Applied Project: Organizer and “Den Mother” for the Over the Hill Hikers

The Over the Hill Hikers is a group of people that gather together to enjoy camaraderie and the joy of the mountains, big or small.  I fell into the group (OTHH) by buying a house in Sandwich in 2013, which coincidentally was the home of the previous “Den Mother”, Lib Crooker-Bates; and I also have a passion for hiking.

Over the Hill Hikers enjoying the day.


Lib was one of the founders of the OTHH in 1979.  Yes, this group has been around a long time, it’s evolved, but yet stayed the same for quite some time.  I absolutely love it, and consider myself lucky to have fallen in to such a wonderful group, and an important role.

I am what they call the “Den Mother”.  I organize the group, maintain an email distribution list of over 100 hikers from Sandwich and the surrounding lakes region.  Some are part timers that live away and join the group in the summer, others are full timers that take advantage of both the hiking season, and the winter activities.

I offer the group leadership, I help plan the seasons hikes, gatherings, potlucks, and more; and I offer just a little bit of enthusiasm.  Okay, maybe a lot of enthusiasm, as I’m also one of the younger members of the group.  The hardest part of my role as “Den Mother” is getting others to volunteer to lead hikes.  Everyone enjoys the care free role of showing up to hike; but actually planning the hike, picking the trail, tracking the weather, coordinating carpools, and being the POC for the day’s hike is a little harder to recruit for.

Me, sneaking a selfie… a bad one, at that.

Because the group has been around since the 1970’s, some of the original members are well into their 80’s and still hiking!  IMPRESSIVE.   Over the years we’ve divided ourselves into three abilities: A group, B group, and the Turtles.  These are better described as Difficult, Moderate and easy hikes. There’s a lot of moving parts with organizing a hiking group of varying abilities, ages, and inspiration.  The decision of which mountains to hike ranges from 4,000 footers, to the 52 With a View (a list actually created by the OTHH), to more local and shorter hikes.  There’s even a Friday walkers group, and in the winter the snowshoe and cross country ski group gather.

To help with the organization, I put together an excel sheet via Google Docs and solicit others to volunteer.  It’s a slow thing to develop, but it usually always comes together in the end.   We also have a website / blog, and I serve as administrator and am learning the ropes to maintain it.  Check it out at:  Over the Hill Hikers . It’s a work in progress, always.  The website is full of information, including  past years hiking schedules, history of the group, the information on the 52 WAV patch, what to include in your pack, and an EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET that we ask each hiker to carry in their pack.

Oh, and I’m not really a “member” of the Over the Hill Hikers either, as there are no members.  There’s no official positions, no dues, no official roles… but we do have t-shirts with an official logo.  Which, I sell those too, … and manage the OTHH bank account.  (We are not a non-profit, just to clear that up…. just a bunch of hikers).

A great book about the history of this hiking club that’s been going since 1979.

Our group has received a lot of attention over the years.  There is a book titled, “Over the Hill Hikers”, written by Shirley Elder Lyons.   We’ve also been interviewed by NHPR’s Virginia Prescott, which you can either listen to or read her interview at:


It’s a fun organizational role, that really brings together so many people from our community and surrounding areas.  And for someone pursuing an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Organizational Administration, it’s right up my alley!  Not to mention, I’m also pursuing my 4,000 footers and 52 With a View summits!

I can’t remember for sure, but I think this is the infamous ladder along the Morgan – Percival hike.

3 thoughts on “Applied Project: Organizer and “Den Mother” for the Over the Hill Hikers”

  1. Hi, Tracy, what a way to fall in to something, talk about destiny. Had you always been interested in hiking or was it something you also fell into? Sounds like the Over the Hill Hikers group depends on your ability and willingness to organize away. I loved the fact that they created 52 WAV. I was hoping to see some more photos of you in action to add more context. Nice work including the easy-to-read and richly informative hotlinks. Over and above how nicely this fits as part of your Capstone into your specific IDS scholarship, how has both delving into your role as Den Mother and your role as scholar for this project changed you?

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