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Pasadena Hiking Pacers Brings Hikers Together For Fitness and Fun

By Pamela Sosnowski

Hiking is perhaps known as one of the easiest and most basic outdoor recreational activities. If you can walk, you can hike. Pasadena Hiking Pacers brings together a love of the outdoors with the joy of sharing it with like-minded people. The group meets at 7 AM each Sunday morning to explore a different area of the picturesque Pasadena area.

"I started the Pasadena Hiking Pacers because I was inspired by the Pasadena Pacers Running Club founded by my business partner," says Debbie Cressey, the group's founder. "I saw that the group was helping people of the community become healthier and more social. I wanted a group like that of my own. Since I love hiking and the outdoors, it made the most sense for me to start a hiking club with the same philosophy of community."

An entirely volunteer-run group, Pasadena Hiking Pacers is free to join and hikes are organized by passionate group leaders that want to share a love for the outdoors and the beauty of southern California. Excursions range from easy walks that are six miles or less on mostly level ground to extremely strenuous adventures that cover long distances or more than 2,000 feet in elevation. There are five levels of hiking difficulty organized by the group, and every hiker is responsible for their own safety and dressing appropriately for the weather and terrain.

Cressey says that there isn't a part of the area that the group hasn't explored yet. "We literally have been everywhere," she says. "From local hikes like Eaton Canyon, Monrovia Canyon, and Echo Mountain to more adventurous hikes like Bridge to Nowhere, Mt. Baldy, San Gorgonio, Timber Mountain, and the list goes on!"

Recent hikes included exploring the spooky abandoned Dawn Mine and the Santa Monica Mountains. Anyone that is physically able to hike can join the group. Cressey says that hikes are organized on a cycle where they start on the easy level and advance to the more strenuous trips. The group has a Facebook page and Twitter account where upcoming hikes are announced and photos from each fun-filled day are shared.

Hiking is a beneficial form of exercise, helping to build muscle strength, lower blood pressure, and increasing hone density. But as Cressey attests to, it delivers other benefits, too. "Being outdoors and in nature (is the best part)," she says. "Most of us work in offices Monday through Friday and hiking is a great excuse to get our bodies out into the fresh air while getting some great exercise and meeting new friends!"

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