Jessie describes her experience so far during this month’s Hike it Baby 30 Challenge with using BOB gear during a trip in memory of her brother. Have a tissue handy!

This month’s Hike it Baby 30 Challenge is my family’s eighth consecutive challenge since we discovered Hike it Baby back in the summer of 2015. Our challenge experiences have varied greatly over the years as our family has grown. I have logged miles alone with a toddler, through an entire pregnancy, with a newborn on my chest and a toddler underfoot, and now, with a brand new walker and his preschool-aged older brother. Some challenges have been epic, with over 100 miles logged in 30 days; others have been, well, challenges—with barely 10 miles over the course of an entire month.

A new challenge.

A couple of weeks ago, BOB asked if I was up for a different kind of challenge heading into the April HiB30: 30 stroller miles on trails. When presented with the opportunity to both change up our typical HiB30 routine and discover some new trails in Colorado Springs, I immediately accepted the BOB Gear Challenge.

I had some pretty big plans for this challenge. In addition to logging 30 off-road miles with the boys in our BOB stroller, I set goals to host one stroller “hike” per week and avoid repeating trails throughout the entire month. It was supposed to be a great month for us, a month full of adventure and friends and new trails in Colorado. Unfortunately, life had different plans.

Different plans, different challenge.

My dear brother, Jordan, passed away unexpectedly on April 4. In the days following his death, my parents, sisters, and I decided to return to their home state of Washington to grieve together as a family and organize Jordan’s memorial service. My husband and I decided to make the drive from Colorado with our boys instead of flying with the rest of my family, knowing that a certain amount of healing was sure to take place while traveling and camping across the western United States.

We loaded up our camping gear and our BOB and hit the road for the Oregon coast, the leg of our trip dedicated to the memory of my fellow nature-loving brother. We strolled along the beach and through the trees, all four of us looking for signs of Jordan along the way. We saw him in the waves as they washed upon the sandy shore and felt him in the rain as it gently kissed our faces. My oldest son and I laughed at the thought of Jordan splashing with us in the mud. By the end of our trip, although my pain over the loss of my only brother hadn’t budged in the slightest, I knew where I needed to go to find him whenever my heart ached for him: nature.

The first half of this challenge has come and gone and we are already on our way back to Colorado to figure out how to create our new normal. The April HiB30 gives me an excellent incentive to continue to get out in nature to find my brother and find peace and healing for my family.


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