Reflections from the Halfway Point

On January 15th, our family began the 52 Hike Challenge-52 hikes in 52 weeks.  I wrote more about this goal way back at the beginning of 2017 when I was sharing about our goals for the year ahead.  One of our biggest goals was to use this to motivate us to get outdoors more-especially in all seasons. Just make it a priority.   And so far-that has happened.  We have completed 26 hikes in 26 weeks.  I made a comment to John lately that I think we have gone on more hikes in these past 26 weeks than we have in our lives together (which is 12 years).  Probably not the case but close.  We hope that we will hit 30 hikes by the end of July (and 30 nights in the Fancy Nancy).

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Our hiking group contains me, my husband John and our two daughters ages 5 and 2.  Occasionally our four year old golden retriever gets to come along if it is a local hike or she is traveling with us for the weekend.  We also have had some family and friends join us on a couple of hikes (see photos below). Because we have two young children we don’t hike near as many miles as I would like to do if I were on my own.  And we don’t do as challenging of hikes as I would like-which is okay because so far both of them are loving it!  Sometimes I wondered if our oldest was just doing it because I wanted her to but I truly believe she likes to hike alongside us.  This was confirmed ones night when we were talking about our most recent camping trip with a large group of friends.  We had gone camping with quite a few of her friends, she spent her days at the beach, playing with her friends, playing on the playground, rollerskating at the old school roller skating rink at the campground and had a blast.  She shared she enjoyed those things but commented that we didn’t go on any hikes.  I asked her what she thought about that and she shared she was disappointed-she missed going on a hike that weekend.  So despite the fact that she was thoroughly enjoying herself and filling her time with fun she still missed hiking.

Not every hike we have done has been rainbows and sunshine the whole time.  There are some hikes that are cut short because our girls are tired, cranky, and just not feeling it.  This past weekend on our 26th hike we did a little over a mile and our five year old was done.  I gave her the option to continue on or head back.  She chose to head back and I wasn’t going to push it.  The last thing I want this to be is time where I spend nagging on them to hurry up or keep moving or pushing them when they want to be done.  Of course there needs to be a little encouragement but I don’t want this to become a negative experience for them.

Evie on her 1st full hike on foot.


  • 26 Hikes
  • 26 Weeks
  • 47.75 Miles
  • 1555 minutes (approx) on the trail
  • Four States
    • Iowa-9
    • Minnesota-11
    • South Dakota-5
    • Oklahoma-1
  • 9 State Parks, 1 National Wildlife Refuge, 2 National Monuments, 1 National Recreation Area, 1 National Park
  • Longest Hike-4.11 miles-Hike #15 in Itasca State Park
  • Shortest Hike-1.13 miles-Hike #23 Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore National Monument
  • Evelyn’s longest hike (our two year old)-2 miles at Lake Maria State Park-Hike #25.  She just recently started wanted to hike on her own two feet instead of riding along in the carrier.

Thoughts on the Next 26 Weeks

I am not sure what is in store for us in the next 26 weeks.  I had hoped to do all 52 hikes as a whole family but with John’s busy season at work (and mine too I suppose since we work at the same company) coming up it means limited free time for him and for us together as a family.  September and October will be the months that will be the most challenging to hike together. I am hoping if we keep the hikes all local we might be able to include him.  But then part of me says it’s okay if it is just the three of us girls that get in all 52 hikes.  John has said that we can go ahead and hike without him if it means we reach the goal but I like the idea of us completing this as a family.


I know I wasn’t sure when we started if we would even come close to 52 hikes but as we reach the halfway mark I am even more motivated to accomplish this.  I know it will take some intentional planning and weekends spent hiking but I am determined now.  I see how much my girls are enjoying this and how John is enjoying all the family time.  When we have an open weekend it is easy to get caught up in the to-do list that comes with home ownership and everyday commitments  but it is important to set aside time to just enjoy each other and our time out on the trail allows us to do so.


I had hoped to post about each of our hikes but I fell so far behind and just haven’t caught up.  Maybe someday I will got back and write about each hike-I have kept details in a journal about our hikes and have taken quite a few pictures so we will see.  I did post an update back in March about our first two months doing the challenge.  If you want to follow along on our challenge I post regularly over on Instagram at @t.sorem or on this pages Facebook Page.  

52 Hike Challenge Hike Log

Hike # Date Hike/ Trail Name Distance Traveled Time Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating (1-10)
Hike 01 15-Jan-17 Des Moines Y-Camp-Inspiration Point and Beyond down to Horse Trails 1.25 45 181.9 2
Hike 02 21-Jan-17 Robison Wildlife Acres-Story County Conservation-Nevada, IA 1.5 60 1
Hike 03 28-Jan-17 Jester Park-REI All Out Hike 1 35 1
Hike 04 5-Feb-17 Yellow Banks Park-Bluff Overlook Trail, Pond Trail, Eagle View Trail 1.75 54 160.5 1
Hike 05 11-Feb-16 Lake Maria State Park-Candlit Hike 1.5 45 1
Hike 06 18-Feb-17 St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail-Pillsbury Islands-Minneapolis, MN 1.9 53 123.3 1
Hike 07 19-Feb-17 Myre-Big Island State Park-Big Island Trail to Ridge Trail-Albert LEa, MN 1.7 65 65.6 1
Hike 08 10-Mar-17 Chickasaw National REcreation ARea-Buffalo and Antelope SPrings Trail 2.23 60 0 1
Hike 09 2-Apr-17 Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge-Tallgrass Trail 2 60 0 1
Hike 10 21-Apr-17 FAlls Park, Sioux Falls, SD 1.75 60 0 1
Hike 11 22-Apr-17 Piipestone National Monument-Circle Trail 1.25 60 41 1
Hike 12 23-Apr-17 Blue Mound State Park-Mound Trail/Upper cliffline/Lower Cliffline 2.56 81 173 1
Hike 13 13-May-17 Nerstrand Big Woods-Big Woods Trail 2.37 76 130 1
Hike 14 14-May-17 Afton State Park-Hiking Club Trail 2.5 73 206 2
Hike 15 27-May-17 Itasca State Park-Hiking Club Trail 4.11 133 229 1
Hike 16 28-May-17 LaSalle State Recreation Area-Hiking Club Trail 2 62 20 1
Hike 17 28-May-17 Itasca STate Park Fire Tower Trail 2.2 60 308 2
Hike 18 3-Jun-17 Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt 1.7 51 14 1
Hike 19 18-Jun-17 Lake Ahquabi State Park-Lake Loop 2.2 65 ? 1
Hike 20 18-Jun-17 Inis Grove Park 1 42 2
Hike 21 30-Jun-17 Badlands NAtional Park-Window and Door Trail 1.42 75 2
Hike 22 1-Jul-17 Badlands National Park-Shelf Cliff Trail and Fossil Trail 1.25 55 72 1
Hike 23 2-Jul-17 Presidential Trail and surroundings at Mt Rushmore 1.14 55 124 1
Hike 24 3-Jul-17 Sylvan Lake Trail Loop-Custer State Park 1.78 2
Hike 25 8-Jul-17 Bjorkland Lake Trail-Lake Maria State Park 2.5 87 112 2
Hike 26 15-Jul-17 Lookout Trail and Owl Trail-Honey Creek State Park 1.2 43 73 1

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