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, they hiked and climbed 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 completed the first 52 Hike Challenge journal which includes quotes from finishers.
"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
After a motorcycle accident in 2012, Cas started to experience some health issues that altered her athletic lifestyle. Within a year after, she ended a 7 year relationship that had her searching for her own happiness. While trying to get back into a regular workout routine, she joined a boxing gym and trained 2-3 times a week. She picked at least one day a week to hike and get out in nature as it brought her peace and helped with stamina. After a few years, she had to have surgery to remove a cyst in her head which devastated her as she had to give up her new passion in boxing. Although it took a little while for high elevation hikes, she was still able to keep her weekly hiking routine. It soon became the best days of her life, her medication, her stress free zone where she could escape and recharge. During this time, she discovered the 52 Hike Challenge and met Karla and Phillip. Once she realized there were thousands of other people hiking each week, she knew she had to be a part of this community. As Director of Operations of AETHER Apparel, she helped coordinate a pop up hike with the outdoor apparel brand. The three began to talk about each other's strengths and experiences and all because of a common passion in hiking, they joined forces. In 2016, Cas partnered with Karla and Phillip to create My Hiking Box, where you can purchase your weekly or monthly hiking essentials and have them delivered to your door. In 2017, Cas joined the 52 Hike Challenge duo.
She's currently on her third year taking the challenge with her fiance by her side. Together they have hiked over 500 trails while finishing both the adventure and explorer series.
"The 52 Hike Challenge has changed my life in so many ways. The best thing of all, it's motivated me to get out and explore the most breathtaking views in our wild. These have been the best memories of my life. I welcome you to take the challenge, you won't regret it!" - Cas Barbier
Micha discovered the 52 Hike Challenge through a friend who tragically passed away shortly after completing his. 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.
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 & whatever project is currently on her crochet hooks.
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.
From search engine optimization to social media marketing and every content channel in between, Mandi leverages the power of words to build lasting connections that deliver results.
Her work has been published by Chicago Tribune, ABC’s Shark Tank, Patch.com, Farm2.Me, The Daily Iowan, Chicago’s B96, College Social Magazine, Politiva.com, DiaryTraveler.com and much more.
To learn more and connect with Mandi, visit freerangemandi.com.