Three Ways to Enjoy an Annual Hiking Challenge

by | Feb 22, 2024 | Hiking and Travel Tips

I have done an Annual Hiking Challenge for several years in a row. In this article I share a few thoughts and ideas for you to consider if you want to do one as well!

Year one of a hiking challenge is about excitement of a new tradition. Maybe busting out the doors to hike more often and hike in more places.  It’s exhilarating and a wonderful way to carry the theme of getting into the great outdoors with you everywhere you go.

My partner Jill and I do "Mountain Mondays" to keep our hiking challenge fresh and fun!
To keep our hiking challenge fresh my partner Jill and I do “Mountain Mondays” no matter where we are! This one is Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree National Park, a weekly mountain summit for us when we live there.

Does the enthusiasm of a hiking challenge start to wade after doing it once or twice?

Hardly.  Well it could. But here’s three ways I have a renewed sense of excitement each time I do another Hiking Challenge.  My challenge to you is to make this a part of your life for decades to come, not just a one off. Also, a hiking challenge does not have to start on January 1st. Any month or new full moon works :)!

I pick different hikes to keep my hiking challenge fresh, like trying the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon for the first time!

Pick an outlandish “Dreamy” hike that you train for and look forward to.  

One year I had that hike be Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon. My best friend since childhood and myself hiked North to South of the Grand Canyon in one day. With over 50,000 steps and 30 miles by the time the day was over. We trained for it but turned it into a week long adventure in Arizona. My Dad came along for it.

It also included hiking Bear Mountain in Sedona, camping out under the stars on the North Rim of the Grand Canyone, and icing our knees in a bed on the South Rim at the Maswik Lodge afterwards.  A different year that same friend of mine and two others will be hiked the Salkantay Trek in Peru to Machu Picchu over several days. When you do a “Dreamy Hike” you get to push yourself but also get excited and build anticipation with the possibilities of this Hike.  Go all in on it!

Hiking the Salkantay Trek Peru was a great part of one of my hiking challenges!

Don’t forget about exploring where you live and finding new hikes and doing them at different times of the year.

A hiking challenge has shown me the beauty of revisiting places in different seasons. While exploring regions close to where I live that I had never done before.  If you keep your eyes open this can be a limitless exercise. As there’s always another trail in a different season or another close region that you have never explored.

This guideline inspired me to hike in the Central Ohio Metro Parks in the winter, random places in Northern Michigan that aren’t on anyone’s hot spot hiking lists, and a slew of places near Seattle when it was “too hot” to hike!

Hiking in new nature preserves and metro parks in Central Ohio in the winter caused me to see the Midwest Winter differently!
Hiking in new nature preserves and metro parks in Central Ohio. The winter caused me to see the Midwest Winter differently!

Make it fun!  

Seriously though how much fun can you have? Can you do a hike somewhere new every week? How about you hike every single day in February even if you live in Alaska?  Perhaps you get your kids out on a hike even if they love video games? Maybe you get a family member out with you who says they will never hike again? Or even you get your friend who doesn’t anything on Sunday but watch football to skip watching a game and go explore with you?  

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A hiking challenge is like all opportunities we are presented in life.

See how much you can stretch yourself and others around you.  Find out what you are made of. Imagine what you can take from it and learn from it every single day. See how it can make you a better and kinder person. Not just on the trail but off the trail as well.

A hiking challenge can be a great life changing project to take on, especially in year one.  However as I have done one for several years now I have discovered something. If you allow joy and wonder in each challenge is a new chapter of an amazing untold story.

You have an untold story of your life.  You will get into it as much as you are able to put into it.  Don’t just do the same hikes on the same days as the year before.  Push yourself into that zone of being uncomfortable and grow yourself and those around you!

Thanks for reading and supporting Happy People Hike, comment below with any questions about hiking challenges.

Read more of my articles on HPH HERE.

Mike R

Happy Hiking
Mike Rudd

Mike Rudd

Mike Rudd

Nomad, Dood Dad, Planet Lover. Hashtag59 & Happy People Hike Lead Intern. Freelance Writer and Content Creator. Health and Wellness Curator.

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