Philosophy Walks

Merlin | Philosophy WalksThere are numerous reasons why getting out & about can help you live a healthier, happier, and more meaningful (deeply satisfying) life. Most people are aware of the physical benefits of being in nature, but there are also mental benefits.  Peripatetic philosophers such as the Ancient Greeks, for example, felt that there was a deep & intuitive connection between walking (in nature) & critical thought, so much so that they literally walked the earth & philosophized (hence the “prone to roam” moniker ‘peripatetic’). We enthusiastically agree and feel that “getting your feet dirty” & “sittin’ in trees” is a critical part of philosophy. With this in mind, our philosophy walks aim to help you kick off your shoes, exercise your body & mind, and reconnect with nature in ways that help to promote health and happiness.

We offer philosophy walks for adults & elders, as well as children! To view pictures from our philosophy walk outings, please visit our Merlin Meanderings Archive page.

 Our Merlin Meanderings

We offer free guided philosophy walks (a.k.a. ‘Merlin Meanderings’) on Merlin Nature Preserve (and other local areas) throughout the year.  The purpose of these fun meanderings are threefold — they allow an opportunity to: (1) exercise your body & mind, (2)  reconnect with nature, and (3) philosophically think about & discuss ideas and concerns that are important to you.  We will provide sign-up information and announce the date & location of our philosophy walks here.  You may also join our ‘Merlin Meanderings’  list to receive updates and/or contact us directly.

2019 Spring, Summer & Fall Schedule

May 2019

“Know Thy City!”

(Dennis McCahon)

Access Resources & Photos Here!


June 2019

Sat. June 29th

(9am – 12pm)

The Environment, Technology, Conservation & Land Ethics

Meeting Spot:  Mt. Helena Trailhead (at parking lot kiosk)

(Christopher Preston & Patrick Kelly)

July 2019

Sun. July 14th

(9am – 12pm) 

Ethical Living: Can Hope Be a Virtue?

Meeting Spot:  McKelvey Trailhead

(David Nowakowski)

August 2019

Reconnecting with Nature

(Ryan Aikin & Henry Kramer)

HELENA, MTMorning Hike — Saturday, August 3rd (9am – 12pm). 

Meeting Spot: Waterline Trailhead (at parking lot – we will then take the Rodney Meadow, to Rodney Ridge, to Don’t Fence Me in route). 

August 2019

Reconnecting with Nature

(Ryan Aikin & Henry Kramer)

MISSOULA, MTEvening Hike — Sunday, August 4th (5:30pm – 8:30pm). 

Meeting Spot:  Nine Mile Community Center (25620 Nine Mile Rd., approx. nine miles off interstate 90, Exit 82).

September 2019

Sat. September 14th

(10am – 12pm) 

Virtue & Excellence: From Ecology to Ethics

Meeting Spot:  McKelvey Trailhead

(David Nowakowski)

October 2019

Sun. October 13th

(10am – 1pm)

Story, Imagination, Phenomenology & Nature

Meeting Spot:  TBD

(Shane Doyle & Henry Kramer)

November 2019

Sat. November 9th

(10am – 1pm)

Nature & the Humanities

Meeting Spot:  TBD

(Ed Glowienka & Henry Kramer)


2019 Halloween Hayride-Philosophy Walk for Kids

Sunday, October 27th

On Merlin Nature Preserve (10am-1pm)

Wear your Halloween costumes & get ready for fun!  This philosophy walk will be geared specifically for kids and will have a Halloween & philosophy-based theme. 

  • Topic TBD.  Special guest speaker/storytellers Martin Richard & Michael Chapman.  Plus…a hayride, hot apple cider, baked goodies & more! 

Bring a sack lunch and/or snack and wear weather-appropriate gear (along with your costumes!).  Attendance by adults/parents/grandparents/siblings etc. is encouraged/welcome.   $10 suggested donation.  Space is limited.  Due to nature preserve logistics, registration and/or confirmation of attendance is required.  Our group will meet in the Silver City Saloon parking lot & caravan via our hayride wagon to Merlin Nature Preserve. 

What to Expect on Our Philosophy Walks

Here is  a general overview of what you can expect on our Merlin Meanderings:

  • Free to the Public (donations welcome/appreciated)
  • 2-3 hour walks (opportunities for rest along the way)
  • Casual, positive & supportive experience
  • 1-2 philosophy guides; guest/volunteer nature guides (as available)
  • Small group sizes (generally 1-12 people; may be larger for special occasion walks)
  • Ample opportunity to enjoy nature

To get the most out of your experience with us and enjoy a healthy & safe walk, please bring with you on the day of the walk/hike:

  • Water & Snack
  • Weather appropriate attire & sun protection
  • A walking stick/Trekking poles
  • Comfortable Shoes/Hiking Boots

If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please e-mail [email protected], call our office at #406-204-0064, or our executive director & philosophy walk guide (Marisa) at #406-439-5788

Directions to Merlin Nature Preserve:  Our group will meeting in the Silver City Saloon parking lot located at 6042 Lincoln Road West.  From there we will take a hayride to Merlin Nature Preserve (approx. 3.5 miles from the SCS parking lot).  To reach the Silver City Saloon parking lot from Helena, take either the 15, N. Montana Ave. or Green Meadow Drive to Lincoln Rd.  Turn left onto Lincoln Road & head west (toward Marysville/Canyon Creek).  Drive roughly 6.5 miles.  Silver City Saloon will be on your right hand side.  Click here for google maps directions. For walks on the preserve, please plan on arriving approx. 15 minutes before hike/walk start time. For more information about the meandering, please contact our executive director & philosophy walk guide (Marisa) at #406-439-5788 or e-mail [email protected] 

Our Philosophy Walk Sponsors

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