Our second installation of our InstaMeet Hikes had an even bigger turnout than our first. We chose a nice, wide and easy trail that is dog and kid friendly and close to home; the Quarry Trail of the beautiful Auburn State Recreation Area. If you are not familiar with our InstaMeet Hikes, this is an event series that we host every month. Basically, we invite our online community to come out and participate in a organized hike. It is a platform for like minded individuals who are looking to expand their minds while enduring a physical challenge. At the summit we always have a guest speaker, this time an open discussion was lead by my good friend and co-founder of Cloud Nine Clothing, Shawn Kahan.
A few of us decided to meet up for coffee prior to the hike at our good friend Greg Cotta’s roasting facility: Seasons Coffee. Not only did he brew us some limited blends of coffee, he also gave us a brief history of how Seasons Coffee came about and some of the ideas that they have coming down the pipeline. This was definitely a great way to start the day. Thank you, again, Greg!
We left Seasons Coffee with a four-car caravan thinking we had a decent size group for the hike. When we arrived at our destination, we were pleasantly surprised by over fifteen more people waiting at the trailhead. There were some new faces and some familiar faces, so just like any other group hike I’ve lead we went through a few quick ground rules and trail etiquette guidelines before we started. The most common and easiest to follow, “pack out what you pack in”.
The Quarry Trail in Auburn, CA offers some great swimming holes, amazing overlooks, rock climbing and an abandoned coal mine that acts as a natural air conditioner. The kids that were on the hike stopped to do a little climbing and exploring before cooling down in front of the fenced up mine. The curiosity in them that morning and how they had no fear of certain things as they clambered over the boulders was refreshing to see. It was also refreshing to see parents not be overly protective as the kids jumped and climbed around. Hiking and exploring Mother Nature definitely helps keep you young.
Did I mention that group selfies on top of a “secret overlook” also help keep you young!? Well, at least I’m hoping they do because we took a bunch of them that day! Haha. The “secret overlook” was only big enough to safely allow about 5-8 people up at a time. Our group took turns enjoying the view and once everyone got a good dose of it, we started our trek back down to the picnic area for a snack and our highly-anticipated discussion.
Once we were there and settled in, I had the honor of introducing my business partner and very good friend, Shawn Kahan. He spoke about fear, a topic that we could all relate to and how he handles it and overcomes it in his life. He gave insight in to how fear drives him currently and how the lack of fear helped play a role in the creation of CLOUD.IX. Shawn also spoke about the fear of public speaking which happens to be the number one fear in the United States. He mentioned that he used several resources to prepare for this hike’s discussion. One of them came from an unlikely source, my nine-year-old daughter, Neilani. Shawn shared with the group what she shared with him four days earlier:
“If you’re prepared, then you have no reason to be scared.”
We could see that Neilani’s quote, along with advice from others, played a role in Shawn having confidence in his speech and delivery that day. By speaking with passion and using relatable examples, he made it easy for others to speak up about their fears with the group. One person talked about how group hikes helped her overcome the fear of meeting new people while another spoke about how InstaGram helped her through a divorce by helping her build new friendships. A few other people shared similar stories of how the fear of failure keeps them grinding and hustling on a daily basis. I am confident that these stories provided inspiration to our InstaMeet Hike’s participants on how to tackle their own fears.
In closing, I want to thank Shawn for leading an open discussion about a topic that is very real and present in everyone’s lives. I also want to thank everyone that showed up and made it a memorable experience. It is always a pleasure seeing old friends, meeting fellow IG followers for the first time and showing people some of my favorite hiking spots along with my “secret overlook.” Thank you to everyone who made it out for this second installment of our InstaMeet Hikes. For those of you who didn’t make it—we will see you at the next one!
Photos by: Roderick Cooney