52 Hike Challenge // Weeks 1-10

Living in the middle of downtown Minneapolis can make it difficult to get outside and be in nature. Although there were quite a few factors that played into my decision to get involved in the 52 Hike Challenge community, this was my biggest reason. I’ve been struggling with living in a small apartment in the city but loving the outdoors and wide open spaces. The #52HikeChallenge presented itself at a rather perfect time (just in time for spring!) and I jumped on the opportunity to find more ways to get outdoors. 

The Hikes

Week 1: Quarry Hill Nature Center; Rochester, MN

Week 2: Superior Hiking Trail, Jay Cooke State Park; Duluth, MN

Week 3: Loring Park; Minneapolis, MN

Week 4: U.S. Bank Stadium, Downtown Minneapolis, MN

Week 5: Mayowood/Rochester Trail System; Rochester, MN

Week 6: Elliot Park; Minneapolis, MN

Week 7: Notch Trail; Badlands National Park, SD

Week 8: Window/Door Trail; Badlands National Park, SD

Week 9: Sylvan Lake Loop; Custer State Park; SD

Week 10: Black Elk Peak; Custer State Park; SD

Reflections

Favorite trips:

Jay Cooke State Park // Superior Hiking Trail. It will always be a dream of mine to do the whole Superior Hiking Trail, which runs 310 miles along the North Shore of Minnesota. We only walked a short part of it near Jay Cooke, but the water was rushing and it was a perfect day for our dog Nordy’s first hike!

Badlands National Park // Notch Trail. We did a few different trails in Badlands NP but this one was top-Notch. 🙂 It seems like a simple 1.3 mile loop, but it’s definitely a little tricky. Part of the hike involves climbing a rather long ladder.. and then climbing back down, which was quite terrifying. Even so, the views at the top of this canyon were worth the fear.

Custer State Park // Black Elk Peak. This was definitely one of the hardest hikes I’ve done, since Black Elk Peak is famed as the highest point between the Rockies and the Pyrenees Mountains – 7,242 ft. It was a moderate 7-mile loop in rather hot weather. This hike definitely reminded me how much I miss the mountains!

I was never much of a walker before this. Strength training was more my style, but walking often bored me. When my husband wanted to take us on a walk over a mile, I complained that I didn’t have the right shoes or my back hurt. Now, I feel a stronger connection to walking – not just once a week on my hike, but throughout the workday and the week. Our dog Nordy and I have gotten up early to walk around a nearby park a few times and it sets my day up just right.

Speaking of Nordy, I’ve discovered she LOVES hikes. She’s never been a great walker in the city because she’s convinced the noise from highways and buses are going to kill her. Being around a million new smells and away from loud highways is just what she needed to be the perfect hiking companion.

Excited to continue discovering all the benefits of being outdoors and walking more. 🙂

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