Two years ago, I stumbled upon the 52 Hike Challenge and thought it was a great idea! So I signed up. My hiking season begins on Black Friday each year. Instead of taking chances with the crowds, I head to the hills and #optoutside. So it was a great way to stay motivated throughout the year. I finished the year with 48 hikes. A great start, but I couldn’t believe I missed it by four hikes. I can’t let that happen, right? So I signed up again this year.
An Abbreviated Explanation
The 52 Hike Challenge works like this: you sign up (for free) and then go out and hike 52 times in one 365-Day year. A “hike” is any outdoor activity in which you travel (by foot) more than a mile. So, walk the dog long enough and you can count it as a hike. Go for a trail run, count it as a hike. Go for hike…you get the picture.
How Does This Fit in with Wandering?
The 52 Hike Challengegives us a framework within which wandering can happen. Let’s be practical for a moment: if you tell your friend, mom, or significant other that you’re going out for a wander. They’re going to ask questions. Tell them you signed up for a hiking challenge…okay, they’ll probably still ask questions, but of a much different variety.
The 52 Hike Challengeprovides a motivator for weekly wandering. It helps to give us a goal without a prize. Most importantly, it gives us something to point people to when they ask us where we are going each week. But—and this is a big BUT— wandering is about mindset, so we need to make sure that we are out there to wander and not just check a box.
Wandering only matters if it allows us to slow down and discover the world that we so often race by. It only matters if we drink in our surroundings and let them nourish our soul. It only matters if our aim is to see, to hear, to experience. Any hike can afford that, if we take along the right mindset. However, in my experience, many hikers are more interested in “getting there” and getting back. As wanderers, we know that the journey IS the destination.
”It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau
Where Will 2019 See You Wandering?
I’ll be wandering a lot this year. I already have trips planned to several local places and I’m in the process of planning some serious time in the Adirondacks. This is a year of adventure and discovery as I coddiwomple around. Because, as John Muir said,
”The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” -John Muir
Where will 2019 take you wandering? Let us know in the comments.
Also, if you would like to follow my 52 Hike Challenge, I post regularly on Instagram (@rucksackrevolutionary) using the hashtag #52hikechallenge .