At the Mappy Hour Chicago Launch Party we confirmed our suspicions: stick a bunch of like-minded, outdoor-adventuring humans from the Windy City into one room and they’re sure to get along.
Over Revolution Brewery beers and RXBARs in Arc’teryx Chicago’s gear-packed space in Wicker Park, more than twenty of us networked, shared stories, and kicked-off new friendships – but even more importantly, we began building a community.
The rows of colorful gear, a bunch of photos of climbers, and a smattering of landscape shots lining the walls, you couldn’t have picked a better backdrop. Chris Davis, assistant store manager of Arc’teryx Chicago, also gave a Gear 101 presentation that shared the basics of layering. He covered: what makes one shell more breathable than another, how down jackets differ in warmth, and the necessities to keep warm in Chicago’s sub-Arctic weather this winter.
What stood out most was the organic flow of conversation throughout the night. To me (and many others, I’m sure) conversation came naturally. It was almost like we were hanging out with a bunch of friends we’ve known forever.
Some of the chatter I overheard and participated in:
- How to get involved in outdoor and environmental advocacy in Chicago
- The best day hikes within an hour of Downtown
- Planning an upcoming trip to Patagonia, Utah and Glacier
- Sustainable roasting practices by Sandhill Coffee, a Chicago-based, conservation-driven coffee company
- Future Mappy Hour events (like rooftop BBQs, Forest Preserve trips, and hike planning)
- And so much more…
The Mappy Hour Chicago Launch marks the beginning of an exciting journey. I’ve always known there are other nature-loving people in Chicago. I’ve seen them on the wall at First Ascent Chicago, hiked next to them on the Cook County Forest Preserve trails, asked them gear questions at REI Lincoln Park. The problem is, some of us just haven’t found our community yet.
I’ll say this is a great start.
The Mappy Hour Chicago team is currently planning our March event. Keep an eye out for updates through mappyhour.org/chicago.