Something I've been thinking about so far this January is how to get out and hike more. I thought I'd share some of my ideas and inspirations, knowing that there are others who have similar ambitions and yet challenges with the execution.
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a partner who is as ambitious to hike regularly. Share your hiking tales with everyone you know and start building up a little black book of friends who express interest in joining you. There are also many hiking groups out there, often found through sites like MeetUp or Facebook (Girls Who Hike is a great Facebook community example!) REI can also help connect you with group hikes, as can many local trail organizations. A Google search of "hike community" or "trail association" may bring up some resources in your community.
Don't let a drizzly day keep you from getting out! Keep a list of cloudy and rainy day hikes. Think forest walks, valley wanders or seaside strolls. Even a familiar hike can feel completely different on a grey day. Just be sure to wear layers, have a good raincoat and of course to pack along the 10 Essentials.
While hiking is certainly a very personal activity, there are some who have figured out ways to make it a bit more competitive. The 52 Hike Challenge is a great example of this! It's a global movement hoping to inspire and connect people to get out for a hike a week. Another great example I've seen is SoCal Hiker's Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge. I really love the idea of this and encourage you to develop your own Six-Pack of Peaks challenge in your local area!
Have a look around your neighbourhood. Are there any city or county parks nearby? Even 30 to 60 minutes wandering in an urban park can make you feel better. Once I really started paying attention, I realised that there are nearly a dozen parks with great walking trails within about a 20-minute drive. Pull up Google Maps and have a look, or check the Parks & Rec listings on your city and county websites.
Sometimes we just can't make it out to the trails. For those in-between times, find ways to connect with other hikers. For the past few months I've been participating semi-regularly in #ParkChat, a Twitter discussion every Wednesday evening about our National Parks. Or on Fridays you can join #HikerChat, the biggest outdoor chat on Twitter. If you're more visually inspired, then wander through some Instagram or Flickr hashtags, like #optoutside or #hike.
Please feel free to share in the comments below what inspires you to get out and hike more regularly.