This past year, the hiking group for older adults that Empowerline volunteer David Bohanon started in 2018 has grown in popularity.
In the early months of the pandemic, the group stopped hiking. But by last summer, Bohanon was back to organizing four- to six-mile hikes. The group goes for hikes twice a week at different parks within a 30-minute drive of Marietta.
“Hiking is a mixed bag of introducing people to new parks and trails, having a safe social outlet, and of course, the physical activity,” says Bohanon. “It’s a social thing for them and great exercise.”
As more hikers now have their vaccines, some carpool in a van, all wearing masks, to locations such as Lake Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park, and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Participants socially distance during the hikes. Oftentimes, they go out to lunch afterwards. Up to 21 hikers go on each hike, a spike from pre-pandemic levels.
“Hiking four miles on hills is not the same as walking five miles in your neighborhood,” says Bohanon, who finds hikers are “happily exhausted” after some of the more strenuous walks.
Bohanon, who retired from Taco Bell/Yum Brands four years ago, visited the Tim D. Lee Senior Center in Marietta to find out how he could volunteer. When he found out there was no hiking group, he created one in 2018, and a year later, he began offering fellow older adults a six-hour workshop on investing and taxes as a volunteer with Empowerline’s AmeriCorps Seniors program at Cobb senior centers.
If you’re interested in volunteering with older adults across the metro Atlanta area, visit Empowerline’s volunteer page