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Get Inspired: How Four Hikers Accomplished Their 2021 Hiking Goals

Posted by Anna Roth at Jan 12, 2022 02:19 PM |

You've picked your hike, checked the trip reports, and refreshed your trail smarts. But if you need a little more motivation getting out the door, read how these four hikers achieved their hiking goals last year.

If you set a goal to hike more this year, you're not alone. Hiking resolutions are popular, and with more than 3900 hikes, hundreds of thousands of trip reports to consult, and a vast library of tips and tricks to enhance your day outside, we've got everything you need to plan and prep for your hike.

We've even got you covered if you need inspiration for your own goal or motivation to actually get out of the house: four trip reporters who set a hiking goal in 2021 and how they made it happen. 

Explore as many Of Washington's State Parks as possible - Mary Hartman

A few years ago, Mary read a story about people who visit all of America’s national parks. She loved the idea but knew there were more accessible recreation options available to her. So she set a goal to visit all the city parks in Richland, where she lives. There are 60 parks near Richland and Mary visited all of them in 2017. Once she'd accomplished that, she got the idea to explore Washington's state parks. The pandemic made the goal a reality.

"Travel overseas or across the US was not feasible, my band was not gigging, I felt isolated…it was depressing. Thinking about what I couldn’t do was getting me down, so I started thinking about what I could do."

Mary on the Mount Pilchuck trail. Photo by Mary Hart.
Mary Hartman at Mount Pilchuck State Park during her state park adventure. Photo by Mary Hartman.

140 state parks was more than Mary could visit in a year, so she settled on visiting 50 to 60 — a goal she surpassed: her final count was 72 state parks. She relied on the Washington State parks website and recommendations from friends to find her destinations, and consulted before every trip. The research allowed her to discover places she'd never heard of before, including some new favorites.

"So many times during my odyssey, while hiking in old growth forests or in dry coulees or along the beach, I was struck by joy. I am so grateful that I did this!"

Go solo hiking for the First Time - Krista Sheehan

A stay at home mom of 9 years, Krista Sheehan has been homeschooling two of her kids through the pandemic. Last year, she set a goal to simply go hiking at all. And she's thrilled to have made it happen, saying it was one of the best things she could have done for herself and her family during such a challenging year.

Krista hired a sitter for a few days that afforded her about 6 hours at a time that she could get outside. Because it was also her first time hiking alone, she researched solo hiking as a woman and stuck to popular, close-by locations like Rattlesnake Ledge, Lake 22, Mount Si and Wallace Falls. Lake 22 and Wallace Falls were especially notable, each providing a distinctly Washington hiking experience.

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Krista on her hike to Wallace Falls. Photo courtesy Krista Sheehan.

"The day I hiked Wallace Falls the weather was gorgeous, there was a rainbow over the falls and as I sat by the river on the way back eating lunch a huge butterfly flew down & landed right in my lap! I also loved Lake 22 which I hiked in July. It was a foggy misty day & it made for a completely different kind of beautiful, loved that too so much!"

Hike with a friend Once a Month - Jackie Charb

In November 2020, Jackie was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Her condition progressed quickly; within a month she was almost unable to get out of bed without help. But then, Jackie went on a hike with her son and her best friend, Jordan. The hike helped Jackie's physical health and mental well-being enormously, so the friends decided to set a goal: hike together every month.

They scheduled out their hikes, taking Jackie's treatments into account and ensuring the hike they selected could be completed in a day. They also decided to meet early in the morning, waking around 3:00 a.m. to enjoy their time together and still return to their families and jobs.

Jackie (front) and Jordan at Heybrook Lookout during their year goal of hiking together once a month. Photo by Jackie Charb.

"Each of us would compile a list of hikes from the WTA website, throw a few out on a message thread, and decide. We would frequently check trip reports as well."

Jackie's favorite hike was Blue Lake, but a major highlight was Mount Pilchuck, which she says was one of her most challenging hikes. She was feeling pretty stiff that day, and had some difficulty making the final push to the summit.

"I paused with my pack thinking this was it, I'm not going to make it, and felt a bit defeated. Jordan had made it to the lookout so I decided that I was going to make it to the top and not give up. There were other hikers cheering me on and offering me words of encouragement while I climbed the rocks and ladder. When I reached the top I was full of tears, I thought I would never be able to actually make it. We all celebrated together, and it was quite the moment and memory. A huge heart-felt thank you to those that were up there that day!" 

Hike a Hundred Miles A Year - Chris Osborn

In 2009, Chris Osborn found a pair of brand new hiking boots while visiting his family over the holidays. He wasn't a big hiker, but the boots inspired a new goal: Hike 100 miles a year. The first couple of years were a struggle, but in 2011 he sailed past his goal, logging 169 trail miles.

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Chris enjoys hiking with his son (left) and wife (right) as he pursues his 100 miles a year goal each year. Photos courtesy Chris Osborn.

Since then, he's hiked 100 miles every year, aiming to complete 10-12 miles per month. In 2021, he added an additional goal of 52 WTA work parties or hikes. This ensures he gets out at least once a week, and the miles hiked on the work parties count towards his annual 100-miles-a-year goal.

Having a weekly hiking schedule helps maintain Chris's rhythm of getting outside, and on trail, he practices photography. This, as well as hiking with family and friends helps motivate Chris to achieve his goal year over year.

"My family has joined me on many of my hikes and that has led to other outdoor family traditions. I would like to see that continue."

Your turn: What's your 2022 Hiking Goal?

Feeling inspired? Here's one more goal to keep you moving this year from one of WTA's own former staffers, Teddy Wingo: 52 hikes in 52 weeks. Despite not being big on New Year's resolutions, Teddy knew he needed to do something proactive to improve his mental and physical health after a challenging 2021. His first thought was that he needed to be outside more often.

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Teddy Wingo is embarking on a hiking goal for 2022 - 52 hikes in 52 weeks. What's your goal? Photo courtesy Teddy Wingo.

"I grew up in Washington and the more I've explored it the more I believe there are few places as beautiful as the state we call home. Our trails bring me so much joy. I know that getting out once a week isn't going to be easy but I also know when I reflect on this journey on New Years Day 2023 I am going to be proud of myself, proud of this accomplishment, and excited by not only all that I saw, but how much more there still is to see across the state."

He's generously pairing research for the hiking guide with his own personal goal. Look for his name on some hiking guide entries later this year. You can track his progress at @52_in_52_wa on Instagram. He's already got two hikes under his boots.