50 Hikes. 50 States.

Lucky. I live in a beautiful country filled with millions of miles of trails through thousands of beautiful places organized around 50 states. As a resident of the United States, I am more than lucky to have the freedom to move around this great country to explore its grandeur. And now, I’m off to see it again.

50 States by 35

My sister claiming her side of the car before heading off on a summer road trip.

By 35, I had visited all 50 states. I grew up in family with a father who insisted I see the US before I ventured into other countries. Our family vacations put my sister and me in the back of the car as my dad bulleted the car as fast as he could from point A to point B on our two-week long family vacations each summer.

A rare photo of my sister and me actually smiling together on a family road trip.

We’d leave from San Diego and head north or east–the only two choices available to us–and journey for a week then turn around. My sister and I drew a line in the back seat of the car. Her side. My side. Crossing it with even a pinky resulted in fights and nastiness. Enough so that one time my dad even threw us out off the car and made us walk.

The Beginning of a Travel Writing Career

But they were great times. My journal of gas prices, national parks, swimming pools and meals launched my writing career. It’s fun to look back and see how mad mom and dad were or how much a Big Mac cost. The miles flew by on some days, dragged on others. If we fell asleep, dad would pull the car over and demand we wake up. After all, we were there to SEE the country, not sleep through it.

Through these family trips from San Diego to Vancouver, San Diego to Wyoming, and San Diego to West Virginia, we clicked off about 35 states. I picked the rest of them up through business travel or personal visits to friends.

To the World and Beyond!

My mom, sister, and I on a cruise to Mexico!

From there, I jumped into the rest of the world and covered over 50 countries by the time I was 50. I’m currently at 57. But after my jaunt through Latin America for 5 months, I discovered I missed my beautiful U.S.A. It’s time to revisit this amazing land, again. Thus, I launch my 50 Hikes 50 States Project.

50 Hikes 50 States Project

Here’s the goal: to hike one hike in each state over the next two years. My wonderful husband has a companion pass on Southwest Airlines, so we’ll fly Southwest as often as we can. He’ll come with me on most trips. We’ll do 2-4 states every time we land, and we should be able to do one trip a month.

Who are we?

I am in my early fifties, fit, active, and I walk 16000 steps a day. He is in his late fifties, fit, active, and bikes regularly. We are not super athletes. We have knee problems, toe problems, and hearing problems.  We like a good hike which is 4-6 miles long, has some elevation, allows for some gain (where we might use polls), and affords great views. We’re not scramblers, extremists, or record breakers. We just want to get out on the trail and enjoy some fresh air.

How Do I Pick Our Hikes?

I started this project by reading Outside magazines 50 trail recommendations. I then combined that with several similar lists, added in Southwest airport geography, and routed logistics so we could knock out 2-4 hikes each time we fly and not end up driving more than 3 hours to a trailhead. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s certainly not perfect.

Come Along

I’ll be blogging about each hike here and posting in social media under my EatWalkLearn handles. You can also follow the hashtag #50hikes50states. First up, Nevada.

See you on the trail,

~Chris