Over 50 Outside: A Q&A with 52 Hike Challenge co-founders Karla Amador and Phillip Stinis

ObozOsprey and Outdoor Research in collaboration with 52 Hike Challenge and In Solidarity, recently launched OVER 50 OUTSIDE. This supportive community will bring together women over the age of 50 who are passionate about the outdoors. The program aims to motivate and empower them to get out on the trails weekly to build their confidence and well-being. To learn more about the initiative and hear from 52 Hike Challenge co-founders Karla and Phillip, check out our Q&A below!

 

Hi Karla and Phillip! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and what inspired you to start hiking?

Karla: Sure, my name is Karla Amador, I am the co-founder of the 52 Hike Challenge. I started hiking in 2013 after meeting Phillip, who was an avid mountaineer. In 2013, he took me for a hike, where I felt good for the first time in a long time (I was going through a divorce). Then in January 2014, I set a goal to hike once a week for the year. The journey was incredibly healing and allowed me to regain the confidence I had lost in my younger years. I felt like a new woman; empowered, free from pain, and wanted to help others to find that same healing.

Phillip: As a child, I had fond memories of getting outdoors, and when I found myself overweight in my mid-twenties, I thought about how I wished I was in shape to enjoy hiking again.  I wanted the freedom to explore, so I set a goal for myself to get in good enough shape to climb Mt. Whitney (even though I had never climbed a mountain).  The beauty and grandeur of the outdoors made it easy for me to spend hours out there and make it my new gym.  I also love the peace and gratitude hiking gives me; I feel more balance in my life when I spend time in nature.

 

52 Hike Challenge co-founders Karla Amador and Phillip Stinis

 

How did that lead to the 52 Hike Challenge?

Karla: After my 52 Hikes were complete, I felt I had transformed. Since Phillip had also had his own transformation through hiking, I knew we had to share the challenge with more people. And well, the rest is history. People really resonated with our stories and decided to go on their own 52 hikes as well. Since then, we’ve been able to directly and indirectly impact hundreds of thousands of people to gain the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional benefits derived through getting outdoors frequently.

 

Tell us a bit about 52 Hike Challenge.

The challenge is to commit to taking 52 hikes in a year. To make it more attainable and realistic, we broke it down to committing to one hike per week. The challenge is about helping people to make a lifestyle change into the outdoors and making it a part of their lives. Through challenging people to get outdoors once a week, they begin to integrate nature into their lives which helps make an impact on their overall well-being. The healthier and happier we are, the better people we are for society. We are on a mission to make the world better, one hiker at a time.

 

Can you explain more about the Over 50 Outside campaign?

The Over 50 Outside campaign is a collaboration between Osprey, Oboz, Outdoor Research and In Solidarity. It is our goal to help women over the age of 50 to get outdoors, and for them to be heard and represented in the outdoors space. When we were approached on the idea, we loved it! At 52 it is our mission to be inclusive of all ages, genders, nationalities - helping people achieve their hiking goals is a priority for us at the 52 Hike Challenge. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been working on helping more people to succeed on their 52 hikes, now that we have the opportunity to take 150 women through a guided program, we believe it will set the foundation for the future of our 52 Hike Challenge Program. We are humbled, and grateful to bring 150 women over the age of 50 on a life-changing journey with us thanks to Osprey, Oboz, and Outdoor Research.

What can applicants, if chosen, expect to get out of the program?

We plan to make this a wonderful community of women over the age of 50! We will be hosting monthly check-ins, special classes covering topics such as hiking gear for the different seasons and recreating responsibly, as well as sessions on conditioning, nutrition and more. In addition, participants receive a journal to document their hikes, a patch, stickers and medal. Our amazing partners Osprey, Oboz and Outdoor Research are providing additional perks to help keep the community inspired throughout the year-long journey.

Can you share with us your favorite hiking snack?

Karla: That’s a tough one for me. I tend to stick to trail mix, bars and don’t really have a go-to.

Phillip: My go to hiking snack is a Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar, but the post-hike meal is usually what I start thinking about when I’m heading back!

 

What’s your favorite hike you’ve done? A hike you are most looking forward to?

Karla: That’s also hard, because I love so many hikes for different reasons. If I’m forced to pick one then it is the Big Pine Lakes hike in Big Pine, California. I love the day hike up to the turquoise lakes one and two. The best part of this hike for me is the gorgeous dramatic mountain, also known as Temple Crag, with the lake in front. It looks and feels like Patagonia in California.

Phillip: It would be hard for me to pick a favorite, but one that’s semi-local to me that I enjoy often is Mt. Baden-Powell.  I really look forward to just about any hike in the Sierra Mountains or near the Sequoia trees!

 

For more information, visit 52HikeChallenge.com(Opens in a new window) and follow #over50outside on social media!

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