Hiking Is For Everyone!
By Jaylee Hurst, Girls Who Hike Iowa Ambassador
Hiking can be an intimidating hobby for some that are not experienced, but I am here to assure you that no one should be excluded to reap the benefits of a few hours in the fresh air. I grew up in Utah with a mother that was very adamant about teaching my brothers and I to have a healthy respect for nature. She made sure we were exposed even before we were walking by packing us on her or my fathers back through the various trails available. She did this on her own much of the time, and mind you there were three of us all within 4 years of age. She was heavily outnumbered all of the time, and still managed to keep us alive somehow. Granted she was not taking us on extremely daunting trails, but that is the wonderful thing about hiking! You can choose trails that fit your skill level, and you can meander as slowly or as quickly as you'd like. It truly is for all ages, body types, and fitness levels.
You do not have to be in impeccable physical shape to hit the trails around your areas, nor do you have to have the top of the line equipment. Granted when you start exploring some of the more difficult trails, or begin adventuring into trails that require you to do some camping as well you will need to do some research. However being involved in groups such as Girls Who Hike can help take the edge off because you can learn from each other! Trying to learn the “in’s and out’s” of anything new can be overwhelming to anyone, but having a space where you can go to speak freely and ask questions without fear is priceless.
I personally had a few years where I truly struggled with my weight, and it was awful for me personally. I felt I could not participate in the activities I once enjoyed so much, because I wasn’t in a certain weight category. After a couple years I looked at how small my world had become and I was aching to broaden it again. I became motivated and started walking again, then I found myself slowly venturing out to local trails that were fit to my current fitness levels. Soon after that I was planning vacations around trails that I wanted to experience. I encourage everyone to get out there, and take a break from the hustle and bustle. Take a moment to just sit, breathe, and appreciate the beautiful moments this life has to offer; we all deserve that.