A New Year & the #Hikers365Challenge
#Hikers365Challenge. Happy New Year! I think the question begs to be asked, will it really be a year of new and good, or a repeat of not-so-good that enveloped the past two years? Never give up hope, but oy vey, Omicron. What’s next?
A New Year
We ended 2021 cautiously (dare we dream) giving thought to returning to Portugal in early spring 2022. For a few weeks Portugal was the leading European country in successful population vaccination. Triple vaxxed, (who knew that word would become part of our vernacular) we dared to think maybe we could pull it off; spend a few weeks in Porto, Portugal. But then, just like that, the pendulum swung the other way and Omicron was the new word of the day.
A Multitude of Opinions
Our travel writers/bloggers community has definitely shrunk in size. Understandably so, but a bit sad just the same. There are a multitude of opinions when it comes to travel these days. While some feel once vaccinated they’re good to go, others are not so sure. Others have taken on a different mode of travel, while still others feel any travel at all in this time of Covid prolongs the stabilization of the pandemic. Don’t even get me started on the whole politicalization of the pandemic. Many of our travel writer colleagues have stopped traveling and/or writing, while others are writing/publishing less often. We fall in to the second category. We have a grandson still too young to be vaccinated, so his safety is first and foremost.
Exploring the Backroads
We have spent the past two years exploring our surrounding backyard so-to-speak. It’s actually been fun and educational to explore the backroads of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. It’s one of the perks of exploring by car, getting to go wherever we feel like going at any given moment. We gave ourselves a working perimeter of 100 miles. It’s far enough to feel as if we are truly getting away, but not so far that we can’t easily return home the same day. And, it allowed us to travel safely in this time of Covid, if not far and wide.
With all of that being said, we felt the need to take on something different. We love our backroad travels, but we want to explore with a new purpose. That’s when I came across a post on Facebook, #hikers365challenge. If you’ve been with us for a few years you know we are avid walkers/hikers so any added
excuse inspiration to go outside and take a hike works for us.
The #hikers365challenge is to walk 365 miles in 365 days, but not to think of it as a mile per day challenge. Also, while paved walking is certainly a good thing, the greater challenge is to walk/hike with dirt under your feet. Get outside and commune with mother nature. The challenge includes a log sheet, or you can use an app, and if the challenge is completed in 365 days, a tree will be planted to acknowledge the achievement. The organizers ask participants to share their challenge miles stats and photos on social media. A small donation is required to join the challenge. Well-worth a few dollars for the inspiration and a planted tree.
The First Few Hikes
It was our intention to begin our #hikers365challenge with the the start of the new year. What better way to spend New Year’s Day we thought? As it happened, December 14 (2021) was a beautiful day, unseasonably warm, and a lovely day to take a hike. We were going anyway, so why not jump start the challenge? At the time of this post, we’ve taken several hikes and logged about 30+ miles. Truth be told though we’ve walked through our neighborhood multiple times, but I tend not to count those miles. Ask me again, in about 300 days, if I’m still not counting them. wink-wink. Here’s a look at a few of our first hikes. We’re fortunate in that we are surrounded by hiking trails within an easy drive.
Sligo Creek Watershed
Sligo Creek Trail is a mostly asphalt-paved trail which runs alongside Sligo creek for 10 – 15 miles depending on which site you reference. We walked four miles following the creek. The trail is also part of the National Recreation Trail System.
One of our nearby and favorite trails, we’ve logged 10+ challenge miles on the Anacostia Watershed Trail. It’s a beautiful wooded trail. We can actually access the trail with just a short walk from our front door, or we can drive to other sections.
Bethesda Trolley Trail
The Bethesda Trolley Trail is, you guessed it, a trail in Bethesda, Maryland. Although it’s an asphalt-paved trail it is unique in that the trail travels through neighborhoods, wooded areas and it follows along the perimeter of the National Institute of Health.
Anacostia Northwest Branch Trail
The northwest branch is approximately an eight mile stretch of the Anacostia Tributary System. An out and back trail, it’s a trail we often hike because it’s a peaceful trail with no hills to climb. And, because it follows the slow drifting river.
Have you found us on Youtube? We’ve had a channel for years but haven’t given it the time we should have. My bad. So, along with our #hikers365challenge I’ve taken on another challenge of updating our channel and teaching myself a few of the finer skills of video editing. So, don’t be shy, click that subscribe button and walk/travel along with us.
As we cautiously step in to a new year, another challenging year, what challenge are you willing and able to take on? I’m not talking about new year’s resolutions, bah. I’m talking about doing something just for you, and/or with someone you love best. We all need some inspiration, a positive in our lives. Something, anything, but worrying about this relentless pandemic. It’s never been more important to go outside and breathe in the fresh air; so why not take a walk? And, while you’re out there communing with mother nature, think about all the things you’ve always thought about doing and make it happen. Make 2022 the year of the challenge. Go for it!