Maxime, Julie, Sébastien and Marise had never met, nor had the dozen other hikers who joined them that Sunday morning in the Monts du Lyonnais. A single goal brings them together: to share a stretch of road, to hike about twenty kilometers, a little more than “600 meters of altitude” under a heavy stormy sky. “It’s the equivalent of six “Fourvière” to climb, it’s not huge”translated for her newborn comrades Julie, 29 years old from Lyon, in reference to the hill overlooking the town of Les Gones.
If this third place coordinator is used to putting on her walking shoes, the experience and level in the group undertaking this easy climb will vary. As the hikers move away from Thurins, the starting point about thirty kilometers from Lyon, groups of three to four people form. The opportunity to get to know each other, to find out what drives all these little people, mostly young professionals aged 25 to 35, who spend a weekend chatting and sweating.
Like Julie, each of them was responding to an announcement made four days earlier on the Randonos and Rando and Co – Lyon Facebook pages. Among them is Maxime Brière, who suggested the excursion of the day. Given his very “professional” equipment, which stands out from other hikers, it’s hard to imagine that this 30-year-old school teacher only started this outdoor activity two years ago. “Hiking is often seen as either an old thing, or a family or solitary activityhe explains. But there I discovered a practice where people of all levels and backgrounds find each other without taking the lead. » The health crisis was the trigger, says Maxime Brière. A desire “Breathe, escape, reconnect with nature and meet people”.
“Hiking and bivouacking with friends”
This post-Covid-19 hiking craze has been repeated by the local press, tourism stakeholders and equipment manufacturers since 2020, highlighting high footfall on the trails and a diversification of practices and practitioners that is still difficult to measure. “The trend towards a younger “wandering” clientele is confirmed both in sales and in registrations for our loyalty program”, confirms Aymeric de Rorthays, managing director of Vieux Campeur, a chain of stores specializing in outdoor sporting goods. That “travel and hiking adventurers” joined “a new clientele of 25-30 year olds, people who just decide to go for a walk and bivouac with friends”, he specifies.
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