Winner Profile-Annie Fortunato (1)We thought it would be fun to profile some of our lucky winners we have had around the country in our Hike it Baby branches! Annie and her son Neko got entered to win our Lead-a-Hike contest in October by leading fun hikes in Ann Arbor, Michigan! She was the lucky winner of a pair of Footbalance Footbeds! These footbeds are a great way to keep your feet happy during those long hikes! Congratulations Annie and Neko and thank you for leading hikes!

Tell us about your favorite hike in the world

Our annual trip to northern Michigan always involves a trip to Iargo Springs. Over 330 stairs descend to one of the most magical places – of course, then you have to climb back up! It was an important place for the Native Americans and you can feel the positive energy. I have gone to Iargo Springs at least once a year since I was 3 years old and my dad had gone there every year since he was a young child, and now I get to share it with my son. 3 generations of hiking this area!

Favorite Hike it Baby moment so far?

On our 30-in-30 Grand Finale Hike, we had done a 5.35 mile one, which was our longest so far.I had Neko on my back at one point and I really didn’t think I was going to be able to climb this extremely steep hill. Breathing hard, Neko says to me, “It’s OK, mommy, you can do it. You’re a good hiker.” This was an inspirational moment for me!

What is the best advice for a new hiking family?

Winner Profile-Annie Fortunato (2)Just get out there! Don’t be afraid. Smile. Laugh. Have fun together!

Got a favorite trail trick?

Snacks. Also, for slower toddlers, races always get their attention and get them motivated!

What kind of terrain do you like best?

I like terrain that changes. Neko can get really bored if the trail is stagnant. Elevation changes in the woods are my favorite.

How stoked are you about your win!? How will you use it?

I am super stoked for the footbeds! I hope I can use them in my hiking boots to make them extra comfy!

What dream outdoors trip do you want to do?

Hiking, kayaking and camping along the Na Pali cost of Kauai!

Why is it important to you to have your kiddo out in nature?

I grew up playing outdoors and in this day-and-age, kids just aren’t doing that. I want him to appreciate what Mother Nature has to offer because without the next generation having a love for nature, who knows what could happen to our natural world. Also, these small hikes while he is young is a great way to build up to longer hikes that we have planned when he is older!

Winner Profile-Annie Fortunato (3)

Winner Profile-Annie Fortunato (4)

Thank You to FootBalance for sponsoring our Lead-a-Hike Contest! Check them out here ! Happy Hiking!

Winner Profile-Annie Fortunato (5)

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