Hik­ing

Austin American-Statesman - - COMICS & PUZZLES -

trails might want to get in on it, too. When Kur­land va­ca­tioned in Colorado, he called a geek meetup there.

“The same thing hap­pened,” he says. “A bunch of geeks showed up.”

A na­tion­wide move­ment was born. Groups have since sprung up in Raleigh, Seat­tle, Den­ver, Boul­der, Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and Dal­las. In all, nearly 5,000 peo­ple have joined.

“It’s crazy,” Kur­land says.

The group is cur­rently do­na­tion-based. Kur­land hopes to ex­pand to 20 cities by the end of the year. He also has ten­ta­tive plans for Hik­ing With Geeks trips to des­ti­na­tions around the coun­try. When peo­ple join the free group, they can also par­tic­i­pate in an on­line chat fo­rum and vir­tual mee­tups with mem­bers from around the coun­try.

“It’s called Ad­ven­ture Chat, and we talk about gear and trails we want to go on, or trails we did go on,” Kur­land says.

In Austin, the group or­ga­nizes one or two hikes ev­ery month, plus so­cials, where mem­bers can talk about “geeky stuff and hik­ing.” The hikes typ­i­cally last an hour and a half to two hours and are ac­ces­si­ble to all fit­ness lev­els. They’re led by vol­un­teers and draw (so far) about 25 peo­ple.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to hik­ing­with­geeks. com.

Work­ing to cool the pool

A flying leap into cold wa­ter can make a hot sum­mer day bear­able, but some­times the neigh­bor­hood pool feels more like a hot tub than an oasis.

Two Austin lap swim­mers are try­ing to keep one city pool a lit­tle chill­ier by rais­ing money to pur­chase aer­a­tors for it. The aer­a­tors — pumps that suck up pool wa­ter and spray it into the air — can lower pool tem­per­a­ture by as much as 10 de­grees.

That’s sig­nif­i­cant when you con­sider that the tem­per­a­ture of most Austin pools will reach 90 de­grees by June. Warmer wa­ter breeds bac­te­ria and means more chem­i­cals are needed to keep the pool san­i­tized. Plus, a plunge into hot wa­ter just doesn’t re­fresh like cool wa­ter.

A GoFundMe cam­paign has raised about $2,500 of the $3,000 needed to buy two aer­a­tors for the Olympic-sized swim­ming pool at Beverly S. Sh­effield North­west Dis­trict Park. Once pur­chased, the aer­a­tors will be do­nated to the city of Austin Aquat­ics Depart­ment to in­stall, op­er­ate and main­tain.

“North­west Pool is such a great place, and you see an amaz­ing va­ri­ety of peo­ple,” says Steve John­son, one of the swim­mers spear­head­ing the cam­paign. “The only thing that’s bad is how hot it gets. We re­ally hope this will im­prove the en­joy­ment for ev­ery­one.”

The dead­line to do­nate is April 10. To con­trib­ute, go to gofundme.com/aer­a­tors-for-north­west-pool.

North­west isn’t the first pool to get aer­a­tors. Ram­sey Pool put in aer­a­tors last sum­mer.

Want to get aer­a­tors for your neigh­bor­hood pool? John­son said he’d help ad­vise other groups in­ter­ested in rais­ing money for sim­i­lar projects.

CON­TRIB­UTED BY HIK­ING WITH GEEKS

Mem­bers of the Seat­tle chap­ter of Hik­ing With Geeks ex­plore a trail.

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