Falling in love with walking and hiking this past year turned out to be a blessing in so many ways. It not only gave me a regular outlet for exercise and stress relief, it had other benefits as well:
- time spent with old friends and a chance to meet new friends
- educational explorations of my local area
- greater awareness and appreciation of seasonal changes
- new scenery to love and photograph
- inexpensive escape from everyday life and worries
- improved strength and endurance
- greater confidence in my abilities as a solo explorer
- so much fun!
My hiking goals for 2016 struck me as overly ambitious when I first set them. Complete a hiking spree at Summit Metro Parks AND finish hiking the Towpath within the CVNP AND hike an entire rail trail? No way! But not only did I complete all those goals, I even found time to explore many more trails of varying degrees of difficulty. I am justifiably proud of myself, and I am ready to raise the bar.
So here are my goals for 2017:
1. Finish hiking the loop trails in the CVNP. I explored most of the shorter trails this fall, but there are several hikes left for me to conquer, mostly longer trails with a greater level of difficulty. I hope to build stamina and endurance as I pursue this goal.
2. Finish hiking the trails at Wooster Memorial Park. A handful of trails have been added in recent years, but most require hiking portions of other trails. This goal will definitely test my endurance.
3. Hike as many trails as possible in the State Parks and Nature Preserves in northeastern Ohio. My quadrant of the state boasts 19 state parks and 27 state nature preserves (4 without trails), so this goal alone will keep me traveling! I have started on this goal already but have barely scratched the surface, and I hope to learn more about Ohio history and geology as well as improve my identification skills for trees, wildflowers, and birds.
4. Finish hiking the trails in the Summit Metro Parks. I had so much fun exploring this park system with the Fall Hiking Spree, but there are still several trails as well as a few whole parks I have yet to discover. (I’m going to leave the Bike and Hike Trail off this goal; maybe another year I can try it.)
5. Finish hiking the trails in the Medina County Parks. This park system is new to me, but I love what I’ve found so far and look forward to discovering more.
6. Walk/hike 1500 miles over the year. I logged just over 750 miles since mid-April, when I started using a walk-tracking app, but I didn’t really start picking up mileage until September, when I upped my weekly goal to 20 miles and then 25 miles.Now that I’m in the habit, I should be able to log miles quickly in 2017.
7. Better self-care. I really need to stretch more during and after hiking, and I definitely need to take better care of my feet. So I have to remember to do the things that will keep me going strong on the trails.
I’ve compiled an incredibly ambitious list, but now that I’m addicted to hiking, I am truly excited about exploring so many different places. Keep your fingers crossed for me, cheer me on, let me know about some of your favorite hikes.
And hey, 2017? BRING IT.