For a little over a year, I’ve been using Instagram as a way to document my hikes. I originally started @hopefullyhiking so that I wouldn’t flood all of my friends’ and family’s feeds with all of my hiking pictures because not everyone is into that. Pretty soon after I started my account, I ended up joining a challenge to hike 100 hikes. Because of that, my Instagram quickly became the place for me to post about that journey I was on. Over the next year, I posted every single hike that I went on. It was so fun and allowed me to “meet” new people who shared the same interest that I had for hiking. Creating and using my account to document the 100 hikes eventually opened the door for me to be interviewed by South Carolina State Parks, as well.
My 2020 goal is to hike 100 hikes again plus complete 500 miles. I decided that I wanted to continue to document my journey to reaching this goal on social media, but I also wanted to document in a journal too. Social media may cease to exist one day, so I want to make sure I have these memories forever saved. Documenting is so important to me because I’m super sentimental, so I wanted to share how I do that.
Have a Notebook or Social Media
My first and most obvious tip for documenting your hikes is to either have a notebook or social media. You could even do both like I am. It 100% depends on your preference. You just need somewhere to store all of your info. I think both are a lot of fun for different reasons, but I enjoy social media the most. It’s like being part of a community.
Keep Count of How Many Hikes You Go on
If you’re not counting the number of hikes you go on throughout the year, I highly recommend you start doing this now! I was introduced to this idea through HikerBabes, and I will never not count my hikes ever again. It’s so fun looking back at the end of the year and seeing how many you went on. Plus, it has been a huge motivator to make me want to get out on the trails. The way I keep count of my hikes is by writing in my journal and posting on my Instagram the number hike that it was out of 100. Trust me, you won’t regret keeping count! You can even join the HikerBabes challenge and meet other women who are on the journey through the hashtag #hikerbabesorg100 on Instagram.
Track Your Mileage on Every Hike
This year, I have joined the Ultimate Hiking Challenge to hike 500 miles by the end of the year. Even if you’re not part of a challenge like me, I recommend keeping track of your mileage anyway. Just like counting how many hikes you go on, tracking your mileage is really fun and encourages you to get out and hike. For me, it has helped to challenge myself to go on longer hikes than I normally would. To track your mileage, you will need an app or a watch that has the ability to record your distance. When I first started, I just used the NikeRun app. Given the name, it’s meant for running but works just as well for hikes too. However, it started to become a little unreliable because it would randomly stop recording my hike. I would get back to the car to see that only about half of it had been recorded. Ultimately, I switched to a Garmin Instinct watch, and I have zero complaints! It’s geared towards outdoor activities and even has a hiking feature which is perfect. Whatever technology you choose to track, I would recommend one that can calculate your mileage, elevation, and pace.
Take a Picture on Every Hike
If you’re using Instagram to document your hikes, you will need to take a picture on every hike. If you’re using a notebook, I still suggest taking a picture! For my journal this year, I’m printing off the pictures as polaroids and sticking them on the page that is about that hike. These pictures don’t have to be perfect by any means. One of my favorite things to do is snap a picture of my dog and me on the trail. Last year, I took a picture on all 100 hikes that I went on, and I’m so glad that I did. I get to look back and see where I hiked, what it looked like, and even how my dog and I have changed. Think of it this way, ten years from now, you’ll wish you had pictures of all of the hikes you went on.
Record Anything Else You Want
Since this is your journal, whether it be on social media or paper, you get to customize it however you want. What I put on social media is different than what I put in my notebook. I’m more detailed in my notebook because it’s personal. For social media, I put my mileage, hike number, trail name, and a little summary of my hike. In my notebook, I put the mileage, hike number, trail name, park name, elevation, weather, and a longer, more in-depth summary. Many people like to draw sketches too. What you document is completely up to you!
An Example of How I Document on Social Media
Choosing to document my hikes has been the best thing I’ve ever done. Getting to look back and see what all I’ve done is priceless. Plus, like I already mentioned, getting to make friends online that help encourage you is so nice and fun. I highly encourage anyone reading this to document your hikes!