52 Hike Challenge // Weeks 44-52

As I wrap up my year of hikes, I have nothing but good things to say about this challenge, especially as a twenty-something who was looking for a way to navigate life changes and stay balanced. It has challenged me immensely, but also helped me learn more about myself. 

THE HIKES

Week 44: Minnehaha Falls; Minneapolis, MN

Week 45: Biscayne National Park, FL

Week 46: Anhinga Trail; Everglades National Park, FL

Week 47: Mahogany Hammock Trail; Everglades National Park, FL

Week 48: Circle B Bar Reserve; Lakeland, FL

Week 49: Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail; Bloomington, MN

Week 50: Brookview Park; Golden Valley, MN

Week 51: Bde Maka Ska; Minneapolis, MN

Week 52: North and South River Trails; Afton State Park

REFLECTIONS

Anhiga Trail // Everglades National Park. A short and sweet hike in this national park, we loved this scenic hike in the Everglades. It was our first taste of the warm weather, the beautiful plant life and the crazy amount of wildlife.

Circle B Bar Reserve // Florida. While we were still in Florida, we stopped by this county park for a sweet (and scary) wildlife surprise. No joke – we probably saw 15 alligators along this trail. At the end of the one way, we took a break at the dock of a lake and watched them float by. This hike was also with both Nic and I’s parents, so it was fun to experience it with them!

North and South River Trails // Afton State Park. I had been trying to make it to Afton for months, so it was only fitting to go there for my last hike. After getting a 14-inch snowstorm the weekend before, we were more than pleased to do 3 1/2 miles on this 55 degree day!

52 HIKE CHALLENGE AT A GLANCE

I found 52 Hike Challenge as I was developing this blog, devoted to all of the outdoor activities that help me escape and relieve stress – plus, find places to explore in Minnesota. The challenge transformed into a habit for me. After a long day of work or a busy weekend, I knew I could count on my hike to help me center myself. I didn’t realize being out in nature and walking was so medicinal, and I loved finding new spots in Minnesota.

My biggest barrier was living in downtown Minneapolis, which also happens to be a frozen tundra (or the #BoldNorth, as we call it) six months out of the year. Location and weather were not on my side, and I had to get creative. While I marveled at other hikers’ photos of mountains and elevation climbs, I faced different challenges and Midwest views. A few of my hikes included snowshoes, while others I crammed multiple into a weekend that was actually above 30 degrees. I was also able to travel and hike in the Badlands and Black Hills, in Utah, Colorado, Florida and more. My hikes spanned 52 weeks, 7 states, 5 state parks and 3 national parks.

I hope you will also consider getting outdoors and hiking just once a week for a year! 52HikeChallenge.com has some great resources to help you get started. Check out all of my hikes and my blogs along the way or view all my hikes.

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