During every Hike it Baby 30 Challenge, someone posts a comment in the Challenge room that they feel overwhelmed and can’t keep up. Between work, illness, family “stuff” and all else going on, adding something like the Hike it Baby 30 can seem daunting. Here’s a little backstory on how Hike it Baby 30 started to help encourage you to give it a go, even if it seems like you cannot add another thing on your plate.

Why Hike it Baby 30 by Shanti Hodges for Hike it Baby

 

Setting the stage

In October 2014, Beth Silva texted me one afternoon from a trail on an on-and-off cloudy day. Someone had cancelled the hike 15 minutes before because of “potential rain.” WE LIVE IN OREGON!!!!! And it was October. Beth was so bummed because she was looking forward to the motivation of having others on the trail with her. She also really wanted to hike the Wildwood trail because her husband had attempted to hike the whole 30 miles in a day on his 30th birthday (blister due to new shoes cut his hike short).

Beth texted and said, “Hey, I am on the Wildwood trail hiking alone. I would love to hike this whole trail. It’s 30 miles. Want to do it with me next month throughout the whole month?” Always up for a challenge, I said, “YEAH!!!!” As we talked it out, we set up the “rules.” The idea wasn’t that we both had to do it together, but we were both doing it in the same month. That would inspire us both to get out even if we couldn’t hike together. Thus, the Hike it Baby 30 was born.

Why Join the Hike it Baby 30 Challenge? by Shanti Hodges for Hike it Baby

Bringing a community together

At the time, every day I felt like Hike it Baby was about to go under because I was staggering under the sudden growth overnight (we were in about 30 cities at that point). I had no money to run it as we needed about $500 or more a month to keep the lights on. That’s when Beth and I talked about whether this could also be a fundraiser. We decided to pose it as a Challenge to the community and see if anyone would sign up. If no one did, we would just hike it anyway for fun!

I made a downloadable sheet so people could log miles and created a Facebook group. We asked for $10 a person payable through PayPal and invited others to hike with us. I didn’t think anyone would join. But within a few weeks, 200 families signed up. The $2,000 we raised kept us going for a few more months and the Challenge was a blast.

On top of it, Beth made maps of the Wildwood trail and everyone in Portland could mark off sections they were doing. A group of about eight of us completed all of it (I ended up with 54 miles, which was amazing to me and I think Beth ended with about 70 miles). It was also the first time I ever completed anything I set out to do. I suck at dieting and I suck at running races – even completing online courses are a huge challenge for me.

What I found with the Challenge was how exciting and inspiring it was to see families in Alaska in November get out with headlamps in the dark and families in Texas hiking in shorts, while we slogged along in rain. And I loved seeing how people propped each other up on down days. If a family even got one mile in the month, everyone cheered for them. I looked at it like this: Every mile we each got was one more mile we wouldn’t have done if the Challenge wasn’t there.

What I found with the Challenge was how exciting and inspiring it was to see families in Alaska in November get out with headlamps in the dark and families in Texas hiking in shorts, while we slogged along in rain.

The Challenge is more than just 30 miles

At the end of the day, the Hike it Baby 30 Challenge isn’t about the miles; it’s about finding a way to create a healthy habit and receiving motivation from people around you. If you get 10 miles in this month, awesome. If you get 30, great. I’ve had months where I nailed 30-40 miles with no problem; and I’ve had months where I only got 13 miles in. I look at it like how my son looks at peeing in his pants. When it happens, he just looks up at me and says, “Oh no, I peed my pants. Next time I’ll pee in the potty. Sound like a plan?”

At the end of the day, the Hike it Baby 30 Challenge isn’t about the miles; it’s about finding a way to create a healthy habit and receiving motivation from people around you.

This is now, I guess, my 12th Challenge. Mason is almost 4, so carrying him is a bit intense and some days I’m up for it and other days I’m not. But this month, for me, I’m going to look at the miles Mason is walking to see how many miles his little feet will take him. So do what you can do. We’re all doing the best we can to raise our little kiddos to love the outdoors.

Learn more about the Hike it Baby 30 challenges here. We offer them four times a year (January, April, September and November). Join us, and invite a friend!

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