This blog is sponsored by Osprey, Outdoor Research & Oboz Footwear in partnership with In Solidarity
Back in September 2021, we launched Over 50 Outside, a brand new program that empowers women over the age of 50 to get outside and take 52 hikes.
- 2,600+ applied for this program
- 150 women were selected for a year-long hiking adventure
- 5 brands came together to make this program possible
- 3 months have passed since they started - let's see how it's going!
Over 50 Outside hiker Allison Tapert (@alliewhidbey) and Michele Finnegan (@granolamum) during the 52 Hike Challenge
Over 50 Outside Quarterly Update: 3 Months of Hiking Adventures, Motivation & Empowerment
In this blog, you will discover what the Over 50 Outside group has been up to and how this program has challenged and inspired them so far.
Read on to hear from the women themselves and find out what a year of hiking and community can do for you.
What is Over 50 Outside?
Over 50 Outside is a supportive group of women over the age of 50 who are exploring the outdoors together.
We launched this program in partnership with Osprey Packs, Oboz Footwear, Outdoor Research & In Solidarity with the goal of representing an under-represented group of hikers: women over 50.
After a humbling response of over 2,600 applicants, we selected 150 women of various backgrounds and skill levels to take on the 52 Hike Challenge.
Over 50 Outside hiker Mandy Mejia (@mandymejiaz)
The 52 Hike Challenge is a year-long journey in which you commit to taking 52 hikes (one hike a week for a year).
The Over 50 Outside program inspired 150 women all over the country to commit to our hiking challenge. Through the power of community and with the help of our partners, all 150 women are on track to finish 52 hikes!
The Over 50 Outside Mission
The mission of Over 50 Outside is to give women over the age of 50 a sense of community through the outdoors.
During the first three months of the program, we (alongside our partners) have hosted monthly meetings where we hold group discussions, provide educational content and share inspirational stories.
We also started a private Facebook group where the Over 50 Outside women can share updates, ask questions and provide feedback and words of encouragement to their peers.
It has been so wonderful to witness how interactive and supportive this group has been!
Finding Community Through Over 50 Outside
Since the start of Over 50 Outside, we have received incredible feedback from the women taking the program.
Whether they are connecting virtually or in real life, they have built a sense of comradery that is likely to last a lifetime.
According to Over 50 Outside hiker Peggy Chance Simpson, "Having the Over 50 Outside [group] has been immensely supportive through all the participant's posts of their own successes, challenges, and personal struggles with which I identify. By sharing, we each gain and aid each other in ways I had not anticipated."
Not only are these 150 women empowering each other, but they're also inspiring other women, men and children to get outside and take a hike!
Over 50 Outside hiker Katy Moses on the trail during the 52 Hike Challenge
Katy Moses, Over 50 Outside community member, said her friends saw what she was doing and wanted to join.
"I’ve posted all my hikes with pictures, and I’ve discovered that other friends are watching and waiting for the next hike. They have asked if I would plan an easy one for them to go on because it looks like fun."
As you can see, the Over 50 Outside program is not only impacting the 150 women taking our hiking challenge, but it's also touching the lives of all the people around them.
The Impact of Over 50 Outside
When we started this hiking program, our mission was to inspire and empower, and it appears Over 50 Outside is doing just that.
According to Over 50 Outside hiker Carrie Thompson, this hiking community has helped her stay committed to getting outside and be more intentional in her time outdoors.
"Being in the Over 50 group has helped me be inspired by these women who are doing the same thing: getting out, no matter what. We're all committed to this journey of being outside, intentionally, and sharing our experiences with each other."
Over 50 Outside hiker Carrie Thompson on a winter hike during the 52 Hike Challenge
The Healing Power of Hiking
For many, this hiking challenge has brought deep healing. Multiple women in the Over 50 Outside community suffered the loss of a loved one, and they said they found healing through the outdoors.
For instance, hiking gave Carrie Thompson an outlet to grieve the passing of her son.
"Since I lost my son, hiking has been as much about him as about myself. My hiking will likely always be, to a large degree, about the connection I feel with him when I'm out. But I've also begun to center my own experience and be present just for myself."
According to Katy Moses, spending time outdoors combined with community support helped her cope through the loss of her mother.
"When my mother died this group listened, sympathized and comforted me. On days I didn’t feel like doing anything I remembered my commitment and challenged myself to get outside and walk."
At 52 Hike Challenge, we are firm believers in the healing power of hiking, and having a supportive community is especially helpful.
The Power of a Hiking Community
Over 50 Outside hiker Denise Bass Allen (@outdoormochadivas) and friends during the 52 Hike Challenge
The benefits of joining a hiking community are multi-fold. You will gain:
- New friendships and connections
- Motivation, inspiration and empowerment
- Educational tools and resources
- Support when you need it most
The Over 50 Outside community is a reminder that it's never too late to try something new, take on a challenge and join a supportive community of likeminded people.
So, what's next for this inspiring group of women?
Keep reading to find out + discover how you can set a goal of taking 52 hikes in the new year!
New Year Goals for the Over 50 Outside Group
We asked the women in Over 50 Outside what they're looking forward to in 2022, and one popular response was to encourage others to join them on the trails.
"[Friends] have asked if I would plan an easy [hike] for them to go on because it looks like fun. So, that will be a goal for 2022. Keep hiking, keep challenging myself and bring a few friends along with me," Katy Moses said.
Similarly, Peggy Chance Simpson wants to bring beginner hikers on the trails to experience how impactful hiking can be.
According to Peggy, "So many [in the community] have commented and posted photos of amazing hikes within their 'backyard' so to speak. It has opened my eyes to be able to see those hikes in my own 'backyard.'
I also hope to involve others in hiking who have wanted to try it or start hiking. Many of my friends (who are not hikers) comment in amazement of the hikes I do. I'm hoping to start one or two of them who have asked to hike with me, on beginner hikes. I know they will fall in love with it!"
Over 50 Outside Hiker Peggy Chance Simpson on the trail during the 52 Hike Challenge
Are you ready to set a hiking goal for the New Year?
Let these women be your example: you can hike at any age and any skill level. It's never too late to start hiking, and you don't have to go about it alone.
Set Your Goal of 52 Hikes in the New Year
We invite you to take the journey of a lifetime:
Sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge and join a supportive community of hikers all over the globe!
Hiking is accessible, fun and free. You don't have to climb mountains to join our hiking challenge. You just need to commit to one hike* a week for a year.
*We consider a hike to be one mile or more.
You won't regret challenging yourself with 52 hikes!
Getting outside will increase your confidence, physical abilities and so much more.
Are you ready to experience the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of hiking once a week for a year?
See for yourself why the Over 50 Outside group is loving the 52 Hike Challenge.
Thank you to our partners Osprey Packs, Outdoor Research, Oboz Footwear & In Solidarity who make the Over 50 Outside program possible.