Hey, my name is Veronica Lopez and welcome to my article on the 52 Hike Challenge! I was born and raised in Southern California. I’m Mexican American and I never had the chance to go on road trips or camping, let alone hiking, when I was young. I hiked once in a while off and on a couple of years ago, but it was only until recently that I really got into it.
I got inspired to go on adventures because of other influencers on TikTok. Before installing TikTok, I didn’t realize there were so many beautiful places near me. Ever since then, I have been going on hikes and exploring every weekend. My friend JB then introduced me to the 52 Hike Challenge.
We met on TikTok and have been hiking ever since. We decided to start the challenge at the beginning of this year and it was the best decision ever! The 52 Hike Challenge is for you to go hike once a week for a year. It helps you in different aspects like gaining mental health, staying active, exploring nature and meeting people who enjoy doing the same things.
I believe the 52 Hike Challenge has gained momentum and popularity over the years because of social media. During the pandemic, I feel like the challenge became even more popular because everything was closed and people wanted to get outside and explore more. This challenge is a great way to get into hiking as it offers you a massive sense of accomplishment.
Hiking 43 out of the 52 Hike Challenge
I try to hike every weekend for the 52 Hike Challenge, but I took some breaks during the summer because it was getting too hot. Other than that, I try to stay consistent with the challenge since I love being outdoors and exploring any chance I get. The first hike I completed was on January 1st at the Mishe Mokwa to Tri-Peaks and Sandstone Peak near Malibu.
So far I have completed 43 hikes, so I still have nine left to tick off my list. I plan on finishing them all before the year is over (fingers crossed). I’m excited to finish the challenge and I know I will feel really accomplished once I do finish it. Completing this challenge shows me how strong I am mentally and physically, and that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
For example, hike 16 was Rattlesnake Peak Trail near Azusa. This hike was challenging both physically and mentally. It was my first long hike being 8.3 miles and the most elevation gain I have ever done at over 4,000 feet.
When we reached the top I felt like I had achieved something big. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be able to do something like that. It’s always rewarding when you finish a challenging hike.
Favorite Hike So Far: Big Pine Lakes Trail
My favorite hike so far has been Big Pine Lakes. My friends and I hiked up to the second lake and the views were not disappointing! I had that hike on my list since last year and was so stoked to finally go there and take a dip in the glacier water. The color of the lake looked like a Gatorade – it was breathtaking! I hope to go back again and camp when it gets warmer.
Biggest Personal Challenge Along the Way
My biggest challenge has been wanting to give up when it has gotten overwhelming. At the end of the day, I try to push myself to continue doing things I love. Accomplishing a hike is rewarding and it builds confidence. It keeps me going and helps me escape reality. Hiking has helped my mental health a lot and I feel like I am happier now than I have ever been!
Best Memory on the 52 Hike Challenge
My favorite memory so far from all of the hiking experiences on the 52 Hike Challenge has been being able to see myself grow during the process. From going on easy hikes to going on challenging hikes, I have grown a lot.
For example, the time when I hiked up Mount Baldy with backpacking gear just for training. That was one of my highlights because I had a decent amount of weight and still made it to the top. I felt accomplished and strong. The old me would have never thought I could do something like that. So it makes me happy when I prove to myself how strong I truly am.
Tips for Taking on the 52 Hike Challenge
Tips I have for people looking to do the challenge would be to have the proper gear. Make sure you have hiking shoes, hiking poles, a water pack and a good backpack. Plan ahead by saving hikes on AllTrails. That way you have more choices for your challenge. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun and cherish the views! This challenge will be the experience of a lifetime.