Hike it Baby is many things to many people. It helps us get out the door on drizzly days; it gives us friends and companionship; it is our support group as we try to navigate work, family life, post-baby bodies (moms and dads!), sleepless nights, and life; and it helps us all stay active and engaged in our communities. A few times a year we offer a challenge, and the Hike it Baby 30 Challenge months inspire us all in different ways. Some of us like a reason to keep track of our miles, others like to set a goal like hiking 75 miles in a month, some of us just hope we’ll make it to 30, and many of us use it as motivation to reinvigorate our love of hiking and nature. HiB 30 Challenge months offer us extra inspiration, support, and motivation: here are just a few stories and photos that really capture what Hike it Baby is all about.

 

Hikes help us find community and healing…

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Aleka Mayr
:  I have been a part of the Denver Metro branch since my move to Colorado from Georgia. I like that the community is non-competitive and provides a learning environment with branch leads being positive mentors. I felt included when joining hikes, despite being new to the group. I recently led my first hike and am joined by my kiddos 11 year old daughter Katalina, my 5 year old son Raymond, my would have been 3 year old angel baby Gavin, and youngest son Aiden at 2 years old. All of them love spotting animals and finding that perfect stick to carry on the hike. My favorite local hike so far was along the Dakota Ridge Trail where we were able to see traces of prehistoric life. My dream hike would be in Madagascar amongst the Baobab trees, which I’ve dreamed about since reading The Little Prince in high school. This month’s HiB 30 Challenge helped me realize just how much my family gets outside and how many miles we cover. The environment created by the group is incredibly positive and will motivate people to pack up the kids and head outside. It’s a great way for our children to interact with each other while us parents can socialize, get active, and decompress. I absolutely believe that getting out into nature helps my family. I find that when I take my children outside to a park or trail, they automatically engage in their surroundings and employ their imagination. I lost my husband the end of September 2015, and getting outside has been the best therapy for my grief. Every step I make, when I’m on a trail, feels like an accomplishment. I’m smiling the entire time, no matter where the trail takes me, and I find that we end up going further and further with each new adventure.

 

Hikes help us find our strengths and bring us happiness on the grey days…

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Kaitlyn Gingrich:  Today marks the end of our 4th HiB 30 Challenge. This has been the best HiB 30 Challenge yet for quite a few reasons. Not only have I been able to watch our branch grow from 2 members (me and my husband) to almost 1200 members in only 7 lovely months, but I have also discovered a strength in me, my family and my community that I wasn’t sure existed. Hike it Baby has truly changed my life and my perspective! I absolutely love watching it change the lives of many, many parents and children, who are now getting out there more and more (and more) because of the support and strength of this group and this incredible movement. I have PPMD (like many of us out there) and in starting our local branch I hoped to “Hike to Happiness”. In all honesty, I’m still not 100% but with the help of my community and all the good this group has brought to my life, every day is better and better (and better!). To all of you out there like me, keep on hiking to happiness. It doesn’t matter how many miles or minutes you complete (or don’t complete). It’s about the journey and I can honestly say this has been some of the best times of my life! Big thanks to all of you out there for your constant positivity, support and motivation. See you in September!

 

Hikes help us gain patience and connect with friends new and old…

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Beth Tatara Maurer:  This was our first HiB 30 Challenge. I should have tracked minutes because we definitely spent a lot of time enjoying our yard. We only made it to 18 miles, but I likely wouldn’t have hit 1/3 of that without the challenge. But more than that, we had a really wonderful time. The concept of “raising a wild child” is way outside this anxious mama’s comfort zone, which is why I wanted to push myself. I made some awesome new friends, chose to “opt outside” for some get-togethers with old friends, learned to be patient and present with toddler-led paces, discovered some beautiful spots in our community, and spent more time together walking as a family. While I did not hit my original goal, I am so grateful for the unexpected gifts that I gained.

 

 

There is tranquility and peace on hikes that we love to share with our family, especially our little ones….

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Being inspired to get outside, even on those cold winter days…

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Through stormy weather, family struggles, and the challenges of life our community motivates us to get into nature. Hike on everyone – you are all inspiring!


Nicole Hammond is a branch lead for Metro Detroit, mama of 2 and wife of 1. A Yoga teacher and grad student in environmental policy and planning, she also enjoys running, coffee, hiking, coffee, yoga, and microbrews.

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