When I started my Sixty60Journey, the only thought/idea/goal was to hike sixty hikes from my birthday in 2016 to my next birthday (the BIG 6-0,) ending somewhere fantastical for the last hike, like perhaps in the Rainbow Mountains outside of Cusco, Peru. Pretty simple. I had no idea of the greater good and purely positive things that would evolve in the process. These are the first 10 Unintended Consequences of Hiking—I’m sure there will be more to come…
UC #1—Less than three months from the starting gate, I’m halfway there! Thirty hikes. I had no idea that hiking would latch on to my soul and soles the way it did. I will hit sixty hikes way before I initially intended, and will simply restart that counter and keep on trekking!
UC #2—I wasn’t looking for a fitness regime. What was I thinking? Of course it is. I was an athlete in high school, then life happened. I’ve never enjoyed gyms—at all, and for my entire adult life, I never really had some deliberate form of consistent exercise that I enjoyed. And that showed up on hike no. 2 (pre-season really) where I thought, “My God, I’m going to have a heart attack!” My increase in stamina are heart not beating out of my chest are a welcomed UC. At the end of a hike I get these spurts of energy where I just want to run, or run up something! I can, in part, thank my ultra-marathoner friend Shelly Hess for that.
UC #3—The beauty that exists off the freeways and into our open spaces, right here in San Diego county. I feel like a kid in a candy store! Josh Finkenberg, thank you for the introduction and tour of Mission Trails Regional Park—a hiking playground.
UC #4—The places I’ve already traveled outside my home town to hike and connect with family and friends, afar. Katie Love (Sedona) Lisa Bower King (Long Beach) and Neil Brookes (Texas) Bernie Rhinerson (Arizona) and myself in New Mexico.
UC #5—And hey! Didn’t see this one coming. I’ve lost 8 lbs of unintended body baggage, dropped one “pant” size and now need to go jean shopping. Seriously, my go-to jeans literally fall off.
UC #6—Hiking with any kind of elevation gain is Mother Nature’s stairmaster. Butt lift—the free way!
UC #7—Connections, conversations and commaraderie. The best of all. One hike in particular that was very challenging and took a village was—The Three Sisters Trail. A sweet bond was created between a group of women (Marley Wendel & Robin Persinger,) as we helped each other through and up places we thought we couldn’t go. It was a heart expanding and encouraging experience.
UC #8—I’ve been documenting my journey, of course—woman with camera appendage, and have been asked to show my work this fall at Benchmark Brewing Company. The images will come out of the local San Diego hikes. It’s been six years since I’ve had a photography show. Thank you Margaret Richardson Akin for following my journey and opening your gallery space to me.
UC #9—I met a new San Diego roadtripper friend in Bernie Rhinerson, and turns out we have/had mutual friends, beyond our initial introduction, in Shelly Hess and Steve Berg (RIP,) the latter was discovered at the bottom of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, hiking the White House Ruin Trail. A letting go of some memories happened down there in that sacred Navajo place.
UC #10—The best consequence of all were the hikes I’ve done with my two sons, Randy Bragdon and Neil Brookes. Each for their separate and different reasons. I’ve hiked twice with each of them and wish for many many more.