Happy National Take a Hike Day!
Many outdoors pursuits are highlighted throughout the year with organized events on specific dates. Hiking is definitely one of those pursuits that receives a good dose of attention annually via planned outings. Today is the seventeenth day of November – National Take A Hike Day. According to the American Hiking Society, this date is pegged annually for the highlighted hiking day. Not that I need a reason to get out on the trail, as with many avid trail fans, but I do appreciate the days of observing our outdoors adventures for more than the activity itself.
Hiking with only one or two others is my fave, even hiking solo offers benefits. But highlighted days such as this National Take A Hike Day, do an efficient job at bringing like-minded people together to talk hiking and backpacking – trail stories, upcoming adventures, gear, and issues protecting trails and the access rights to them. During my various experiences with assorted pursuits such as fishing, hunting, camping, and travel, the camaraderie among hikers and backpackers is as solid as any. I love stories of adventure and the trail provides an abundance of that.
Highlighted days also bring awareness to trail conditions and concerns. With the growing interest in hiking, trails are carrying a heavier load now. With doing so, the need for increased trail maintenance has also grown as well as new trail construction. Hundreds of trail clubs across the country are eager to gain new volunteers to assist with the chores of keeping up the trails. I recently interviewed a group of trail volunteers that enjoy trail work as much as, if not more so, hiking the trail. (Watch the video – The Buckeye Trail – Behind the Scenes - interview on the Adventures Found, YouTube channel.)
Planned event hikes are available each month in every state, which provides opportunities to explore new places and additional adventures. For example, Ohio’s Burr Oak State Park is holding a November hike tomorrow guided by a naturalist. Explore three miles of the park in autumn mode with an expert revealing facts about the forest that you may not know. And, view the lake for fishing prospects and backpacking campsites while you’re there. In Kentucky, the Big Bone Lick State Historic Site is offering a four-mile trek through the woods for exploration and a history lesson. Enjoy kayaking, geocaching, and bird watching? Then explore opportunities for those activities while in the area hiking a new trail.
One of the best benefits of a planned event hike is the opportunity to introduce a newbie to the sport of hiking or backpacking – especially young people. I believe the energy and enthusiasm is high during these events which can be contagious. Providing the opportunity for a kid to experience the thrills of the trail and the satisfaction of overcoming challenges to complete the hike, is always a win-win for all involved.
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