This week I interviewed one of my fellow Julius Olsen Honors Program members about his involvement in the HGT club here on campus. HGT stands for "Hunters, Gathers, and Travelers."
I asked Ben Denman, a second-year economics major from Aledo, where the club got its name.
"HGT started as the FYSM Parks and Rocks,” Denman said. “After the FYSM was dissolved, it became a club. HGT stands for Hunters, Gatherers and Travelers."
This made me wonder if the club had anything to do with hunting in terms of gun safety, hunting education or actual hunting. "We don't actually do any hunting,” Denman said. “The 'Hunter' comes from Hunter Hall, which was the original dorm for the Parks and Rocks members. 'Gatherers' does not have significant meaning. It just kinda flows naturally after Hunter... But we do partake in much traveling. I guess we should rename the club ‘T.’”
I never knew that Hardin-Simmons University had a Parks and Rocks FYSM class, and I loved the insight on how they created their name.
Since I did not know much about HGT, I wanted to learn more about its mission as a club here on campus. HGT’s whole purpose is to examine how community, nature and God are all intertwined. "We enjoy God's creation and each other's time while hiking," Denman said.
HGT's main activity base is traveling to a different state and national parks to camp and hike. An informal goal of the club is to visit every U.S. National Park every four years. The club goes on at least one trip every fall and spring semester, and there are also many trips planned over the summers. This past summer, they traveled to Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains. Denman shared that his favorite HGT memory was their trip to Shenandoah National Park in the summer of 2021.
Shenandoah National Park is located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Shenandoah was Virginia’s first national park and was dedicated on July 3, 1936.
"We were in Shenandoah National Park and we hiked to a great peak with a view,” Denman said. “I think it was called Hawksbill Mountain. I had never spent much time in the Appalachians and I was struck by the great view from this peak. There was patchy fog and the mountains do seem a little 'smokey'. All of this plus rolling mountains created one of the prettiest views I had ever seen."
He also told me about their most recent trip over fall break to Guadalupe Mountains State Park.
"The park is noted for its fossilized coral reefs and being home to the highest peak in Texas: Guadalupe Peak (8,751 feet). We left HSU Friday morning and spent about 2 days in the park hiking."
To close out the interview, I asked Denman how a student might hear about and join HGT. The club's outreach is mostly through word of mouth, but HGT has an Instagram that is gaining a small following of Hardin-Simmons students.
"HGT has an interest group and initiation in the fall,” Denman said. “The joining process for HGT has no base requirements and if you're interested in joining talk to a member or perhaps direct message us on Instagram."
For anyone who loves the outdoors, traveling and exploring God's power through nature, you should consider joining the Hunters, Gatherers and Travelers club. They go on hikes across the beautiful continental United States, build lifelong friendships and worship God while experiencing the beautiful sights that nature has to offer.