In January of this year, I came across an organization, called Hikerbabes, that came up with the idea to start a movement that challenges women to go on 100 hikes but without the pressure of having to finish by a specific deadline. The idea of this movement is to encourage women to get out and enjoy nature, while also creating a community of likeminded women to encourage each other along the way. In fact, their motto is, “No time frame, because it’s not a race. It’s about the journey”.
Since I was already an avid hiker when I saw this challenge, it took no convincing at all for me to jump on the train. However, I decided that I did want to make a time frame for myself just because I like a good challenge. I told myself that I had to complete all 100 hikes by the end of the year, and then I began my journey! Honestly, I got off to a slow start, but throughout the challenge, I picked up the pace. If you do the math, 52 x 2 = 104. That meant that I had to do at least 2 hikes a week, so to stay on track, I started off with making sure to hike every Tuesday and Thursday. Then, a few months later, my schedule changed. When that happened, I made sure to hike every Monday and Wednesday. Obviously, there were days or even weeks when I just couldn’t get out and hike. If that happened, I just made sure to add a couple extra hikes here and there.
What’s cool about this organization, and its movement, is that they really are a community. So much so, that they came up with the hashtag #hikerbabesorg100 where you can document and share your journey with all the other hikerbabes! Since I’m a sentimental person, I created a hiking account on Instagram and documented every single hike from 1 to 100. Each post, I would put what number hike it was, the name of the trail I hiked, and how many miles I had gone. (If you’re doing this challenge, I totally recommend documenting it all like I did! It’s so rewarding getting to look back at them all and see the journey.)
By doing this challenge, I feel like I got to experience nature in many different and more personal ways than most get to. I got to hike in all four seasons and really see an up-close look at the changes that took place. I hiked in monsoons and freezing cold weather, but then droughts and blazing hot days where you feel like you’re going to have a heat stroke. I got to hike by myself and enjoy my own company, yet I also got to be joined by family members and friends. I even got to take my baby nephew on a couple of hikes (one where he was just a couple of weeks old). I got to experience most of my hikes with my dog, where our bond was strengthened more than it already was. There were times where I felt like I could hike for days, but then there were others where I felt like I couldn’t even make it a mile. Throughout this challenge I got to explore several different state parks throughout Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. I wish I could put into words what hiking 100 hikes really feels like. Sometimes I feel like I could write a book, but then there’s times where I feel like I could never even begin to explain it.
Overall, the entire challenge took me 11 months to finish. That’s one month sooner than I had planned! Since I was documenting my mileage, I also figured up that I completed 337 miles throughout the 100 hikes. 337 miles and 100 hikes of growth. I’m so thankful I chose to embark on this journey, and I’m so thankful for all the encouragement I’ve received throughout the whole thing! Here’s to starting a new challenge in 2020!