formed on January 23, 1957 by a group
of Hoosiers who liked to hike and work on trail maintenance projects, like the
completion of the 22 mile Yellowwood Trail in Brown County. In the first year membership grew to 82. The
constitution the founders adopted stated the Club's purpose was
"To encourage a love of nature through the promotion of
outdoor recreation in the form of hikes and outings." The Indianapolis Hiking Club, which will be
62 years old in January 2019, has grown and evolved
through the years, but has always remained faithful to the goals of
the founding members.
In 2018 the Indianapolis Hiking Club scheduled 1,996 hikes, an average of 5.5 hikes a day. However for the first 20 years, the Club scheduled only one hike a week on Sunday.
The Club also sponsored a holiday season party, summer picnic, social and business meetings and weekend overnights, often in conjunction with other hiking clubs.
The first "year in review" Trail Blazer report was published in January 1969. It recapped the Club's activities during 1968, which was representative of the Club's early
years. Click here to view the first Trail Blazer, which will give you a nice recap of Club activities during 1968. In 1968 the membership grew to 165. Dues were $2.00 annually plus $.10 a hike. And it cost $.04 to mail the one page schedule.
Only 52 Sunday hikes were scheduled, ranging from 1 to 13 miles with an average distance of 5-6 miles. The one mile hike was to see downtown Indy Christmas displays. Hikes typically drew 20-30 members and 10 or more guests and children. About half the hikes were to out-of-town locations we often hike today, including Brown County State Park, Morgan Monroe State Forest and Jackson State
Forest. Hikers usually carpooled from the Indiana statehouse and the Board suggested reimbursing
the driver $0.01 per mile. Members often enjoyed a cookout after a hike.
Some notable events in the Club's history:
The Indianapolis Hiking Club has been serving its members and the
community for over 60 years. We are more vibrant than ever, thanks, in large part, to an inspired vision, the
efforts of countless volunteers and many wonderful traditions. While the main focus has always been hiking,
it has been the camaraderie that's kept the Club thriving since 1957.
- 1958 "Trail Blazer" (little man with the hiking staff) becomes the Club logo
- 1963 Name tags were adopted
- 1967 Started tracking member mileage. Sorry no credit for Club's first 10 years
- 1969 First "Trail Blazer" report published recapping 1968 events and member mileage.
- 1970 Board sets a goal of at least one 10-20 mile hike a month
- 1974 Bill Larrison coins Club motto "Happiness - A step at a time"
- 1975 Following a number of unpleasant incidents, pets were banned from hikes
- 1976 Win Pulsifer pens lyrics for official Club song
- 1978 Saturday hikes and multiple hikes on the same day begin to appear
- 1979 Tom Patterson, the Club's all time mileage leader, reaches 1,000 miles
- 1979 First men's "Beauty Pageant" at Gnaw Bone camp
- 1981 Weekday hikes begin appearing on the schedule
- 1982 Club celebrates its Silver Anniversary with several major events
- 1983 First "self guided", set-your-own-pace hikes
- 1985 Club participates in its first German-American Volksmarch
- 1986 Ron Craig develops a hike rating system, still used today
- 1987 Dues raised to $5.00 single and $8.00 for family
- 1989 Old tradition of collecting $.10 a hike is abolished
- 1991 Bill Murphy, first Club president, passes away
- 1997 Club celebrates its 40th anniversary
- 1998 First annual Club trip to Smoky Mountains National Park
- 2000 Reba Wooden develops the Club's first website
- 2000 Single day distance record of 43 miles set by 5 hikers
- 2001 Halloween costumed hike, hay ride and wiener roast
- 2002 Member Carol Barnes thru hikes the Appalachian trail for the 3rd year in a row (the only women ever to do so)
- 2003 Hikes scheduled in every Indiana State Park and State Forest and 7 states
- 2004 13,494 hikers complete 1,114 hikes, both records
- 2005 20 hikers complete a 10 hike series across the state of Indiana (190 miles)
- 2006 Seven members set an incredible single day distance record of 62 miles
- 2006 Annual Achievement Award Program established
- 2007 Governor and Mayor declare January 23 "Indianapolis Hiking Club Day" to recognize our 50th Anniversary (view proclamations)
- 2007 All time mileage leader Tom Patterson passed away. He hiked 42,590 miles.
- 2008 Club adopts a new logo featuring both a man and a women hiker
- 2008 Seventy-five members attend trips to the Black Hills and Grand Teton National Park
- 2009 Glee Crowder becomes the first winner of the Bill and Nell Larrison Pinnacle Award
- 2010 A winter hiking trip to Tucson, AZ draws 90 members and guests for desert hiking
- 2011 Long time Club patriarch and 47 year member Bill Larrison passed away on January 23
- 2012 Now you can like us on Facebook too
- 2013 Seventy members and guests enjoyed a week of hiking in rugged West Virginia
- 2014 Designated "Pet Hikes" were scheduled for the first time since 1975
- 2015 Fifty members and guests attend a weeklong trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
- 2016 Club celebrates Indiana's Bicentennial by hiking in all 25 Indiana State parks.
- 2017 We followed up last year's state park hikes, by hiking in 10 IN State Recreation Areas.
- 2018 Glee Crowder breaks Tom Patterson's all time distance record. She's still going strong.
- 2019 55 year member Nell Larrison, wife of long time Club patriarch Bill Larrison, passes away at 104. The end of an era.
The Club Today
On October 1, 2018 (start of our fiscal year), the Indianapolis Hiking Club had 575
members, making us one of the largest hiking organizations in the US. Our members come from all
races, creeds and national origins. We have slightly more women
members than men. All age groups are represented (must be 18 to join) and the median
member age is above 50. A sizable percentage of our members are retired. Most members live near Indianapolis,
however it is not uncommon for people to drive from as far away as
Lafayette, Brown County and nearby states to a hike. Members who have
relocated to other states often maintain their membership and the
close friendships developed over the years. Some physically challenged long
tenured members still participate in the social events. A large percentage of our
members share multiple interests related to the outdoors and keeping
fit and participate in other related organizations, such as
backpacking and biking clubs, the Sierra Club, photography clubs, bird
watching and conservation groups and the worldwide Volksmarch
organization. Guests are welcome on all hikes as are children and
grandchildren. Sorry, but pets are only allowed on designated "pet" hikes.
To learn more about joining us, review how to become a member.
Webster's dictionary defines hike as "a long walk,
especially for exercise or pleasure". Using that definition, the
Indianapolis Hiking Club definitely hikes a lot. In 2018 the Club sponsored 1,996 hikes - 5.5 hikes a day.
Collectively 14,275 members hiked 79,530 miles, making us one of the most active
hiking clubs in the country. Although there are a few mall hikes on our schedule (especially during the winter), hiking is mainly an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often on hiking trails, rural roads and paved sidewalks and walkways.
Hikes are scheduled every day of the year and all members are encouraged to lead. In a typical
week 40 hikes are offered, including morning, afternoon and evening choices on most
weekdays and a variety of moderate and long distance options
every weekend. Although spring and fall are our most popular seasons,
a full schedule of hikes is offered in the dead of winter and during
the warmer summer months, making hiking a year round activity. All
hikes are rated as to speed, distance and terrain and a full spectrum
of choices is offered each week. Moderate speed and distance hikes
predominate (typically 5-7 miles at a 2.5-3.5 miles per hour pace),
however challenging hikes (12-20+ miles at a faster pace including hilly terrain) are scheduled frequently.
In recent years we have increased the number of "slow and easy" hikes (3-4 miles), which appeal to many of our older members and people recovering from medical issues.
Most of the Club's weekday hikes follow roads and trails in or near Indianapolis - Eagle Creek Park is our most popular venue.
Weekend hikes typically include in-town and out-of-town options.
During 2018, we offered hikes in many Indiana State Parks and state forests, the Hoosier National Forest, the Knobstone Trail, nature conservancies, wildlife refuges and numerous rural communities in Indiana and nearby states. Many themed hikes were also offered, including wildflowers, museums, monuments, concerts, restaurants, flower gardens and opportunities to learn more about the geography, geology and history of our great city and state.
Five extended stay trips were also sponsored, including Philadelphia, winter weekend at Spring Mill SP, Smoky Mountains NP for the 21nd time, Yorkshire Dales National Park in northern England, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Many of our members also hiked on their own or with other groups to exciting destinations including the Appalachian Trail, US National Parks and various international destinations including the Alps.
In 2019 the Club expects to offer around 2,000 hikes for the ninth year in a row.
Extended stay trips are planned a winter weekend at McCormick's Creek SP, Smoky Mountains NP, Hocking Hills SP in Ohio and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
We will also offer a number of Florida hikes for our winter snowbirds. Of course there will also be our Annual Winter Banquet during the holiday season, summer picnic and Oktoberfest at Gnaw Bone Camp. Click here to see a list of all the future trips.
No matter where your interests lie, you will almost certainly find hikes on our schedule that are perfect for
you. Check out the current hiking schedule
on this web site and see for yourself.
Although hiking remains the primary focus, the Club sponsors a Winter Banquet during the holiday season each December, a summer picnic in July, a General Assembly in September, Oktoberfest at Gnaw Bone Camp in October and social oriented long weekend outings every winter, over Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Many hike leaders tack on pitch-ins and visits to museums, gardens, concerts and
restaurants at the conclusion of a hike. Overnight hikes and out of state trips usually include planned social activities. Following a number of recurring weekday hikes, it has become a tradition for hikers to meet for coffee, lunch or dinner. As an example, the "lunch bunch" has been meeting every Thursday after the Eagle Creek hike for more than 30 years. Hiking with the Club is as much a social experience
as physical exercise, or as one member put it "Hiking is better than therapy."
The Indianapolis Hiking Club is a completely voluntary not for profit corporation with no paid officers or staff. Although it supports a number of local and national organizations dedicated to hiking, conservation and trail maintenance, the Club expressly avoids actions
or activities that might promote controversy or divisiveness, or favor
any commercial, political, or special interest group. The Club Constitution provides the organizational framework; you can review it by clicking Club Archives. A Board of Directors meets monthly and oversees all Club business. You may view Board Meeting minutes and financial statements by clicking here. See below for a list of the current
Board members. All Club members are invited to a General Assembly
each September during which new officers are elected. The Club's fiscal year starts on October 1, which is when the new Board takes office and annual
dues become due. A combination hike schedule and newsletter is published every two months. Members have the option of viewing it on this website (encouraged to keep costs down) or receiving it by mail.
In January a Trail Blazer report is sent to all members recapping the
prior year's hiking activities and listing all members annual
and lifetime mileage. Also in January, all members are mailed a current membership roster which includes addresses and phone numbers. Use of this information for commercial or personal solicitations and the conversion of directory information to digital media is strictly prohibited. To protect members privacy, the membership roster is is not available on the website.
Current Club Officers
Following is a list of Indianapolis Hiking Club officers for the Club
year beginning October 1, 2018. The President, VP, Pathfinders
(schedule the hikes), Secretary, Treasurer, and Directors At Large are
elected to a one-year term at annual General Assembly in September. The
incoming President appoints the other officers to a one-year term.
If you would like to volunteer to be on the Board or serve on one of
our committees, please contact the
- President - Phil Smith
- Vice-President - Marti Burton
- Pathfinder (weekends) - Jean Ballinger
- Pathfinder (weekdays) - Ed Wright
- Secretary - Mervyn Cohen
- Treasurer - Kathy Whalen
- Directors at large
- Harold Crooks
- Bob Hackenberg
- Mike Khalil
- Kae Ramey
- Conservation - John Bacone
- Membership - Barbara Strite
- Mileage - Karen Zimmerman
- Publicity - Mary Ladd
- Publications - Sally Sandman
- Social - Pat Lawler
- Webmaster - Ed Wright
- Electronic Media - Phil Coons
INDIANAPOLIS HIKING CLUB ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
In 2006 the Club established an Achievement Awards program to recognize hiking related achievements during the Club year, which runs from October 1 through September 30. Winners are announced at the Achievement Awards Banquet during the holiday season. There are eleven different awards, in categories such as hiking more than 1,000 miles and completing the longest scheduled hike.
To see a description of the awards and a list of the most recent and past winners click on
ALL TIME MILEAGE LEADER
On May 9, 2018, Glee Crowder broke Tom Patterson's all time mileage record of 42,590 miles.
Glee continues to add to the record and as of September 30 she was up to 43,763.
SINGLE YEAR MILEAGE LEADER
In 2012 Glee Crowder hiked a record 3,368 miles with the Club, an average of 64 miles a week. Glee has hiked more than 3,000 miles in a year four times.
SINGLE DAY DISTANCE RECORD
The current single day distance record is 62 miles, set on April 28, 2006 by seven members. This record was tied (same hike from Washington DC to Harpers Ferry, WV) in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Rita Bymaster has hiked this incredible distance nine times. To see a list of the other people who hiked 62 miles click on
10,000 - 40,000 MILERS
Over 41% (238 of 575) of our members have hiked more than 1,000 miles with the Club. However, only 41 active members have hiked more than 10,000 miles; 11 members have passed 20,000 miles; 4 have hiked more than 30,000 miles; and one member - Glee Crowder - passed 40,000 miles and this past year set a new all time distance record. Here are our lifetime mileage leaders as of September 30, 2018:
* Glee Crowder 43,763 Broke the Club's all time distance record of 42,950 miles in May.
* Allan Roberts 38,832
* Jill McFall 34,475
* Rick Kinnaman 30,765
* Cherie Voege 26,678
* David Kincaid 25,731 Passed one time around the earth (24,901.5 miles)
* Mary Lester 25,438
* Michele Kestle 23,038
* Ricki Jo Hoffmann 22,053
* Ed Wright 21,826
* Tish Brafford 20,390
* Tom Hollett 18,049
* Marsha Hutchins 16,965
* Jim Griffin 16,116
* Mary Lang 15,593
* Julie Litten 15,421
* Donna Chastain 14,630
* Joanne Applegate 13,996
* Mary Ann Layman 13,478
* Lucy Neal 13,054
* Rick Braun 13,000
* Anna Gehring 12,883
* Martin Dadel 12,568
* Ron Mutzl 12,496
* Pat Lawler 11,843
* Mary Williams 11,841
* Avis Shipman 11,580
* Jean Ballinger 11,474
* Jeff Edmondson 11,397
* Mabel Easton 11,351
* Cheryl Conwell 11,095
* Kae Ramey 10,881 Passed 10,000 miles in 2018
* Cindy West 10,868
* Bob Layman 10,573
* Jim Shoufler 10,466
* Rita Bymaster 10,447
* June Pogue 10,420
* Bob Corya 10,321
* Curtis Hinds 10,294 Passed 10,000 miles in 2018
* Ellen Mutzl 10,287
* Carol Radke 10,167 Passed 10,000 miles in 2018
TWENTY-FIVE YEAR MEMBERS
Following is a list of the 68 people who as of September 30, 2018 have been Club members for more than 25 years. This year we have three new 25 year members. These people represent the history and backbone of our club.
Years a member
* Nell Larrison 55 years
* Susan Huizinga 53 years
* Ed Lavagnino 51 years
* Odie Cassetty 50 years
* Phyllis Cassetty 50 years
* Jo Ann Jones 48 years
* John Jones 48 years
* Pat Eckstein 44 years
* Marsha Hutchins 44 years
* Janice James 44 years
* Tom Jordan 44 years
* Pat Warner 43 years
* Steve Warner 43 years
* Rick Byers 42 years
* Jerry Green 42 years
* George Lindley 41 years
* June Pogue 41 years
* Russ Pogue 41 years
* Dolores Koziol 39 years
* Christine Nitz 39 years
* Allen Pekar 39 years
* Bob Corya 38 years
* Ron Craig 38 years
* Linda Elliott 38 years
* Jim Jones 38 years
* Barbie McNeely 38 years
* Mary Lang 37 years
* Mabel Easton 36 years
* Jill McFall 36 years
* Laurel Richardson 36 years
* Mike Khalil 35 years
* Linda Crawford 34 years
* Cheryl Conwell 33 years
* Ron Green 33 years
* Ray Howell 33 years
* Pat Lawler 33 years
* Susan Niedenthal 33 years
* Bill Boyd 32 years
* Donna Ozbun 32 years
* Mary Lester 31 years
* Shameron Mueller 31 years
* Betty Shookman 31 years
* Avis Shipman 31 years
* Nan Tate 31 years
* Tony Abbott 30 years
* Jean Ballinger 30 years
* Richard Glidewell 30 years
* Larry Kahl 30 years
* Richard Kinnaman 30 years
* Michael Collins 29 years
* Carol Derbin 29 years
* Rachael Joachim 29 years
* Michele Kestle 29 years
* Cheryl Abner 29 years
* Maureen Haney 28 years
* Lee Kestle 28 years
* Virlee Schneider 28 years
* Richard Vonnegut 28 years
* Penny Eisenhut 27 years
* Reba McFarland 27 years
* Judy Kothe 26 years
* Allan Roberts 26 years
* Kaye Smith 26 years
* Pat Starzynski 26 years
* Brian Burke 25 years
* Donna Burke 25 years
* Catherine Curtiss 25 years
* Marthene Kohlmeyer 25 years
* Bob Layman 25 years