My love of hiking

Sunset on a summer day.

I was born and raised in Minnesota. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten very into hiking. In 2020, I hiked 92 times and I have a goal to hike 100 trails in 2021. I love to hike here because there is so much variety — each corner of the state is strikingly different, and I love that we are the melting pot of so many unique terrains and natural areas. Since I’ve lived here my whole life, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how many new places I’ve seen these past few years thanks to hiking that I would have otherwise never visited!

While hiking, I seek out memorable features like waterfalls, interesting geological formations, or landmarks. But to me, it’s also about being able to find the beauty in the small, ordinary things. As they say: “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” I enjoy photographing what I find and documenting my hiking adventures on my Instagram.

One of my favorite hikes was in June 2021. During the first (of many) summer heat waves, I visited Blue Mounds State Park with one of my former college roommates. We camped overnight and woke up at 5:15 a.m. the next morning to do the Hiking Club trail at sunrise and avoid the blasting heat. We saw a spectacular red sunrise and had a comfortable hike that features incredible views of the Sioux Quartzite Quarry, spotted Prickly Pear Cacti, Prairie Smoke, and a bison roaming the prairie at dawn. It was a hike I won’t soon forget!

Getting outdoors allows you to do something that’s good for your body and mind, to leave your problems at home and decompress in nature. I’ve been able to appreciate the change in seasons — how nature evolves and persists is particularly amazing to me! If you want to get outdoors, don’t hold yourself back. Go for it, even if you are solo! Let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to be back, and use trail apps like Avenza to help guide you. Start small. You don’t need to climb a mountain right away. Begin with nearby parks and let the wanderlust take you from there.  

—Shannon Honeyford

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