By Russ Hartman & Deb Riat
Gay and Lesbian Sierrans
Itâ€™s a lifestyle, fitness and nature. A very positive lifestyle that contributes greatly to an individualâ€™s health and well-being. Sharing that lifestyle with other LGBT people is a meaningful and satisfying experience. And unlike many of the finer things in life, it is dirt cheap by comparison. The Gay and Lesbian Sierrans (GLS), an activity section of the San Francisco Bay chapter of the Sierra Club, has been bringing fitness and nature lovers together for more than 25 years. Many a friendship has been built step by step on that beautiful latticework of trails that lace these dazzling gems of natural beauty in our Bay Area together. Many passionate lovers and long time couples first glanced into each otherâ€™s eyes while standing shoulder to shoulder in a circle during a pre hike talk. With all these nature trails leading towards such happy, happy times, itâ€™s hard to realize that you are part of a mission, a mission started by our founders 25 years ago who wanted the LGBT community to have a greater voice in the environmental movement in general, because their voices and contributions were being overlooked in the larger chapter membership. Through the years, the GLS has strived to involve non-Sierra Club members, with the hope that they too will embrace what the Sierra Club stands for and become members themselves. You canâ€™t preserve what you donâ€™t love, and you canâ€™t love what you donâ€™t know. GLS provides the first step to help the LGBT community get to know our natural world and to connect individuals with the environmental movement, to help them find their own place in that movement. Along the way you learn about, explore and experience places you might never experience otherwise. You meet like-minded people you might not meet otherwise. You learn about local history and the local flora and fauna and how they all inter-relate. And, as a bonus, you get some healthy exercise. The SF Bay Chapter of the national Sierra Club serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Francisco counties. There are 30,000 chapter members. There are 390 individuals on the GLS email list, of whom approximately 130 are Sierra Club members. Our members are varied and come from all walks of life. They are adults from all age groups and genders. We offer something for most fitness levels. Our activities are rated with a scale for exertion. We offer city walks, day hikes, backpacking trips, car camping trips, biking trips, habitat restoration work, trail maintenance and other conservation related work, as well as visits to nature centers/preserves, public gardens, and museums. We have outings all year long. So, come play with us! And bond with us! Increase your fitness level and get awe inspired by a large and ever flowing helping of the fabulous natural beauty that surrounds us here in the Bay Area. Meet lots of nice, new folks along the way. Whether it is playing â€śtwo truths and a lieâ€ť around a crackling fire on a camping trip high in the Sierra, or pausing with your new found friends at the top of Mt. Tamalpais to take in the astounding, glistening beauty of the bay and the Pacific Ocean all sprawled out before you, both visible at the same time, these memories will stay with you for life. You do not have to be a member to come on our outings. You can test drive us for free. So what are you waiting for?
To view a calendar of upcoming outings and to learn more about our organization, please visit www.glshikes.org.