Last week, I promised a reflective wrap-up to our #30hikesin30days. This reflection has proved to be harder than I initially assumed. This was not due to a lack of takeaways received from our endeavours — quite the opposite. I have had so many thoughts swirling around in my mind that it has been difficult to decide how to put them into a concise post. To keep it simple, I have used key headings, point form, and links to further reading.
Where did the idea for #30hikes originate?
Quite simply, we were looking for a replacement Camino. Richard and I brainstormed a variety of different versions before deciding upon this one.
Why a 30-Day Challenge?
Our last two Caminos were 30 days each. This length seemed both significant and doable. There’s been much written about 30-day challenges. Here are some of the touted benefits. After undertaking this venture, I completely believe!
• a guide to help achieve goal(s)
• one-foot-in-front-of-the-other approach
• comfort zone destroyer
• help shake up daily routine
• potential cannot be realized without trying new things
Further Reading: Forbes Verywellmind Inc. Men’s Journal
This question is easy. Looking for a Camino walking replacement was our number one goal behind this challenge. We live on Vancouver Island where there are over 235 official hiking trails equaling more than 1,981.5 km. (Source) That meant that we could easily take on a different hike each time.
Below are some benefits of regular walking/hiking cited by researchers.
• Strengthen the heart
• Lower blood pressure
• Improve sleep
• Increase energy level
• Decrease mental decline
• Lower Alzheimer’s risk
• Lose weight
• Strengthen muscles
• Reduce inflammation (anti-inflammatory terpenes found in forest air)
• Lighten your mood
Further Reading: Arthritis.org Healthy Families BC WalkBC Forest Bathing
Why Blog Daily?
I love to hike, and I love to write. My favourite form of writing is quick, short, reflective entries. So hiking and blogging made perfect sense for me. It also nudged me to absorb more details on my walks (so I could better describe them) and to remain accountable. The support and encouragement that we received from others added fun and further motivation to this challenge. You can read more about the critical importance of social support and overall health here.
What We Gained
For this category, my first question is, ‘how much time do you have?’ Our gains from this challenge were numerous, and we are still realizing more of the takeaways as time passes. Here are a few:
• Daily, quality, uninterrupted time together (it’s tough to read phone messages or scroll through tv channels while hiking)
• Focus on the positive (what we can do) as opposed to the negative (what we are missing out on during COVID)
• Ongoing gratitude for the stunning island on which we live
• Strengthen our knowledge of local history
• Reminder of all of those who made these hiking trails and conservation areas possible
• Increase of strengths and reduction of fears (throughout our walks our leg muscles definitely strengthened, and my fear of heights actually reduced…or at least became more manageable)
• Personal gratification with our accomplishments
What We Lost
Other than weight, we lost almost nothing. Richard continued his golf, and I retained my social activities and regular Zoom calls. Laurie Graves (Notes from the Hinterland) asked, “Did you have to push yourself to go on any of the hikes?” Surprisingly, for both Richard and me, the honest answer is ‘no.’ There were days when we were more tired, but there was never a time when either of us wished we hadn’t begun this challenge. There also wasn’t a hike that didn’t seem to be the perfect location for that particular day.
* I did say “almost nothing” because there was one naysayer–someone who made it a point to let me know that I was crazy to undertake this entire challenge (and to drag innocent Richard along). My response, 1) You can’t win them all 2) Innocent Richard is the one who started this whole thing (and was the one to suggest we continue). But still, ouch!
Would We Do It Again?
The day after this challenge ended, I had a small fantasy of lying around and eating chocolates. When I asked Richard what he wanted to do, he replied, “Hike Horne Lake…and throw in Spider Lake as well.” So, that’s what we did on Day 31. We then continued hiking on Days 32 – 36 (which is today). I did discontinue the blogging part (insert a deep sigh of relief here). But I have posted a daily pic on Instagram. Our only self-imposed requirement has been that we continue to use a different hiking trail each time.
How long will it last before we break our daily chain, or run out of local hikes? I have no idea. Regardless of whether our hiking streak ends tomorrow or lasts for another 30-days (God forbid!), I am incredibly thankful that we took this on. More than words can express, I also appreciate all of your support and encouraging comments. You’ve made a genuine difference.
Here are the hikes that we have done on Days 31 – 36. Click on the photos for more details.
If interested, you can review our past hikes or follow our upcoming ones on Instagram.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” (Fred DeVito)