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Peninsula Wilderness Club finds camaraderie in the great outdoors
BY KIPP ROBERTSON
North Kitsap Herald
There isn’t much the Peninsula Wilderness Club won’t do.
Hiking, kayaking, climbing, cycling: Members of the club have the opportunity to explore what the Northwest has to offer. Oh, and don’t forget the trip to Nepal.
“It’s about fun,” said Steve Osburn, vice president of the club.
The club’s focus is not about “checkboxes,” he said.
The group is set up to cater to all sorts of adventurers. For those wishing to stay more local, there are outings such as the Green Mountain Weekly After Work Hike and Social, or Bike Bainbridge Island.
Alternatively, the club hosts excursions to the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and beyond. Longer excursions include trips to Nepal, for example, or the Grand Canyon.
The club has about 400 members, though they won’t all be participating in the same things.
“It’s not just hiking, it’s biking, kayaking, snow adventures,” Osburn said.
Not everyone has the same interests, he added.
Members of the club are also the hosts of the outings. If a member is going on a trip, they can announce it and make it a club outing.
The club does not provide lessons, or require members to have certain training. It is expected that anyone going on an outing is self-prepared.
However, if a member has questions about a specific trip, the host is expected to answer those. The club does host informal instruction on various recreational activities.
The club began in the 1970s, and some of the original members are still in the club, Osburn said.
The age range is from people in their teens, to people in their 90s.
The goal of the club is to get like-minded people together, Osburn said.
Looking at the club’s summer calendar, there is quite a bit of demand from its members. There are 21 days with at least one activity scheduled, and often more than one.
The amount of people who attend an event varies as well. Take the weekly after-work hike up Green Mountain, for example; The hike can draw less than five, or as many as 30, Osburn said. And people know how to enjoy themselves, bringing up snacks and drinks to enjoy at the end of the hike.
“We had someone bring up creme brulee, with the torch and everything,” Osburn said.
Those just getting into, or back into, outdoor recreation needn’t be worried about being left behind. Osburn said all experience levels are welcome. The group travels at the speed of the slowest person.
Most of the club’s members live in north and central Kitsap, but everyone is welcome.
The club meets throughout the year in the VFW Hall in Bremerton, at 9981 Central Valley Road. There is a general meeting that includes a guest speaker, and trip reports held the first Wednesday of every month.
A potluck dinner is held the third Friday of every month at rotating members’ homes. The potluck is used as an icebreaker for members, Osburn said.
Membership dues are $25 per household per year. That covers rental fees for the VFW Hall, the monthly newsletter, door prizes, and food for the annual picnic in July.
The dues do not cover any other expenses, such as travel and equipment.