I’ve mentioned this a time or two before on social media, even did a blog post about it some time back, but we hit a milestone so I wanted to revisit the topic. Back in late 2015, my wife and I decided, kind of on a lark to be honest, that we would commit to going on at least one hike per week for all of 2016. We weren’t in training for anything. We just both enjoy hiking and we were of putting things off, due to kids, jobs, and just basic adulting. You know how it goes. Work, bills, responsibilities in general tend to build up and prevent us from doing the stuff we truly want to do.
Honestly, it was my wife’s idea. She was the one who said, “Enough’s enough” and decided we’d do this hiking thing. The focus has never been on speed nor distance. Instead, it has always just been about getting fresh air and exercise while spending quality time together. The shortest hike we’ve done was less than a mile – bad weather, very cold and rainy and just wanted to get it done. The longest was about 28 miles. That one took place in October 2016 and we’d planned on doing it again this year but life just got in the way and we weren’t able to get it done. We may still find a different hike of comparable length to do yet this fall or winter.
One thing we learned was just how many parks, preserves, and other nature areas there are just in our county, let alone the surrounding ones. I mean, when we started out, we figured we’d end up hitting most places several times throughout the year, just for a lack of options. As it turned out, we managed to find a new place to go almost every week the first year. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. There were a few state forests or state parks that had multiple trails. So, we might have visited Kettle Moraine State Park several times but each time we took a different trail.
I’ll tell you something. For my wife and I, it doesn’t matter how crappy of a day we’re having, within 15 minutes or so of hitting the trail, we begin to feel better. It is as though a weight gets lifted. A lot of the stress (and believe me, we have our lion’s share of stress) melts away. That doesn’t last forever, of course. Much of it comes back later. But, at least for the time we’re out and about, we feel better.
We both take photos along the way, often just using our phones though occasionally my wife will bring one of our actual cameras. She typically takes far more photos than I, at about a 20:1 ratio in many cases.
We’ve hiked all sorts of terrain, from forests to prairies, lake shores to rocky cliffs. Some of my favorite hikes were along or near Lake Michigan. Honestly, I think I could sit and listen to the waves for hours. I also really liked Devil’s Lake State Park, though hiking up the cliffs was a lot of work. The views, though, are spectacular.
This week marks 100 weeks in a row that we’ve gone hiking. We’re pretty damn proud of that. And, we’re not stopping yet. We’ll keep going, not out of any sense of obligation but just because we truly enjoy it.