I decided to take on the 52 Hike Challenge last year at Thanksgiving. I had been hiking for a while- it is something I have always enjoyed. I didn’t make much time for it thought. But when I became a single mom of three young children, everything changed. I started hiking more and more often, with my children and alone. I found myself going hiking at least once a week. I challenged myself to hiking mountains. And as someone who loves a good goal or challenge, I stumbled upon the 52 Hike Challenge last Thanksgiving when I was looking up #OptOutside information. I decided since I was already hiking on at least a weekly basis, the challenge would motivate me to continue.
Fast forward to this Thanksgiving….
61 hikes later…
1,535 photos later…
Nearly 200 miles later…
I reflect on the past year’s hiking challenge. I remember when I first became a single mom. I was so scared for so many reasons. Fear ruled my life. I fought it, because that’s so not me. It was tough. Outdoor time is really important to me, and it is a priority for me to encourage in my children. They hiked with me. It was something we could do that was free, fun, and unique- different every time. It was an activity that helped me cope with the transition of not having my kids at home sometimes.
These hikes became my therapy. Changing my life, one step at a time. Heading onward and upward with each mile. I discovered so much out there. I re-discovered myself. I overcame so many of my fears. I learned that I was way stronger than I ever gave myself credit for- physically, mentally, emotionally, and then some.
I learned about my kids! I got to know them on a new, deeper level. Their interests, their questions- it all just thrilled me. I love letting them explore. I have the patience to be out there for hours, going at their pace, letting them lead me. It is just my favorite thing. It’s so special to us.
I started taking my boyfriend with me. He was completely new to hiking. He has pushed himself beyond what he ever imagined, and I am so very proud of what we’ve accomplished together. We learned a lot about each other, our relationship, and ourselves.
I am so grateful for this journey. I am already excited about this coming year. Something I would do differently is track/log every hike and keep a journal, so that’s what I’ve started doing. I’ve done two hikes this past week since Thanksgiving. I’m excited to see what’s to come.