Hiking has so many benefits. It can help us heal, bond with other, and find peace of mind. Welcome Jenny to the blog today as discusses how hiking changed her life.

My name is Jenny Collier and I would love to share my story and encourage all women (especially middle-aged women) to get reacquainted with themselves through hiking.

I lost my husband of 19 years at age 45 to a motorcycle accident in 2010.

We had always hiked and used that time to discuss finances and how to raise our daughter.

The time spent in the woods was our personal time.

He was an avid runner, kayaker and hiker.

I always thought I just hiked to spend quality time with him.

When I became a single mother of a 13-year-old I devoted all my time and energy to her and forgot about hiking for the next four years.

I used that time to reevaluate and discover the things that were important to “me”.

I knew I could use my situation as an excuse and give up or get myself together and show my daughter that bad things really do happen to good people.

I wrote down all the things I liked and did not like about myself and began my plan for self improvement.

I managed to create a safe and happy life for my daughter. She is currently on an academic scholarship at the University of Kentucky and is a member of the U.K. Cheer Team!

After an annual medical physical in 2015 I realized I had gained 20 pounds since my daughter’s birth in 1997.

One pound a year didn’t seem so bad until it accumulated for 20 years!!

I promised myself that I was going to concentrate on myself in 2016.

I wanted to be in a good mental place at age 50.  So thus my journey began.

I discovered I missed hiking.

The first challenge on my list was to  complete an overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail.

We had bought hiking sleeping bags prior to my husband’s accident and I desperately wanted to use them.

I rallied a high school friend who knew the trail and I was confident in her camping (and shooting) skills.

We carried 30 pounds each of camping gear and headed to the woods in May 2016, the month I turned 50.

We made it one night and 15 miles before we got rained out.

Mission accomplished because I used my sleeping bag!

Then I hooked up with a friend who was recently divorced and needed to “find herself”.

We used hiking for therapy and talked and walked the trails.

Once I began posting amazing pictures on Facebook other women friends began to show interest in hiking.

I shared the AllTrails app with the world and my favorite places to hike.

My best friend and I used hiking to spend quality time together instead of the social eating meetings we normally enjoyed.

My aunt and I started hiking. We reminisced about our childhood days and discussed current issues concerning our young adult daughters.

I discovered it was OK to take time for my own mental and physical health.

I have seen positive improvements in my friends’ self worth and happiness as well.

I survived the dreaded year of turning 50.

I am now engaged to a wonderful man and 20 pounds lighter.

I pride myself in raising a confident and independent daughter by setting a positive example.

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3 comments on “How Hiking Changed Jenny’s Life

  1. Inspiring story.
    Great if you have plenty of friends and family to hike with. Too unsafe for a woman on her own as divorce removes a lot of people from your life.
    Not the same going hiking with a club as you can’t open up immediately to strangers as they avoid you on the next walk or have plenty to talk about at their next dinner party.

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