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2020 Hiking Challenge

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It's 2020, and it's clear to see that some of us avid hikers enjoy a good challenge! So, here you go. I've listed 20 hiking challenges that can be completed all within Virginia. Feel free to post updates as to your progress in the comments section of this blog post or share on Virginia Backpacking's Facebook page. Good luck, and most importantly, have fun!

  1. Hike one of the Triple Crown points of interest other than McAfee Knob. That would be Dragon's Tooth or Tinker Cliffs. Leave McAfee Knob to the crowds and enjoy one of these two other scenic locations.
  2. Bring a friend or family member on one of your hikes.
  3. Hike where there are wild ponies. You can find them in the Grayson Highlands - Mount Rogers area of southwest Virginia or in the Chincoteague - Assateague area of the Eastern Shore. If you're lucky you might spot an escape pony north of the border at False Cape State Park.
  4. Attend a festival related to the outdoors or hiking. A couple of popular options are the Banff Mountain Film Festival in March or Trail Days in May at Damascus.
  5. Complete an overnight backpack trip to the area of your choosing! A good portion of hikers have never done a backpack trip so it's time to stretch your comfort zone. A really easy backpack trip is to visit Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster Virginia. It's an easy 3 mile, flat round-trip hike from the parking area to Brewer's Point. You can do this!
  6. Hike along a river. Three popular rivers with hiking trails near them are the James River, Rappahanock River, and Potomac River. You could trek along the New River Trail!
  7. Hike a mountain that is at least 4,000 feet in elevation. There's almost 100 of them scattered across western Virginia.
  8. Hike on an island. For those in the Richmond area that could be Belle Isle.
  9. Hike through a swamp. Great Dismal Swamp is located in southeast Virginia but there's also a small swamp hike near Virginia Beach within First Landing State Park.
  10. Upgrade or add at least one item to your hiking gear. New boots? New socks? A rain jacket? Hiking poles? Headlamp?
  11. Complete over 100 miles of total hiking in 2020. That can be 100 one mile hikes or 1 hundred mile hike and anything in between.
  12. Hike in the rain! Be a kid again. Maybe even splash in a puddle.
  13. Complete a waterfall hike. I enjoy Crabtree Falls myself, but there are other options to choose from!
  14. Take a selfie while on one your hikes when you come across something that just makes you smile. Hopefully the photo continues to bring a smile to your face as you come across it in the years ahead. Be safe!
  15. Complete at least one hike in each of the four seasons this year.
  16. Donate your time or money to an outdoor group near you. Many non-profit groups out there are responsible for maintaining the very trails we enjoy hiking on. Be sure to help pay it back.
  17. Visit Shenandoah National Park for a hike. An easy and unique hike would be to visit Blackrock Summit.
  18. Hike along the beach.
  19. How about a night hike? Bring a headlamp along or be adventurous and hike on a moonlit night and enjoy the spooky sounds of nature all around you!
  20. Spot some wildlife on one of your hikes that is bigger than a squirrel. Deer, bear, skunk, snapping turtle?

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