The year 2020 was a challenging year for so many people worldwide. It was a harrowing year for our company.
We do marketing for one of the largest hospitality brands in the US. We also engage with small businesses to build their websites, do email marketing, etc. As of the end of 2019 the company was stable and our affiliate marketing software was improving month after month as our development team followed a carefully crafted build out plan.
Then COVID-19 hit...
The project volume of our largest client went to zero. A large percentage of our small business clients disappeared as they went out of business. It was brutal. We laid off staff. We cut incomes. We cut back on all costs.
Personally, I love the outdoors and spend a ton of time on the trail. Multiple times a week I'll invite my kids or my wife and we'll take the dog and hit the trail. Well, this year was special. The stress from a failing business was intense so I decided to target 120 trail days as a goal. That's 1 of 3 days to be outside on the trail to get exercise and sun and deal with the stress. At one point, I think my trail time kept me from entering full-blown depression. After I'd done all I could for my business during the day I'd spend the evening hiking, biking, fishing, etc.
As the nation shut down, we found trails that were still open. We noticed a few other people like us who were seeking healthy escape. We met some of the coolest people. Some came from 2 states over because our state was more flexible in the shut down.
By mid Summer it became obvious that I would reach the 120 trail days easily. Somewhere in August I logged 120.
So, now what? "Let's go for 150". Soon it became 180. In November I realized I could get to 200 if I was strategic. I had to plan around coaching 2 youth basketball teams with my kids and serving as a leader in my son's church youth program. I realized there would be just enough days to get to 200. It became a challenging goal. I logged the 200th outing on December 31. I had to hike Christmas Eve and several other non-typical outing days to get to my goal but I did it with family and it was very enjoyable.
Turns out 120 days on the trail isn't so difficult and it's incredibly healthy.
I'm setting out for 120 trail days again this year. I definitely plan to get more but I know I can commit to being on the trail 1 of every 3 days.
I challenge you to join me. Spend 120 days or more on the trail this year. You'll get great exercise, enjoy the sun, enjoy the outdoors, meet other great people, and find ways to leave your stress behind.
If you're already well into the year, take the remaining days and divide by 3. That's your goal for the remainder of this year.
Some of my adventures were multi-day backpacking trips or ATV rides. Some were walks down the dyke with the dog. Most were hikes or mountain biking trips of 3 - 6 miles. A few of our ATV rides were over 100 miles. There's no hard and fast rule and it's all on your honor. I think fitness experts recommend 30 minutes of activity per day. Many of my outings take an hour and a half to two hours round trip including travel and the activity. Saturday outings usually take longer. Imagine how much time you might spend in the gym or doing P90X and apply that to your trail time.
Here are activities that you might consider:
No goal is legit without a log and some accountability. Tell someone who keeps you honest what your goal is. Share your progress with them monthly.
I kept tally marks on my work bench in the garage. They got rolled up monthly. I knew exactly where I was at as the year wrapped up.
Please be safe. If you take this challenge you'll be exercising in the outdoors. Be sure you are insured so you can take care of any injuries you may experience. Don't take unnecessary risks.
We DO NOT take any responsibility for injuries, accidents, animal encounters, stubbed toes, or worse while issuing this challenge - take it at your own risk. You know your limits and how to stay safe. Don't push it. You can't reach the goal if you're injured.
The whole objective here is to improve your mental, emotional, and physical health.
My trail time in 2020 seemed lifesaving. I left so much stress on the trail, stayed fit, enjoyed the sun and other elements, explored so much country, enjoyed wildlife, met cool people, and more.
I hope you enjoy the outdoors as much as I do.
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3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.