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If you have ever signed up for a Meetup event before, it is safe to assume that you have skipped out of going at the last minute. I’ve done it, everyone I know has done it, and I’m sure you have to. This was just one of many thoughts that raced through my mind as I drove to the first Arctic Monsoon Meetup, located at Bier Station in Kansas City, MO.
“What if nobody else shows up? What if I am the only person at the Meetup event? Does that still “count” as a Meetup?” The questions racing through my mind didn’t seem to stop. Next thing I knew, I was pulling into the parking lot of a popular KC bar, looking for the fellow outdoors enthusiasts that said they were going to come to the Meetup I was hosting. But first, a little background on our favorite city in the Midwest
For those not familiar (as I wasn’t) Bier Station is located in the Waldo area of Kansas City, MO, just a short 10-minute drive from downtown KC. The Waldo area got it’s name from Dr. David Waldo, who purchased 1000 acres of land that would later become Waldo, a bustling neighborhood on the edge of the big city. You can read more about the history of Waldo here.
Cars line up along the newly opened Romanelli Shops at Gregory Boulevard and Wornall Road, 1931.
Bier Station was founded in 2012 and had since received several national awards and recognitions, including a spot on “America’s Best Beer Bars 2014” by Draft Magazine, a premier news outlet in the draft beer world. Bier Stations mission is to share their love of beer, not judge. That is why they consider themselves to be “beer enthusiasts” rather than “beer snobs,” and that is definitely reflected in all they do.
Owner John Couture in place behind the bar. Photo credit: Brooke Vandever
Knowing Bier Station’s mission allowed me to reflect on the mission of Arctic Monsoon. We are relatively young, but the mission we are pushing is that we are providing outdoor gear and advice to outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. From the person who was never slept outside to the person who has hiked every 14-er in Colorado, we try to focus on the enthusiasts, not the snobs. Sound familiar, Bier Station?
Back to the Meetup: as I rolled into the Bier Station parking lot, I found a bustling hotspot of people from all walks of life, coming together to enjoy a nice pint (or two) of their favorite beer. I was the first to arrive, but a few other outdoor enthusiasts slowly began to trickle in. After a few of us had congregated into a standing circle we quickly jumped on the next table that opened up, right in the middle of the outdoor Biergarten in front of the bar.
We shared a lot of stories that night. One of the outdoor enthusiasts in attendance, Chris, told us about how we scored a $500 round trip flight from New York to Iceland in a few weeks, which we were all very intrigued by. Chris was also the person who suggested we meet at Bier Station because he is friends with the owner, so a huge thanks to Chris for showing up to our first Meetup!
Beautiful pic of the Northern Lights over Reykjavik. Photo credit: Travelzoo
Chip, an ex-Navy veteran, has travelled the world with his wife and shared some stories of the various places he has been. While he loved his time spent travelling across Europe, he also enjoyed some more domestic travel and suggested if we are looking for a nearby trip to Kansas City that we check out Elephant Rock State Park, located in Belleview, MO. Elephant Rock has the oldest recorded granite boulders in the United States, aged at 1.5 billion years old. Wow!
Kind of looks like a herd of elephants, no?
After several glasses of beer, we were all ready to call it a night. Before we took off, we began to discuss what we should do at our next Meetup event. Since this is a group focused at camping for all skill levels, we determined that a 3-day hike through the backcountry was probably not on the agenda. We are all familiar with car camping, so we decided that our next trip would be a Friday-night overnight trip at Hillsdale State Park, near Paola, KS. We then parted ways for the night with plans to meet up at Hillsdale.
If you are interested in joining us, please visit the Arctic Monsoon Outdoos Meetup page, join our group, and RSVP for the next Meetup! We are always looking for suggestions on what to do next, even if it is just a short couple-hour hike on a local nature trail. Rock climbing, bicycling, kayaking, craft beer sampling, wine tasting-- we love it all.
Hope to see you at the next Meetup!