From left: Steven Swords, Jr., Savannah Swords, Lois Benham, Gary Strauch, Jill Strauch and Andrea Strauch during the first Club walk

A new hiking club kicked off on Facebook last month, started by a Gallia County resident in the hopes of connecting with others who enjoy the activity.

Steven Swords, Jr. launched the Facebook group on December 19 and with the help of early joiners officially named it the Ohio Valley Hiking Club and then subsequently launched an official Ohio Valley Hiking Club page.

As for the reason why he formed the club, Swords said he loves hiking and nature, but it isn’t safe to hike alone.

“So, I thought for myself and others like me, we could come together and hike in groups,” said Swords. “Hiking is a great way to get some exercise, as well, and the Club can act as a support system.”

The group is open to everyone, though Swords does ask that minors be accompanied by an adult during hikes.

“Don’t hesitate joining for fear of difficulty. We will have activities ranging from super easy flat walks for everyone to difficult hikes in rough terrain,” said Swords. “I will try to have mile amounts and trail difficulty listed in each event.”

Overall the idea for the group is to plan and create hiking events throughout the year. Some of the group members completed a 2-mile walk on Christmas Eve, the club’s first organized event, and an event has been created for members of the group to attend the Hocking Hills Winter Hike on January 20, 2018.

Swords, who plans to be recertified in CPR and First Aid for hiking safety, hopes the club will continue to grow.

“I would love to have active members and create staff emblems and patches for various activities,” said Swords. “I would love to see this grow and see people and families join in and enjoy nature.”

Swords also hopes to attract other community members to lead hikes when he is not available, stating the more events the Club can organize the better chance it has of being successful.

Anyone interested in more information can join the Club’s Facebook group, where Swords will post events and articles pertaining to hiking and outdoors.