The First Hikes:

The Orinda Hiking Club was founded in 1990 by Anne Diller, Bill King, Dobie Jenkins, Nancy Meagher and Philae Carver. They were members of the Trail Council of Orinda and met to organize the Orinda Hiking Club as a section of the Trail Council. Other members of the Trail Council were not interested in hiking with a group. The Council oversaw groups interested in horseback riding, running, bicycling, and walking, but not hiking.

At the formative meeting of the Club various guidelines were established, based on those of the Sierra Club and the Berkeley Hiking Club, of which Bill King was an experienced hike leader. These policies were in place at the time of the very first hike; sign-in, circle up and introduce ourselves, two co-leaders, do not pass the leader, sweep is at the very end, wear hiking boots, wear a hat, bring plenty of water. It was decided that there would be one OHC hike per month.

Dobie Jenkins led the first hike on April 7, 1990 in the Homestead Valley of Briones Regional Park. There were five people on the hike: Dobie Jenkins, Ann Jenkins, Anne Diller, Bill King, and Ron Van Dette.

The Club's second hike was on May 5th in Mt. Diablo State Park, from Mitchell Canyon to Eagle Peak, and was led by Bill King. There were eight hikers on this hike, including Ron Brown. In subsequent months Ron's knowledge of hiking trails in the San Francisco Bay Area greatly expanded the Club's hiking horizons. The next hike was at Pt. Reyes on June 2nd from Bear Valley to Arch Rock. This hike had 14 hikers.

Long-time, influential members of the Club who joined back in 1990 include Louise Rowland who was on the June 2nd hike, Cynthia Landy whose first hike was on August 4th, Karin Cohn on October 6th, Ken Doty on November 3rd, Nancy Crevin and Connie Doty on December 1st, and Annette Rost and Mary Stephens who hiked in January 1991.

In the early days of the Club Ann Diller underwrote all the expenses and after the first few hikes Ron Van Dette kept track of the Club's membership. The first meeting of the Club after members started hiking was held in June at the home of Anne Diller and Bill King.

Membership Growth leads to Expansion in Hiking Schedule:

From 1990 through June 1994 the Club held a hike on the first Saturday of the month. Starting in July 1994, increased membership necessitated two different hikes a month held on the first and third Saturdays. As the Club continued to grow, the hikes became unwieldy, and so in July 1997 the number of hikes was increased to four per month, with the same hike being led on the first and second Saturday of the month and the same hike on the third and fourth Saturday.

In July 1994 Anne Diller and Bill King promoted the idea of serving refreshments at the end of each hike and the Club adopted this policy.

The first annual New Year's Day hike to the top of Mt. Diablo was on January 1, 1997. It was led by Wally and Audrey Wapman who continued to lead these New Year's Day hikes up to the top of Mt. Diablo for many years, until their health prevented them from doing so. This hike has been a mainstay of the Club's schedule ever since.

In January 1999 the hiking schedule was modified and the fourth Saturday hike was moved to the fourth Sunday of the month.

As the Club's population diversified over time, there were many requests for short hikes of approximately five miles in length. So, on February 22, 2003 we had our first short hike and short hikes were scheduled for the fourth Saturday of each month. The short hikes became very popular and in January 2007 we began having two short hikes a month, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. The hike schedule was adjusted accordingly so that hikes offered on the first Saturday of a month were repeated on the second Sunday and third Saturday hikes were repeated on the fourth Sunday.

In 1997 more variety was added to the Club's schedule. The first Wednesday hike was on May 14, 1997, and eight days later, on Thursday, May 22, 1997, we had our first Thursday evening stroll.

To accommodate our particularly energetic members, Gary Rogers and John Ausman suggested that extreme hikes be planned for the fifth Saturday in months which have five Saturdays (about five times a year). The first extreme hike was held on Saturday, March 31, 2001, and, as of July, 2001, extreme hikes are now part of our regular hiking schedule. These hikes average 12 to 16 miles in length with an elevation gain of up to 4,000 feet.

Overnight and International Hiking Trips Introduced:

The Club's first overnight trip, the weekend of July 24, 1992, was led by Ken and Connie Doty to Sonora Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail. It included hikes to Leavitt, Sword, and Lost Lakes. The 30 hikers stayed at the Dardanelle Resort. Because the trip proved so popular, a Short Trips Committee was formed to plan similar trips.

Encouraged by members of the Sonora Pass trip, Ken and Connie Doty organized the first Club overseas trip to the Zermatt and Grindelwald areas of Switzerland in September 1993. Dobie Jenkins booked the hotels for the 24 members who participated.

The second overseas trip by the Club was to Tuscany in 1995. It was led by Dale Walwark. Many overseas trips followed thereafter.

Anne Diller ordered the first T-shirts for the Club. They were jade green with the print of a hiking boot sole on the left chest. Dobie Jenkins also purchased red T-shirts as a surprise for the 24 participants on the 1993 Switzerland trip.

In April 1994, Ken Doty and Ron Brown led the Club's first overnight backpacking trip, a one-way trip in the Ohlone Wilderness, from Sunol Regional Park to Del Valle Regional Park. The 12 hikers camped overnight at Maggie's Half Acre.

Dobie and Anne Jenkins led 19 hikers on the first domestic trip outside of California, to New England in September, 1994.

In August 1996 ten members went on a llama trek to the Emigrant Wilderness area in California. This was the first of several llama treks organized by the Club.

The next trip outside of California, in September 1996, was a week of hiking in the Mt. Hood area in Oregon. There were ten hikers on this trip which was organized by Ken and Connie Doty. The hikes were led by members of the Mazama Hiking Club of Portland, the second oldest hiking club in the United States (1894) and the second largest in the United States (40,000 members) after the Appalachian Mountain Club in Boston (1876 and 100,000 members and associates).

From the Mazama hikers, Ken got many ideas for the operation of a large hiking club. He adopted their practices of establishing guidelines for hike leaders and carrying a first aid kit on all hikes.

From the Club's inception to the present day our Club has organized trips to the following countries and states:

Hikes in other states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

International Hikes: Australia (Tasmania), Austria, Canada, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Norway, Patagonia (Argentina and Chile), Peru, Scotland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Wales.

Club Organization:

The original Steering Committee comprised of Dobie and Ann Jenkins, Ron and Sara Van Dette, Bill King and Ann Diller. Dobie was the Chair. Ron Brown and Louise Rowland then joined the Committee and later on, Ken Doty.

However, it was Ken Doty who was the driving force behind the Club's growth and management in its formative first decade. He later became the Chair of the Steering Committee, ran the Day Trips and Domestic Trips (Short Trips) Committees, edited the Orinda Hiking Club News, and kept all the data about the Club's hikes, trips, and participants' hiking miles.

Connie Doty was the Club's first Treasurer; she collected all the membership dues and kept the Club's accounts until Charm Dobell took over this function in 1993. Charm handed over the reins of the Treasurer to Ray Alessio in 1997.

In 1997 Louise Rowland took over as Chair of the Short Trips Committee. Also in 1997 the Day Trips Committee became a separate committee whose Chair was Ron Brown. In 1998 Miah Harrington and Sandra Steinbeck took over as Co-Chairs of the Day Trips Committee.

Connie Doty was also the first Chair of the Long Trips or International Trips Committee, and in 1999 Linda Stephan took over as Chair.

In 1998 Ken passed the Steering Committee chairmanship to Ian Baird, and in 2002 enlisted Ray Alessio as Editor of the Orinda Hiking Club News and Kirby Slate as Data Master.

On May 20, 2010 the Club celebrated the 20th anniversary of its formation at the Veteran's Hall in Lafayette.


  • 1990, April: OHC was founded establishing a schedule of one Saturday hike per month.
  • 1990, April: First hike had 5 hikers.
  • 1990, May: Second hike had 8 hikers.
  • 1990, June: Third hike had 14 hikers and OHC continued to grow.
  • 1992, July: First overnight trip went on Pacific Crest Trail with 30 hikers.
  • 1992, Aug.: Short Trips Committee was formed.
  • 1993, Sept.: First overseas trip was organized to Switzerland with 24 members.
  • 1993, Sept.: OHC T-shirts were first created.
  • 1994, April: First overnight backpacking trip led in Ohlone Wilderness with 12 hikers.
  • 1994, July: Two Saturday hikes per month scheduled and refreshments were added.
  • 1994, Sept.: First domestic trip outside of California went to New England, 19 hikers.
  • 1996, Aug.: First llama trek was held in Emigrant Wilderness area with 10 participants.
  • 1996, Sept.: Second domestic trip outside of Calif. went to Mt. Hood, Oregon, 10 hikers.
  • 1997, Jan.: First annual New Year's Day hike to top of Mt. Diablo took place.
  • 1997, May: Wednesday hikes and Thursday street strolls were added to the schedule.
  • 1997, July: Four weekend hikes per month were scheduled.
  • 2001, Mar.: "Extreme" hikes added on months with five Saturdays.
  • 2003, Feb.: One "short hike" per month was added to the schedule.
  • 2007, Jan.: Two "short hikes" per month were scheduled -- total of 8+ hikes per month.
  • 2010, May: 20th Anniversary celebration was held in Lafayette.
  • 2011, July: "Extreme" hikes scheduled each month.

Sept. 9, 2013