If you have been following along some of the old articles and my Instagram, I have mentioned that I have been doing the #52HikeChallenge. I joined this challenge when I first heard about it and since I had moved to the land of many, many trails (Arizona), I knew in my heart I needed to join this. Note of advice, always listen to your heart AND gut (and mind — don’t ignore all 3 signs if you’re ever pondering on a decision or question) because it can lead you to better outcomes in the future like for the challenge, the hiking benefits you’ll gain. Hear me out.
In my “The Ultimate Guide to Solo Hiking: The Benefits and The Do’s and Donts” article, I explained what the 52 Hike Challenge is and why I decided to join it:
The 52 Hike Challenge (https://www.52hikechallenge.com/) is a global challenge that encourages people to hike once a week (there are 52 weeks in a year), thus you’ll have to challenge yourself to do 52 hikes, but this is one of the best ways to gain the benefits physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Most people who do this challenge set it as a goal for themselves to create a personal journey and let it inspire or motivate them in a lot of those benefits that hiking provides. Upon signing up and doing this challenge, the idea of hiking 52 times is just beyond my imagination, but I’m excited to see where my journey will take me, and one of the things that will help me accomplish this is to embrace the idea of solo hiking. I also recognized that for the last year I wasn’t as active as I would’ve hoped to be. You can read my whole explanation of why I’m participating in this challenge here.“The Ultimate Guide to Solo Hiking: The Benefits and The Do’s and Donts”
As of June 15th, 2019 from this morning, I have completed #Hike25 out of 52 hikes ✔️. I am one more hike away from being halfway complete with the 52 Hike Challenge. I have been through quite a lot of pain and glory through my journey so far since participating in January (the beginning of 2019). It is very reminiscent to look back at all my past hikes since the start, but that is not what this post is about since I want to save that on my #Hike52.
This is to look back on the inactive and not-too-strong self I was prior to joining this challenge. I never really thought too much of the hiking benefits I would get from participating in this challenge. I just thought that I wanted to see amazing views on hikes, but it is far greater than that. This challenge will make you want to see small efforts that can result in bigger, life-changing outcomes.
To see what I mean, here is a list of benefits that I have seen for myself since reflecting back on my 25th hike of the year:
- I was never able to go hike solo.
- I am terrified of heights but I think I’m conquering that more and more and my fear for heights is getting lesser.
- My balance was pretty bad and unstable before this challenge and now I can say my balance has been so much better and I can stand long periods of time without needing to rest!
- I was never able to go down a steep trail without having to hold onto a friend and taking a very slow slow time, now I’ve improved going down on my own and a little faster than the turtle I was.
- One of the things I loved: My fat mass decreased on my legs to my ankles. My legs are so much more toned and hard to the touch. I never thought I’d develop more muscles there.
- I can kill a 400-ft elevation hike up to the top in 30 minutes! My time to go up has decreased by more than half.
- I was not as prepared as a hiker, underestimating myself and almost suffered from heat exhaustion, now I’m more aware of what I should always carry and the times to go hiking. I learned that a hike can turn deadly and dangerous when one is unprepared.
- I’m so much more positive when I hike. In the beginning, I had a lot more racing thoughts and caring what other people think as they saw me on the trail. Now I’m a bit careless about that and I use my thoughts to be trained to brainstorm as I hike or realize gratitude in my journey of life than frown upon the pain in life.
- I used to rely so much on the downloaded maps on my AllTrails app but now, I am confident to find my way back on the trail without looking back at the map. My direction skills have improved.
- Lastly, I wrote this all while I’m on this trail sitting on a rock. These hikes really make me think for the better.
Now that’s probably already a lot of hiking benefits gained from my 52 Hike Challenge. As you can see, there a lot of improvements from areas where I really needed to improve on since beginning my 52 Hike Challenge. Boy, do I hope (and I know that I will) to keep on going!
I was hardly active before this since living such a sedentary lifestyle back in New Jersey, but now I want to keep being active no matter what it is: running, trying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, swimming, biking, volleyball, etc. The activities just keep getting better and more coordinated with me all because of learning to love this outdoors sport of hiking. So you know, this challenge is not just to prepare you to learn to hike better but be better in all areas of fitness!!
I also know that while hiking, I was hurt severely, not once but twice. First time around, I had suffered from heat exhaustion. Second time, I developed cellulitis (a bacterial infection) from when a cactus thorn “flew” into my thigh while hiking Camelback Mountain (one of Arizona’s popular trails). But, I still came strong from those. I took the necessary treatment to be treated and I never wanted to think even after getting hurt that I would quit hiking. I really learned to love hiking that I did not want to see these events be the end of hiking for me. I also am aware that sometimes Mother Nature is very strong and it is no joke. Sometimes, you can’t do anything when you’re caught in the middle of her mess, but to stay strong and pray and like I said, take necessary treatment afterward.
Also one of my favorite hikes in the challenge so far. I love how you can learn the history and geology that happened along some trails like this one. Hiking is for education!
This challenge will test you to your limits and your mental, emotional, and spiritual self will be stronger and rise above. 10/10 recommend this challenge to everyone who is looking to drastically shape their life.
If you would like to follow along my #52HikeChallenge journey, follow me on Instagram @from1girlto1world.
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