Explore Tucson with the University of Arizona’s oldest club

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Courtesy Jon Hollister | The Daily Wildcat Members of the UA Ramblers Hiking Club rest along the trail from King’s Canyon to Wasson Peak on Sep. 15, 2019. Any student in the AZ Ramblers can organize a hike based on difficulty and experience.

With countless hikes available within an hour of the University of Arizona, scores of students that share a passion for the outdoors would group together, forming what would eventually be touted as UA’s oldest club.

Known as the UA Ramblers Hiking Club, this student organization exists for a simple reason: the desire to get out and about, both in Tucson and beyond.

For a club that has been around since 1946, the formula has remained fairly simple. According to Jon Hollister, the vice president of the Ramblers Hiking Club, there isn’t much to it. 

“[There’s a] lifetime fee of $20,” Hollister said. “Even when you graduate, you can come back and do hikes. With that, too, you get the shirt and access to all of our gear.” 

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Access to the gear is a beneficial perk, as you are able to check out all the essentials, including backpacks, sleeping bags and tents. However useful gear for the hikes is, the real heart of the club comes from the community fostered by those actively participating.

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UA Ramblers Club
Members of the UA Ramblers Hiking Club trek the Old Baldy trail on Mount Wrightson on Sep. 21, 2019. The Ramblers Hiking Club is the oldest club on campus, and allows any member to set up a hike in and around Tucson and beyond.

According to Hollister, members setup hikes via the club listserv or Facebook page. In the announcements, there will be basic information about the upcoming hike, including trail location, length and difficulty, and there is always a note detailing how much water to bring. 

Carpooling is provided, adding to a sense of all-around inclusivity that club president Peter Vollmer recalls feeling when first joining the club.

“I went to one of the meetings, thought it was pretty cool and so I started showing up to hikes,” Vollmer said. “It was really good for me because I didn’t have a car at the time, and we carpool to everything. It was really easy for me to go out and explore Tucson with other people.”

With over 50 active student members and still growing, the club is large enough to foster an assortment of hiking styles and trips for members to choose from, according to Vollmer. This variety is one aspect that appealed to Mya Long, a UA graduate that still participates and even leads hikes in the ramblers club today.

“I really enjoy how anyone can lead,” Long said. “Let’s say I like Jon’s hiking style, I will stick to Jon’s hikes.” 

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UA Ramblers Club
Ramblers Hiking Club members wander Mount Wrightson on Sep. 21, 2019. Any student can join the club and participate in hikes regardless of experience.

For many, including Long, being a part of the ramblers club means progressing in experience as hiker and a leader.

“I led my first camping and hiking trip last weekend and that was a whole new experience,” Long said. 

She went on to speak about the club’s collective experience that allowed her to improve as a hiker. 

“There’s so many people that know what they’re doing, and now that I’m experienced, I love that I can share my knowledge with new people,” Long said.

UA Ramblers Club
Members of the UA Ramblers Hiking club pose for a picture along the Old Baldy trail on Mount Wrightson on Sep. 21, 2019.

Legacy is another trait associated with the University’s oldest club, a factoid frequently touted and often accompanied by a quick chuckle by members like Long and Hollister. University alumni frequently keep in contact with the club, allowing those with decades of hiking experience to connect with students that are just taking up the hobby. Sometimes the connection goes beyond expected.

“I once wore a ramblers t-shirt to one of my distant family get-togethers. I didn’t even know this but somebody in my family said, ‘Oh! I was a part of Ramblers went I went to college,’” Long recalled, laughing. 

If you have some experience, no experience or just want a group of people to join a challenging trail with, the Ramblers Hiking Club may be just the group for you. 

“[It’s a] very welcoming community,” Long said, commenting on the club’s inclusivity.

The Ramblers Hiking Club meets every other Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the Forbes building, Room 307. For up-to-date posts on the hikes a leader. 

For more information on their upcoming hikes visit their Facebook page, University of Arizona Ramblers Hiking Club



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