A Letter from Hike it Baby Founder, Shanti Hodges

I’ll never forget how I felt in October 2013, pulling into the parking lot at Tryon Creek State Park, a small urban park in Portland, OR. Mason was just five months old and it was a stormy, gray sky day. I was there to hike. I had put an event in the calendar but thought no one would show up. Hail was in the forecast and it was a chilly day. I bundled Mason up in the carrier and started toward the covered area just down the trail from the nature center. 

As I stood there doing the baby bounce, rocking back and forth to calm Mason and put him to sleep, women started to show up. Two women walked up together, then another on her own and then a fourth and fifth. By the time we started our welcome circle, there were 14 women with babies wrapped up under rain jackets and umbrellas. I looked around the circle, both surprised and relieved that I wouldn’t be hiking alone that morning. It had been a hard week and I needed that hike and companionship so badly.

Parenthood is Easier Together

We set out on the trail and within 20 minutes the hail started. We trudged on, laughing at how hearty we could be when we were together. This was Oregon in the fall and we were getting out there for our sanity, connection and our desire to breathe fresh air, no matter what. It was easier when we were together. After the hail stopped, the sky cleared and beams of sunlight shot through the clouds. We were soggy, but it didn’t matter.  

I remember thinking how great I felt in spite of the crazy weather and how much I needed community. I never would have gotten out of my car had I been alone. The inspiration was the fact that people were counting on me.

I felt stronger, healthier, happier the whole day following the hike. That was why I needed Hike it Baby.

It made me a better mother and a happier human. This is why I think many of you appreciate Hike it Baby today.

Support Community on this #GivingTuesday

Community is everything. Finding a community that gets you out of the house and into the world when you have a small child isn’t just for you, it’s for all of us. The simple act of getting outside helps to build stronger family bonds and better neighborhood connections. When we experience nature we all thrive. Hike it Baby is one of the pathways helping build our communities up. 

On this #GivingTuesday we want to ask you to consider giving to Hike it Baby or other organizations like us that are dedicated to supporting community building in nature. 

Happy hiking, and thank you for helping support our ongoing efforts to connect families across the world together on trail. 

Shanti Hodges

Founder, Hike it Baby


About Hike it Baby

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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