I know what you are thinking. How in the world could I be living in Oregon and not be a hiker? Stereotypes generally are created due to some grain of truth, and it is definitely a stereotype to be a hiker if you live in the upper Northwest corner of the United States. But don’t forget they aren’t always true. However, I will admit I am a minority in the great Pacific Northwest.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love the outdoors. I grew up the daughter of a logger, so the evergreen trees, moss covered grounds and the sound of a rushing river are all part of my being. I appreciate the quiet of nature, the crisp air, the getaway from the city. I would go as far as to say being in the outdoors is one of the best ways for me to find rest. I just don’t like hiking to those destinations. I would much rather drive there, or walk a very short distance to get there.
My sister thinks very differently about this than I do. She is an avid hiker. And I have a deep respect for her. She finds rest in her hiking, she finds clarity in the open air, she finds peace in the quiet. I love this about her. My sister moved to the great county of L.A. where skyscrapers replaced trees, concrete replaced soft ground, and smog blocked the sunlight.After living there about a year and a half, she desperately needed to get out of the concrete jungle. She went on a hike to Fish Canyon Falls in Duarte, California, and hasn’t looked back since.
One day while scrolling through Facebook, my sister saw a post that had a hashtag that changed her outdoor experiences forever--#52hikechallenge.
You need to know about this. A couple named Karla and Phillip were both on their own personal journey to become healthy in their own ways, and both ended up using hikes as their way for bettering their health. Upon meeting each other during their hiking, they realized they were soul mates, and made a pact that they would always try and complete 52 hikes each year—one hike per week—and they want other people to join. "Together, Phillip and I have committed to hiking 52 times a year, for as long as we can. We welcome you to join us on this life changing journey," said Karla Amador.
My sister committed to this challenge, and is only a few hikes away from completing 52 in a whole year.
Here’s how it actually works. You find some hiking buddies, pick a place to adventure, and dedicate time out of your week to go on a hike. Then, you share a picture on social media with the hashtags #52hikechallenge and #hike1 (or whatever hike number you’re on) in hopes to inspire others to get out and hike. The 52 Hiking Challenge website even has a spot where you can find hikes in your area.
This challenge is truly a remarkable challenge. Although I haven’t participated in it myself, I have seen the benefits from the challenge in my own sister’s life. Who knows, maybe I’ll be converted into a hiker yet.
Whether you are a hiker or a just-arrive-at-the-spot kind of person, consider yourself challenged to go outside. It’s freeing, healthy, and therapeutic.
Where are your favorite outside places to go?