With the Winter Olympics in full swing, I find myself looking at my health and exercise with more scrutiny. Luckily, I have two big motivators in my life. Hike it Baby and the 365 Mile Challenge. Since joining these two groups, I have challenged myself to get outdoors more often. Hiking Challenges are new to me since having my daughter over a year ago. Through these challenges, I have found a sense of community and a way to stay healthy.
I first found Hike It Baby when I was a new stay-at-home-mom and was looking for a way to get out of the house. Hike It Baby is a nation-wide organization that has branches all over the country. In the Bay Area, there are branches in San Jose, East Bay, San Francisco Peninsula, and Sonoma County. Each branch offers free family-friendly hikes that members can join in very casually. There is no need to register for hikes, one can simply drop-in. Any branch member can host a hike, the organization even encourages everyone to host by offering monthly giveaways to hike organizers. I have gone on several fun hikes in the East Bay and met some great parents through the East Bay Branch.
One of my favorite things about Hike It Baby is their seasonal hiking challenges called Hike It Baby 30. Hike It Baby 30 encourages members to get out and walk, hike, or snowshoe with your children 30 miles in 30 days. Or get outside with your kids for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week for a month. These challenges are a fundraiser for the non-profit and happen 4 times a year (January, April, September, and November). You don’t have to be part of a branch to participate. There’s an easy online hike log to track miles on your own. When you break a challenge down to just a mile a day it seems very doable and that’s what encourages me to get out each day and walk.
The other thing that I love about these hiking challenges is that the miles don’t count unless you bring your child with you. That means they help you to find new ways of enjoying the outdoors with your kids. I was intimidated about hiking with my daughter by myself, but knowing there is a whole community of parents out there hiking and offering support helps motivate me to do it. I’m even getting pretty good at it! I am inspired to hike with my daughter on my own. Now, I love bringing other parents out with me and helping them build their confidence to hike with their children as well.
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I found the 365 Mile Challenge while reading a few outdoor blogs that I love: Tales of a Mountain Mama and Hike Like a Woman. A group of strong woman have put together this amazing community and challenge. The goal of the 365 Mile Challenge is to get 365 self-propelled miles in a year. 2018 is the second year that this challenge has been put together, and it has become very popular! The Facebook group itself has almost 1200 members in it. The best thing about the 365 Mile Challenge is that the creators encourage members to customize the challenge to their goals and desires. Some members are only counting the miles they get hiking. Others are counting their treadmill miles while they deal with winter weather. Still, others push themselves to get over 1,000 self-propelled miles (hiking, walking, biking, swimming, snowshoeing) in the year.
The 1200 members of the 365 Mile Challenge Facebook group are very active and love to support and encourage one another. The group has members from all over the world, so we get to see what outdoor adventures look like across the globe in places like Canada, Hawaii, and Europe.
Every Monday the Admins start a thread called Mileage Monday. Everyone shares how far they have traveled so far this year. We like each other’s posts and encourage one another no matter how far we have moved so far. With the constant flow of posts in this group, it keeps the challenge at the forefront of my mind. Because of this, the miles don’t get pushed to the backburner. I started the year pushing myself to get a mile in every day. Now that I’ve found my groove (and a dog!) I’m doing almost 5 miles a day. I decided to change my goal to 1,000 miles for the year!
Before I joined this group, the idea of walking 1,000 miles in one year would seem outrageous. However, seeing others do it helps me know that it is totally doable. It pushes me to try it for myself! I plan on keeping a journal throughout the year to track how many miles I hike on trails and how many Addie walks on her own.
The 365 Mile Challenge opens up enrollment around Thanksgiving each year. They close enrollment half-way through January but plan on opening up again for new registrations in the Spring. If you sign up for their newsletter you will be notified of when the next registration window opens.
I have always enjoyed being outdoors with my family and knew that I wanted to continue this tradition with my daughter. Getting outside on a regular basis with Adeline will help give her confidence to explore on her own. While it is definitely more challenging to hike with small children, the better prepared you are the more successful you will be. For tips on preparing for a hike check out my post on setting up your base camp. Once you make it a priority to get outside with your family it will become a way of life.
I love seeing new wildlife, watching the scenery change through the seasons, and challenging myself on difficult trails. I hope to instill these values in Adeline and watch her develop her own passions in the outdoors. Having these two amazing communities in my life gives me the support and confidence I need to get out on a regular basis. I am so grateful to have found these groups. I encourage you to join them as well!
Are there any hiking or outdoor groups that you are apart of? Comment below, I would love to learn more. Feel free to share this post with your friends and family using the buttons on the left.