The 52 Hike Challenge is a global movement empowering individuals to take a personal journey. Participants discover the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional benefits gained through hiking once a week for an entire year. Every year, tens of thousands of people from around the world take the challenge to change their lives in a positive way, one step at a time.
I’m Karla, founder of the 52 Hike Challenge. And in 2012, my world was turned upside down when I was faced with divorce. My life as I knew it was over. Fast forward through a very painful year of introspection and work, and I met a man who inspired me to get outdoors and hike. In 2014, I set a New Years resolution to hike once a week for a year. Little did I know how impactful that goal would be in my life, and that the 52 Hike Challenge would touch the lives of tens of thousands of individuals.
While on the journey, I was able to heal a lot of emotional pain on the trails. I tapped into my inner negative dialogue and was able to end ruminating thoughts, one step at a time. I was more present with myself, my emotions, and I found my inner power. This is the key – on every single hike you are required to pay attention and be in the moment to navigate the terrain, which distracts you from unhealthy thoughts. Plus, the grandeur of nature makes you realize how small our problems really are. With each hike I got stronger, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally!
According to mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” This is the beauty of hiking; you have to be present and in the moment or you may trip and fall. When I get outdoors, I become one with nature. I am immersed in her sounds and aware of each step I take. My mind stops racing, I am surrounded by beauty, which makes me grateful, and then the most beautiful insights come to me. By going outdoors on a weekly basis, or 52 times a year, I am able to stay mindful and deal with life’s stresses in a healthy way.
We all deserve to have more peace in our lives, and I truly believe nature and hiking can bring that to us.
Here are my favourite ways to practice mindfulness on the trails:
So, next time you’re feeling stressed or just need to get back in touch with yourself, pack your backpack and head for the trails. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it. Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!