Happy New Year! Its now the year 2022. The year I get back to Roaming With Purpose, and exploring the world on my terms. One of the things I mentioned in my last post is the 52 Hike Challenge! This is how I plan on dedicating time for myself to spend time out in my favorite place – on the trails 🙂 A lot of the time my want for others to be happy and fulfilled means sacrificing what I want, and it tends to be in the form of not having the time physically and mentally to get out of my routine. Well, that’s changing (a bit) this year! I’m a couple months into my new job, and I have to admit that the bump in salary has lifted huge weights off my shoulders, not to mention the job being a productive and positive type of stress, which has freed up so much more time in my life for getting back to Maggie.
So, the 52 Hike Challenge. I talk about this a lot, I wrote about it in the “before times” of the blog, but since that’s gone I’m going to talk it out again!
I completed the challenge in 2018, and it legitimately changed my life. I gained confidence in myself, spent time out in the wild on my own, took a 2 week solo road trip to the PNW, and got into much better physical shape. Putting one foot in front of the other really does lead you down paths of transformation, and seeing some of the places on Earth that I was able to see showed me how little me and my problems were. Once I was able to accept these things and knew that I was along for the ride,
What is the 52 Hike Challenge, exactly?
Its simple. Hike 52 times 52 weeks. There are a few different options to choose from, but ultimately its about getting outside, walking, and spending time in nature! There are different options or “series” of challenges, which I’ll get into below, but overall the rules are that there really are no rules except one – get outside and hike!
It is completely free to sign up for any of the challenges. They do have a store which offers stickers, patches, finisher medals, and apparel/accessories, but to simply sign up costs nothing. I have just purchased the sticker/patch pack, and will wait until sometime this fall to get the medal, and will wear that on my last hike of the year 🙂
Options! There are six options to sign up for, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time trying to decide. Its simple:
- The Original Series (first timers or returning)
- The Adventure Series (returning and ready for more challenge)
- The Explorer Series (returning and ready for 52 trails you haven’t hiked yet)
- The National Park Series (lifetime goal to hike in 52 National Parks/historic sites)
- The Kids Series (Get the kiddos outside and on the trails)
- The Pets Series (Get your pets outside for some fun)
I’m opting to complete the Original Series for a second time. While I do want this to be a challenge, I want to take the pressure off and simply hike 52 times. There are a LOT of trails (according to AllTrails) in the St. Louis area, but in my experience its at least 2 hours out of the city to get to the good stuff.
We are approaching the end of January, and I’ve gotten ONE hike in! January 1, 2022 was a chilly and rainy day, so I bundled up, got my rain jacket on, and went out for a hike! I really wasn’t feeling like getting all muddy, so I opted for an “urban” hike around the huge city park here in STL – Forest Park! I am lucky enough to call this park my literal front yard, and if I leave my porch, walk the perimeter of the park, and get back to my porch, I get a nice 6 mile walk in.
I consider a decent hike to be at least 3 miles. I chose this distance, because I also consider it to be a good “workout.” This is in quotes, because I’m viewing these hikes as a physical activity as well as the time I need in nature and away from the hustle and bustle and pressures of life. These hikes are getting me steps closer to a healthy life all around. Of course there will be hikes when I have my nephew or the trails are just shorter, and that’s the beauty of not having strict guidelines around this challenge.
When I started hiking on my own it was sacred Maggie time. The time I could take aside for myself. This was needed at a time when I hadn’t ever really set boundaries or spent time on my own. I was also not in poor health, but it wasn’t a priority for me. I will most definitely devote some of these hikes to myself, but I also want to have these experiences and build memories with the people I care about! I have a few friends who hike, a lot who love being outside, and some who are new to this area.
Its been a few days since I wrote this, and since then I’ve gotten hike 2 in! It was another “urban” hike wandering another big city park, but this time I had friends! I was spending the weekend with my favorite floofy girl, Hanley, and we invited our new friends Sam and Miles along! My childhood friend Kate just moved to St. Louis from Sacramento with her husband Sam and their pup Miles. It was a great day with just over three miles logged! AND hike 3 is being planned and is in the works for this weekend 🙂 This means I’m still one hike behind if I’m sticking to the one hike per week plan, but I know there will be weeks throughout the year when I get more than one in in a week so I’m not stressing over it!
I would LOVE to chat more about the hike challenge with you if you’re interested. Its really not complicated, but I’ll take any opportunity to connect about hiking and the outdoors.
I feel it necessary to say that I, in no way, think I’m an expert hiker. I wouldn’t trust me to lead a group out into the wild and keep everyone alive and safe. I’m not a survivalist, but I do think that I have enough experience to keep myself alive if needed. I’m scrappy and resourceful, and honestly not often outside of cell reception. All this to say, please don’t think that I’m an expert at the outdoors. I do plan on posting more about hiking and the outdoors here, and share what I learn as I learn it, but I’m really just living life and figuring it out as I go. After a conversation with new friend/coworker Caitlin I do now have a guided backpacking trip on my list of things to do in the next couple years! Followed by a backpacking trip without a guid, but that could be a while. I’d like to do more camping and getting used to living outside of my apartment again before committing to something like that.
To wrap up – I encourage everyone I come across to sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge! You can do so here, and let me know! No this isn’t any kind of sponsored thing, but this challenge has done much for me and my life, and I want the same for everyone 🙂
If you’d like to see more posts about hiking, camping, gear, etc – please leave a comment or send me a message! I’m still getting a feel for what this space is going to be, and since this is more for others than myself I want to be sure its content that is wanted.