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The President's Corner

Our membership year runs from February 1 to January 31 and we welcome back our renewing members as well as all the new ones with a great offering of outings in this Trailmarker. Spring is a great time of year, in my opinion, with each week giving us more warmth, more daylight, and new changes in the landscape. A big thank you to Bob Alsup, our March/April Outings Coordinator for his efforts in gathering all the outings for this Trailmarker!

The paddlers are out again and those interested in kayaking can explore this activity. There are many hikes for beginners and for those who prefer a more leisurely approach to better view the wonderful scenery and nature, in general. Watershed hikes or part day outings closer to home are especially good for this. We have strenuous hikes for those who prefer a challenge and a tough workout -- Roan Mountain, the Doughton Park Loop, and Linville Gorge are favorite hikes in this category. The moderate group of hikes is the most varied and can be on the `easy moderate' or `hard moderate' side. If you have questions about being able to enjoy a particular hike please contact the hike leader. R ratings are given to assist you in choosing hikes but they can have limitations. For instance, a 15-mile hike with minimal elevation gain is R15-17 but most of us would not call 15 miles easy! Our restaurant outings are popular and a good way to meet people. We also have the Wednesday night walks with optional dinner afterwards that has a loyal following and would be a good introduction to the club. New members should also note that Butch and Terri Wilson are having a new member orientation followed by an optional hike in March.

A special event in April is the memorial hike with the spreading of ashes and a potluck picnic afterwards to honor our recently deceased past president John Furnas. This will be at the lone oak tree in Doughton Park above the Bluffs picnic area (between mile markers 241 and 242 on the BRP) on Sunday, April 15, so there are no other events scheduled that day. Members who wish to hike to the memorial gathering will meet at the Brinegar Cabin parking area to hike over to the tree, a distance of about 3.5 to 4 miles. We should arrive between 11:30am-12:00pm. Others will drive directly to the Bluffs picnic area to set up and then walk the short distance up to the tree. Afterwards we will all go down to the picnic area and enjoy a celebration of life and potluck picnic. Further details will go out closer to the event via PHOC@googlegroups.com or mail Chimp.

Speaking of the PHOC google group email account, it has become an important adjunct to the Trailmarker. For example, Hubert Lathan has graciously been leading local weekday hikes and many other members have announced last minute `pickup' hikes and outings when there is no similar one offered in the Trailmarker. This gives members more opportunities and also allows updates or changes in listed outings after publication. It is available to all members but remember to limit its use for this purpose and not for commercial purposes. Our new officers for 2018 elected at the January Annual Meeting include myself as President, Beverly Grier as Vice President, Vance Barron is the new Treasurer, and Vicki Zina is Secretary. We are honored to help in keeping this a great club and look forward to seeing you on outings or at the meetings. Note that meeting dates may vary depending on the speaker's needs so be sure to check your Trailmarker.

Welcome to a new year at PHOC and I hope it is a fun one!

Sandra Mitchell