THE HISTORY BEHIND 52 HIKE CHALLENGE
Meet Karla. While going through a dark and emotional time in her life (divorce), fate stepped in, when she met Phillip! After seeing Phillip's weight-loss journey, Karla was inspired to get out and hike... while outdoors she noticed that she was starting to feel better inside.
In January 2014, they were flying back from a SCUBA trip, when Karla shared her New Year's resolutions with Phillip. One, was to hike at least once per week, and that is how the 52 Hike Challenge was born. They completed the challenge in 8.5 months, hiking and climbing some amazing places and mountains - including the tallest volcano in El Salvador and Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.* Hiking changed something in her. It cured her from her pain, it made her more connected to what is truly important and made her feel alive. The Hike Challenge literally changed Karla's life, one step at a time.
After their 52 Hikes were complete they knew they had to share their hiking secret with the world. The idea started with writing a book about the healing found in nature, but then they decided things could only get better if they invited others to do their own 52 Hike Challenge and include those stories as well! She is currently working on the book and accepting finisher stories.
"I have committed to hiking 52 times a year, for as long as I can and welcome you to join this life-changing journey." - Karla Amador
Once 80 pounds overweight and not able to run 1/4 miles without stopping, he knew he needed to change his life. He set his sights high - to the top of Mt. Whitney (which is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States) because he knew he would have to be fit in order to get to the top. He had no idea that his story would make it into Men's Health Magazine featured as a motivational story. After reaching the summit, he was hooked - not only did he want to make weight loss a goal, he wanted to be one in the fractional percentage of the top athletes by becoming a mountaineer. Phillip went on to become a Nike sponsored running pace leader for several years where he was able to inspire beginning runners to push their limits and lose weight. He has also been the brand ambassador and leader of the Tri-Mountain Adventure Team.
Phillip believes the physical act of climbing mountains lends itself to mentally accomplishing any obstacle in life and is working on proving that hypothesis through the 52 Hike Challenge. After keeping the weight off for over 12 years, climbing over a hundred mountains and building the confidence to quit his engineering job to pursue a Master's Degree in Business (MBA) and become a business consultant for startups, he knew hiking was the way to help people change their life. The 52 Hike Challenge Movement was born through him meeting Karla, who after going on a couple adventures together, was inspired to do 52 hikes in a year. Together, while they hiked, not only did their bond grow stronger, they also planned to make the 52 Hike Challenge into a movement anyone around the world could do to make an active change in their life.
"We hope you are up for the challenge - and remember to take a friend, the views and the adventures together will create memories for a lifetime!" - Phillip Stinis
Micha discovered the 52 Hike Challenge through a friend who tragically passed away shortly after completing his own challenge. After hearing Karla & Phil speak at his celebration of life, she knew she had to participate! That following year, 2017, the challenge saved her from a deep and dark place of despair. Being outside filled her soul with peace and replenished her life blood.
The outdoors had always been a part of her core being, but life and kids helped her forget how vital nature's medicine really is. Now, as co-founder Karla Amador's "right hand wing woman" at 52 Hike Challenge, she is reminded on a daily basis how important the outdoors is.
Micha has been an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast since her grade school Girl Scout days. Her favorite places to explore are located in Northern Arizona; a place she hopes to call home in the future.
When not on the trails, Micha enjoys trips to Disneyland, new (& classic) Nintendo games, a good book & and climbing at her local gym, Top Out Climbing.
Mandi first discovered 52 Hike Challenge years ago when she spent the better part of a year road tripping cross-country. She camped at national parks and hit every trail she could. She immediately recognized the healing power that hiking holds.
Now Mandi acts as an important part of the 52 Hike Challenge team. She is an engaging writer with a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Iowa. She also holds certificates in Entrepreneurial Management and Fundraising & Philanthropy.
As a self-employed content marketer and yoga instructor, Mandi loves to get creative with her work. She finds inspiration through a deep connection with nature along with a healthy appetite for travel, which is why she loves working with 52 Hike Challenge.
Lou has always had a hunger to be outdoors and explore the world. Growing up in a small town in Michigan, quickly after she graduated she moved across the country and eventually became a digital nomad. During that time she became friends with Karla and instantly connected to the 52 Hike Challenge and the huge impact it would make on so many people.
Lou's creativity and experience in startups has driven her work life. When not working, she loves to travel to new countries, try new cuisines, play basketball and volunteer for pet rescues.
Bri was never a girl scout and didn’t grow up camping or hiking. In fact, she spent most of her childhood indoors watching Disney Channel reruns all day and had no idea what she was doing when she embarked on her first backpacking trip.
As a young woman, a life-consuming eating disorder completely took control of her life. Feeling desperate and spiritually broken, she turned to the outdoors as a final attempt to find hope for a better life. She ventured out on a nine-week backpacking trip throughout the backcountry of California, and the magic of the outdoors completely transformed her life. Since then, she’s been obsessively getting into the mountains, including thru-hiking the John Muir Trail and rock climbing Mount Whitney. If she can do it, you can too!