100 Hikes in One Year
Mary Poole knew she was about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime when she chose to complete 100 hikes in only a year. What she didn’t know is that her story would gain so much attention and so many people would tune in to watch her hikes. Mary is 18 years old from Greer, SC and started hiking a couple of years ago as a hobby and to help socialize her German Shepard, Bella. Bella was fearful of people and Mary discovered that through hiking, Bella was more confident. Not only did Bella benefit from taking hikes with her dog mom, but Mary found hiking therapeutic for her as well.
At the beginning of the year, Mary came across a hiking organization, Hiker Babes, which encourages women to join their movement and take 100 hikes. This group inspires women to take 100 hikes within no real time frame, because their motto is, “it’s not a race, it’s about the journey.” Mary discovered this community and decided to take the challenge a step further and make every hike over a mile long and complete all 100 within one year. So on January 20, she grabbed Bella and set out to #journeyto100!
She began her hiking journey on the Nature Trail at Croft State Park and it was here she realized how much she loved this park. As if the challenge wasn’t difficult enough, Mary pushed herself further to complete all 21 trails within Croft State Park! She grew fond of Croft because it was close to her home and was perfect for Bella due to the minimal amount of foot traffic. After completing almost all of the trails in Croft State Park, Mary realized that one of trails was 12.6 miles long! Intent on achieving her goal of hiking every trail system in the park, Mary began one of the hardest hikes of the 100 saying in her blog, “I’m not one for long-distance hiking. However, on June 11, I took the leap and went for it. It was anything but easy. My body was aching before even reaching 4 miles. I literally wanted to cry. But, after lots of breaks and adding an extra mile from getting lost, I finished it at 13.6 miles.” After completing all of the trails at Croft, in time for her 18th birthday, Mary celebrated by getting the coordinates of Croft State Park tattooed on her arm.
When Mary started college in August, she realized that her hiking had slowed down and that she would really need to buckle down if she wanted to complete her personal challenge of 100 hikes in one year. With that, she started hiking twice a week to get the hikes done before the end of 2019. On December 2, Mary finished her 100, at Hospital Rock Trial in Jones Gap State Park. By the end of her journey, Mary’s 100 hikes totaled 337 miles!
Thank you, Mary, for embarking on this adventure and including several state parks in your journey. Follow Mary on Instagram @hopefullyhiking to see more of her hiking adventures. Congratulations Mary and thank you for sharing your story!