Fun With The Angora Hiking Club!

February 4, 2024

If you want to biggest surprises and the most amazing fun:  don’t do your homework!  This is the antithesis of every bit of advice I followed as a student or gave to youngsters in my 39 years as a classroom teacher.  But I can only say, that yesterday was one of the best I’ve had for a long time and it all came as one of those early morning senior moment surprises.  As in, Yikes!  “I think I’m scheduled to give a talk at the church today!  In an hour!”

I scurried.  I took time to look at the communications I’d had with a very nice-sounding man named Eric Wheeler who first emailed me two years ago.  He identified himself as an architectural historian and was inquiring if I’d speak to his hiking group when they came here on a walking tour of Oysterville.  “I  be happy to do that,” said I, but with one thing and another the trip was postponed until yesterday.  I put it on my calendar.  There were lots of uncertainties as there often are in such arrangements — as in what would the weather be like, how many would be in the group (anywhere from 10 to 20+) and would I give them an overview of Oysterville’s history — as much time as I needed.

I thought last week that I’d take a few minutes to decide which fun facts and stories I wanted to tell but, as is often the case with such lofty plans, the week got away from me.  And here it was  8:55 Sunday morning, me still in bathrobe… I rushed over to the church to see if I needed to turn on the heat.  No.  The day was perfect walking tour weather — blue sky, puffy clouds, slight breeze.  “They aren’t going to want to spend much time listening to me in the church,” was my relieved thought.  And I dashed home to get ready.  A text from Eric said to expect about 20 people.

R.H. Espy House, 1872

Somehow I thought they’d all be from Astoria, so when one of the first arrivals walked up to the church porch while I was waiting, I didn’t even recognize my friend Cathy.  Never mind that we had enjoyed coffee together at Colleen’s the previous Wednesday!  The cars kept coming and when we gathered inside the church, the pews were about three-quarters full.  I didn’t do a head count but I think there were at least 30 folks there and they were fun from the very get-go.  I rattled on, trying to stick to the essentials but… those stories just came bubbling forth!  As did questions from the group! I think I talked for closer to an hour rather than for the suggested 20 minutes and even so, the questions kept coming.  Several people even bought my books about Oysterville!  Wow! ( And when I explained that “O is for Oysterville” is NOT a children’s book, despite title and format, several of the buyers (guys!)  asked why it didn’t come with a set of color crayons!”  (It was THAT sort of group!!!  Just my sort!)

And all the while, I really didn’t know who these great people were, though I did hear the name ‘Angora Hiking Club’ mentioned.  Later, when I Googled them this is what I found:  The Angora Hiking Club was founded July 4, 1920 on the summit of Saddle Mountain. Its purpose is to bring outdoor enthusiasts together to explore the beautiful north Oregon coastal region, and encourage good stewardship for the land.   They’ve been around for a hundred years and I’ve been oblivious!  OMG!  And as I looked a little further, I found that they meet just about every week and visit fabulously interesting places — some real treks, some historically significant, some quirky or just for fun!  What a great group!  I’m so glad Eric contacted me and I hope they had half as much fun yesterday as I did!

Leave a Reply