Gastonia Police and Latin Adventurers group host community hike at Crowders Mountain
Looking for a chance to get outdoors?
Gastonia Police and the Latinos Aventureros en las Carolinas (The Latino Adventurers in the Carolinas) will hold a community hike at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14 at Crowders Mountain.
“We just want to help people get outside,” said Vivianette Ortiz, a Gastonia resident who co-founded the organization alongside Sandra Aguirre.
The two groups teamed up to create an opportunity for the community and police to meet one another and enjoy the great outdoors.
The event will begin with everyone meeting at the Visitor's Center located near the park’s Sparrow Springs Access point located at 522 Park Office Lane in Kings Mountain.
The route will be 4.2 miles in total going up and back from the mountain, Ortiz says. She expects the hike to take about two hours, depending on each person's pace.
“We don’t want people to think that you have to be fit to do this stuff,” said Ortiz. “We usually have some people that are faster in the front and the slower walkers can walk in the back with me.”
Ortiz wants all community members from different backgrounds to feel comfortable coming out to hike with the groups.
“You don’t have to already be in the gym or know how to do anything,” said Ortiz. “That’s what we are here for.”
Participation will be free of charge.
Ortiz just recommends bringing closed-toed shoes and a water bottle. She says that the group plans to bring extra water bottles in case some people need one.
The hike usually starts no later than 9:15 a.m.
Ortiz says the idea for the hike came about after Gastonia Police Officer Alvaro Jaimes reached out about working together to host a community event that promotes physical and mental health.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable coming and just having fun outdoors with us and we want to meet people,” said Jaimes.
The Latino Adventurers of the Carolinas was founded in October last year during Hispanic Heritage Month.
The organization’s first event consisted of a hike along the Chimney trails in Morganton at 5 a.m. where they watched the sunrise, which represents a popular hiking theme of the organization.
“It was magical,” said Ortiz. “You can’t see those colors from your bed and it’s just so fulfilling when you get to the top.”
The outdoor events held by the group will be led by Claudia Ramos, Ivan Portillo, Lynna Caraballo, Melisa Patino and Yesenia Tremba. The group also hosts monthly family walks and weekly evening hikes throughout North and South Carolina.
Ortiz, originally from Patillas, Puerto Rico, started hiking more throughout the Carolinas after the pandemic halted her annual trip back home to Puerto Rico.
“I was kind of bummed when I couldn’t travel but I found a Facebook page with all these places to travel in North Carolina,” said Ortiz. “I wasn’t seeing a lot of Latinos out on the trails so I thought to start a group.”
Ortiz has completed more than 100 hikes since the pandemic started.
She recommends following the group’s Facebook page to stay informed on the hikes and trails.
The organization will also host its anniversary walk at the Chimneys trails in Morganton in October.
Reach Janiya Winchester at 980-319-6819 or email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Gastonia Police and Latin Adventurers host community hike at Crowders