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Hiking in January – Brrr!

On January 1st 2017, I started this blog, as a place to write about my outdoor adventures, learning experiences, failures and encourage others to get outside at any skill level.

In 2017, I also challenged myself to ask, before starting or continuing various activities, “Does this make me feel strong? Or will this build strength?” I did not ask, does this make me feel alive, scared, happy, pretty, safe, make other people happy or …will this be easy? 2017 was focused on developing spiritual, physical and emotional strength and Wandering Pine is one of the fun ways I like to express that with y’all.  Change isn’t always easy, and some of it was downright hard. In the end, I am so thankful for this year and it was all totally worth it!

We should eat pie on every hike.

Combining weekly hiking with a two hour long bike commute provided a purposeful chunk of time (4-6 times a week) to center my thoughts on what’s important, pray, make time for new and old friends and also gave my mind some much needed rest. I’m also in the best shape I’ve ever been!

Once a Pine, always a Pine.  

The year brought new accomplishments like becoming a first time bike commuter (20 miles baby!), my first backpacking solo, taking our Boy Scout Troop to Glacier National Park, completing a triathlon and making the decision to thru hike the Superior Hiking Trail in 2018. I also got my 100 mile patch for the Minnesota Hiking Club.

Being outdoors with a sense of purpose allowed me to believe all sorts of things I had not really considered myself qualified for in the past.   It helped build the mental, physical and spiritual strength I was seeking. As a busy working Mom, carving out time for friends and myself has not always been easy.  So I am also very thankful for my family, who always support me (and also think I’m a little crazy).

IMG_4538Other new experiences this year:

  • Climbing a mountain at Glacier National Park and Climbing a much smaller (but more significant) mountain in MN as hike #52.
  • Seeing BEAR, Bison and close to 75 bald eagles (not all on the same day).
  • Sleeping in a hostel for the first time, and trying 3 new ultralight sleep shelters.
  • Reducing my pack weight by 10 lbs but gaining 7 lbs of muscle (I hope).
  • Visiting 6 different states, 6 State Parks and one National Park.
  • The bittersweet feelings of my first backpacking solo and last Boy Scout camp with my oldest.

Last year, I set out to hike 125 miles in State Parks, and also hike 100 miles in National Parks to celebrate their milestone birthdays, here’s the 2016 review.

3 new patches this year:   SHT, 52 hike and 100 mi Hiking Club

Ok….drum roll….here are the 52 hikes! My two rules were that it should be a minimum of 3 miles long and mostly on dirt (or ice/snow). I stayed pretty close to that but had shorter or longer hikes depending on the amount of time or weather on that day. * Indicates MN Hiking Club Trail

  1. French Park – 3mi
  2. Luminary Loppet – 4
  3. French Park – 3.5
  4. Sakatah State Park* – 2.5
  5. Artist Point, Grand Marais – 1
  6. Judge Magney State Park* – 2.5
  7. Cascade River State Park* – 2.5
  8. Westwood Nature Center – 2.5
  9. French Park – 3.5
  10. French Park – 3.5
  11. Iron Horse Park – 3.2
  12. Elm Creek Reserve – 5.2
  13. French Park – 2.75
  14. Minnehaha Falls – 3
  15. Garden of the Gods, CO – 2
  16. Stearns Scout Camp – 6.5
  17. Twin Lake – 4
  18. Quaking Bog – 5
  19. Quaking Bog – 5
  20. Kinnickinnic State Park – 4
  21. Willow River – 4
  22. Elm Creek Reserve- 4.5
  23. French Park – 5
  24. Minneopa State Park* – 6.5
  25. Flandrau State Park*- 2.7
  26. William O’Brien State Park*-2
  27. Minnehaha Falls – 7
  28. Scenic Point, Glacier National Park – 8
  29. Logan Pass/Hidden Lake, GNP-8
  30. Apgar, GNP– 2
  31. Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake, GNP -7
  32. Paradise Point, GNP – 2
  33. Grinnell Lake, GNP– 9.5
  34. St Mary/Virginia Falls, GNP – 4
  35. Highline Trail, GNP– 2
  36. Myre Big Island State Park*-8
  37. Fish Lake-1
  38. Westwood Hills Nature Center – 5
  39. Hyland Park-5
  40. Lake Phalen-3
  41. Afton State Park*-6.5
  42. Interstate Park*-10
  43. Central Park, NYC-5
  44. Afton State Park – Solo*– 5
  45. Local Cemetery-3 (no time to hit an official trail this week)
  46. Local Cemetery-3 (this week either…nice and quiet)
  47. Lebanon Hills – 8.2
  48. Mac Park-4
  49. French Park – 6
  50. Theo Wirth Bike & Hike -6/22
  51. Westwood Hills Nature Center – 3
  52. Eagle Mountain, BWCA– 8
Hike #52 – Eagle Mountain

The 52 Hike challenge was so great, I’m doing it again in 2018 as my training plan for the 310 mile Superior hiking Trail Thru hike.

Thank you for reading and joining me in the adventure this year.   It’s been such a great way to share new things and preserve their memories.

So CHEERS!  Here’s to a brand spankin’ new year full of possibilities and adventures!   Hope you all get out there and do something that challenges you, strengthens you, gives you a sense of purpose and connects you with something greater than yourself.   Enjoy!


Happy (NEW) Trails!



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