Hikes Across America

by Nkrumah Frazier, Wild South MS Outreach CoordinatorHAA Nkrumah

In today’s fast paced world it seems that everyone is always busy. Even when we are not “on the clock” many of us still check in with what’s going on at work. Technology has made it possible for us to contact one another instantaneously with the push of a button. Social media allows us to keep in touch and forge new connections when otherwise time constraints and distance would not allow for the cultivation of such friendships. The ease at which we are able to socialize digitally seemingly allows for more social interaction.

With all the advancements in technological communication why are we arguably becoming less sociable creatures? As more and more people opt to communicate via text message rather than having actual conversations the fine art of face to face conversation is going the way of the Dodo.

Outdoor Afro Red BluffsSpending time in nature allows you to unplug–to slow down enough to reconnect to your friends, your family and yourself. When taking forays into nature you can leave all the distractions behind. When walking down a trail in a natural setting I begin to expand my “personal bubble” to include the plants and animals nearby (my natural neighbors). I look more closely and attempt to see and understand the world from the perspective of my natural neighbors. It is my experience that most people live their lives far too removed from nature.

When you share nature with someone else you develop a “natural bond”; an experience that can never be duplicated exactly. Because the natural world is always in a state of flux you will never be able to have the exact same experience at the exact same location even if you visited the site daily. Immersing ourselves in nature via hiking, camping or other outdoor recreational activities allows us to develop and share natural bonds and closer relationships with our friends and family. Therefore each excursion into the great outdoors is a unique opportunity to cultivate closer relationships with friends and family as well as the natural world around you.

Nkrumah Mount MitchellAs humans we tend to care about only those things that we are familiar with. It is for this reason that I started the Hikes Across America! initiative. To be able to partner with individuals all across the country in an effort to inspire Americans to connect with the natural resources in their area and in many cases their own back yard is very important to me. If we can collectively inspire more people to get outside and enjoy nature then it is likely that those individuals will develop a love and appreciation for the natural world. It is my hope that this will translate into a new “generation” of people that will fall in love with outdoor recreation and because of that will want to care for and protect the natural world just as I do.

During the month of June my alter ego; FaN Club Dad (http://bit.ly/1eD7k9n), will be sponsoring Hikes Across America! in correlation with national Great Outdoors Month. The goal is to partner with as many individuals and organizations as possible to “sponsor” hiking events in all corners of the country. The first week of June would see events in the Western US. There would be events in the Midwest and North East in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the month. The final week of the month would see events in the South Eastern US where I call home!

The purpose is to have many different hiking events that would start in the West and culminate in the South thus chronologically having events that would migrate across America. Our great nation is riddled with amazing natural wonders and hidden gems. One is only afforded the opportunity to witness most of these amazing sights if you set out on foot. My girls and I have explored many areas in and near our own back yard. In doing so we have found some places that we thought were really cool and interesting. We have grown to love these places and have dubbed them our “secret spots”. There are 3 of them to be exact. Each one offers a unique way to interact with nature. They all lure us outside with a promise of being able to enjoy the moment and to see and learn something new each time we visit.

Mother Nature Approves HAAAmerica offers fantastic opportunities to explore the great outdoors from public lands to private areas. There are privately owned lands that you must get permission to trek through that might just cause your jaw to drop. The other option and my personal favorite is to visit some of our nation’s public lands. National forests, national parks, designated Wilderness areas and many others offer significant opportunities to get outside; whether you prefer a solo experience or if you think that everything is better with friends!

If you would like to lead a Hikes Across America! event please register your event via this link: http://bit.ly/1FFI7bq