Local initiative seeks to get families outdoors

Courtesy photo Jenessa Boothby's children Landon, 7; Olivia, 4 and Ingus, 13 on a Mother's Day hike.

NASHUA — When city resident Jenessa Boothby started an initiative to get families outside and moving this year, the mother of three initially didn’t expect much of a response.

Boothby, with a self-proclaimed passion for keeping kids active and healthy, searched online for family-friendly hikes in the area, maybe even some sort of a challenge to keep them going. After two weeks of hunting, she could not find anything that seemed like a good fit. So she created her own.

The “50 in ’18” challenge is a youth-centered movement designed for families to get outside and hike a total of 50 miles throughout the year.

The Facebook page grew to almost 450 members just within three weeks, with visitors posting hikes from every state and from countries as far away as Australia and Japan.

“It’s a great way to make wonderful memories, find hidden gems in your area, teach your children about the world around them and encourage a healthy and active lifestyle,” Boothby said on the group’s page.

The challenge and accompanying PDF hiking log are free, although families can sign up to receive a $5 badge once they hike all 50 miles.

The definition of a hike is up to the family, Boothby said in an interview. Whether that means a walk through Mine Falls Park or up the side of a mountain, the goal is to get people outside and together.

And for those who may be intimidated by the idea of 50 miles, the challenge was specifically designed for families who may not be active yet, but are trying to get there.

In perspective, she said it may be surprisingly manageable.

“It’s not going to the gym for an hour – it’s walking in the woods with your kids,” she said.

Some of the group members have already done 50 miles this year, but have promised to do another 50 in the next six months. Others said the number seems a little high, but they’re going to try.

Among the hundreds of group members from around the world, only a dozen or so are in New Hampshire at this time. Boothby said she is trying to change this because local hikes were part of the initial inspiration for the challenge.

While Boothby and her children were able to get a quick walk in on Tuesday before the rain started, their favorite hike so far, she said, has been Rattlesnake Mountain in Center Sandwich. Boothby called the view from their Mother’s Day hike “fascinating” and “just amazing.”

No matter where they are from, though, members are asked to share their favorite hiking spots, tips, and photos, but “most importantly, get outside and explore the world around you with the ones you love.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.