In this very brief interview, longtime Cleveland Hiking Club member Gayle Zipay recounts what led her to join the hiking club in 1983. Her interview includes reminiscences about a couple of notable club members, a youth hostel that once operated in the Cuyahoga Valley, and some of the chores associated with maintaining the club's camp.


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Zipay, Gayle (interviewee)


Trausch, Marianne (interviewer)


Cleveland Hiking Club



Document Type

Oral History


7 minutes


Marianne Trausch [00:00:02] Today is - This is Marianne Trausch and today is April 11th.

Marianne Trausch [00:00:09] I am here with Gayle Zipay who has been a member of the hiking club since nineteen eighty three and Gayle, I'd like you to tell me a little bit about how you got started in the hiking club.

Gayle Zipay [00:00:24] Well I think I started simply because I was at a time in my life where I was just a little bored. My husband was involved in golf and baseball and I kind of stayed home more than I wanted to. So I started hiking and I probably was. Going to the hiking club - the hikes - for about two years and I really didn't know if I really wanted to join or not because everybody seemed to be so old. And now of course all that has changed. It's quite a reversal. And that's probably about it - about why I joined - but I really enjoyed the people and I was just looking through the membership. There was a book after twenty four seventy five years or something and it's just kind of sad looking through that because so many of those faces that I was familiar with then they have all passed I mean many of them have passed and it's it's a little sad too. It's a wonderful club a wonderful organization.

Marianne Trausch [00:01:27] Do you want to tell us about some of the people that have been the most memorable to you that you've enjoyed during your time in the club.

Gayle Zipay [00:01:38] Well there's so many of them. There's just too many to mention. I remember the first time I was on a first maybe first one or two hikes I was on and Matilda warned me that she'd be talking to somebody and then all of a sudden they would be talking to somebody else then they would be gone and she said not to feel offended or anything like that. And of course Louise McDonaugh. She was an icon for our club and one of the things I remember about her. And you know just everybody loved her and she was just such a good Christian woman and she we were down at the New River Gorge for a weekend. And she always went up to men and said Hi honey and it was just kind of a joke everybody it was harmless you know I mean she is a wonderful lady and she did this to a state patrol man because it was so there was such a festive mute mood going on and he said I'm going to have to arrest you. And that's the first time I ever saw her intimidated she thought he meant it but it turned out that she had an Indian's hat on and was during the year when they were playoffs. And that was why he was going to have to arrest her. And he was you know he just took it. And you know he was happy.

Marianne Trausch [00:02:56] He was teasing her I'm sure.

Gayle Zipay [00:02:58] Right. Right. Oh he was teasing her absolutely. And one of the fun times to remember having was we used to go out to the youth hostel for a work weekend and one time Jeff Lennartz I don't know why why he did this. But anyways he was going to have a bubble blowing contest and I thought well I just wasn't interested in that. But of course you know we were going to be staying the weekend anyway so it didn't make any difference. And I had such a wonderful time and everybody else did he I never saw bubbles that large in my life. They were in the shape of tunnels and were added to that is. Jeff has a chemistry background and there was also a just person staying at the hostel not with our group. And he also had some chemistry and they made huge bubbles you could almost walk through them they were like I say tunnel shaped many times and I just thought that was wonderful.

Marianne Trausch [00:03:58] Do you remember where these youth hostels were located.

Gayle Zipay [00:04:03] Oh there was only one and that was the one in the Cuyahoga Valley I think. Not sure if it's Von road or but I don't think it's open anymore you know. But a lot of the hike started out from there to. And see. One time too I remember I was on a hike in Brecksville. And it was a your hike was shortly after I retired which was about 13 14 years ago and there was a woman and it had been our first or second hike in this. Like I say was in Brecksville it was very hilly and she was telling me and she in just really big. She thought that she might have to give some of these people CPR because they were older and it was so hilly and she was just amazed at the condition of the people who were hiking.

Marianne Trausch [00:04:54] Let's talk a little bit about camp and the kinds of things that you remember about being out there.

Gayle Zipay [00:05:04] Well I think that to me it looks pretty much the same and course we have that trail now. Jay Beswick I believe his last name was and that's that's a very nice addition. And one of the things I remember the most because lots of times I got recruited to work in the kitchen is that there was no hot water you had to heat the water in kettles or something or tea kettles. And that was kind of a difficult thing to do sometimes the waiting for the water to get hot. And sometimes I even questioned how clean some of those dishes for you know without the hot water. And one other thing I know we used to have. I used to participate in the cleanup days and everything. One thing I remember about Louise who I talked - Louise McDonaugh who I talked about a little bit earlier. And she she had no problems cleaning the old houses and she would always be recruited for that job. She didn't have a lot of people volunteering to do that. And you know it pretty much looks the same to me. And I haven't been there for about a year or so. There could be some recent changes.

Marianne Trausch [00:06:16] OK. In summarizing here. What kinds of things make the Cleveland hiking club special for you.

Gayle Zipay [00:06:32] Well I think one of the things that is just very valuable to me is that we have known each other so many of us have known each other for like 25 30 years and we've seen the kids grow up. But now we have grandchildren. Some of us have great grandchildren. And when you go on a hike and you haven't seen anybody you don't have to get reacquainted. And I just love it because I haven't been hiking as much lately. But I - you know - whenever I go on a hike there's always somebody I know from way back when. And. The people are so friendly. And there doesn't seem to be like a I hate to use the word class system but that doesn't seem to exist with the hiking club and I've just truly enjoyed it. It's added so much to my life. And I plan on continuing.

Marianne Trausch [00:07:29] Very good. I really appreciate you contributing to the Oral History Program of the club and really appreciate all your comments that you've given us today.

Gayle Zipay [00:07:39] Thank you so much. You're welcome.

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