Well, it finally happened! I finished the 52 Hike Challenge!! And if you would have asked me a year ago where I would finish the challenge, I probably would have said Mt. Baldy, San Jacinto, maybe even Mt. Wilson, but definitely not Kentucky. Let’s take a look back at all of the hikes I’ve completed this year…
I first started off in sunny Malibu, California, in late August. I had just finished my summer break leading into senior year of college and was ready to get back to school. That summer I had worked for a local company in Santa Clarita, went to University of Oregon for an internship, and visited Mexico to see my family. I was pretty out of shape so I remember struggling but it’s always worth it for Malibu!
Hike #10 was in good ol’ Hollywood with Cal Lu Hikes. I miss this club all the time, I’m so sad we waited until our senior year to start the club, but I am so happy we did! The hikes with this club allowed me to bond with so many students on campus and helped me decide what Masters program to study. I love being around students and helping them find their strengths and accomplish their goals. This club allowed me to teach others about themselves and the mountains, but the students I met also taught me many lessons I’ll keep with me forever.
Hike #18 was the Baldy Bowl. I swear I still have flashbacks from how scary this hike was! I already wrote a whole blog about this hike but I just had to give a shout out to this hike since it kicked my ass but made me a stronger hiker, physically and mentally. This was also the last time I saw Sam at Mt. Baldy.
Hike #35 was Mount Lukens in beautiful Pasadena. This hike was really pretty, although we did have to cross some pretty sketch water, and we didn’t even make it to the top. But this was the last hike I did before I graduated. I was feeling a lot of mixed emotions and it gives me comfort to know I always have the trails to help me think about life.
Hike #40 was Tom’s Thumb in Scottsdale, Arizona. Chloe and I had to get up at the crack of dawn just to avoid the heat and it was still blazing hot at 7am. I love going on hikes in different places! It’s so nice to see somewhere else and check out what other states have to offer.
Of course I have to mention hike #47, the famous Mt. Whitney! This hikekicked my ass and even though we didn’t make it to the top because of all the snow, I still feel accomplished getting as far as we did. I can’t wait to summit Mt. Whitney one day.
And finally hike #52… Red River Gorge in Slade, Kentucky. This hike was absolutely gorgeous! The weather was a little muggy, but the incline was great! It felt just like a California hike. I’m so happy I was able to visit this gem and experience a great Kentucky hike. I hiked to Natural Bridge, Lovers Leap, and Gray’s Arch. All amazing sights, so many green trees and all with my girl Hayley. It was a perfect place to end this challenge.
I am so thankful for this challenge and all of the people I have met through it. Hiking has become a part of my life in a way that sometimes I feel like people don’t understand. But, when I do find those people who get it, I just can’t shut up about all the hikes I’ve done. It’s weird to think about not going on a hike every weekend for this challenge but I can’t imagine not spending my free time hiking. So of course I will continue hiking as much as I can in my new home and other places I visit. Happy hiking!
written by @danny3402