One thing I love about social media and the online outdoor community is connecting with new friends.

My husband and I have a longstanding joke about how many times we head out on hikes with people we don’t really know in person but who we feel like we already know because we’ve met online through our small trail guide business.

We’ve developed amazing friendships all through a simple exchange of emails, tweets or facebook messages and a few hours together in the woods.

For several years I’ve been following Amelia’s adventures over at Tales of a Mountain Mama. From her website she seemed cool, down-to-earth, witty and smart but most important honest and real.

I’ve also been part of an online exercise group that she heads up so it feels like we’ve been friends forever….(and you’re all invited to join the group).

I couldn’t wait to meet Amelia in person. My online impressions of Amelia were right. She’s pretty amazing.

When today’s adventure landed us in Yellowstone National Park, right where Amelia lives with her family we finally got to meet.

Naturally we decided to hit the trails with all of our kids tagging along (a combined total of 5…we were totally outnumbered).

It was a perfect afternoon in Yellowstone.

We saw bison, deer and elk and hiked right past bighorn sheep and antelope.

When online friends become real friends

There was sunshine, beautiful scenery, a lot of talking and smiling…and a little bit of whining

(From the kids of course, adults never whine!)

Online friendships were solidified into real friendships and my kids can’t stop talking about their new hiking friends who live in Yellowstone.

When online friends become real friends

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s awkward to meet new people–it’s like a first date. But I say take the risk, make a few good online friends and call them up when you’re driving through their town. Maybe you’ll end up having a wonderful afternoon.

Have you ever met an online friend in real life? How did it go?


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