Portage Wild Hikes Challenge

For years, I’ve known that Summit County has a Fall Hiking Challenge. They call it a Spree, in fact. And they say it’s “the largest and longest-running event of its kind in the nation.” I’m not sure how exactly I’ve known about the Fall Hiking Spree. I guess they just do a good job of publicizing the Spree. Plus: they have rewards! You get a hiking staff for your first year of participation in the challenge. And you get a medallion for each subsequent year of participation. It’s kind geeky. But also kind of cool.

I found myself envious of Summit County residents. Because I live just east of Summit County, in Portage County.

For whatever it’s worth, I believe Portage County residents are allowed to participate in the Summit County Fall Hiking Spree (though they have to pay something for the rewards). And I’ve since learned that Summit County has other hiking challenges, at different times of the year. But the real point in writing about all this is to share that I just recently discovered that Portage County has a hiking challenge, too!

It’s funny that I almost made it to the end of my own personal Portage County Trail Quest before hearing about it. But Portage County has an initiative called the Wild Hikes Challenge! The idea is to complete “30 hikes or 30 miles in our parks to celebrate our 30th anniversary as a park district.” But their own website says that they accept submissions with as few as eight hikes. And guess what?!?

The reward for completing the Portage County Wild Hikes Challenge is a hiking staff and medallion!!!

Apparently, they’ve had numerous hiking challenges like this for several years. They just don’t publicize it as well as Summit County publicizes theirs. So I’m trying to help them get the word out.

The top of the hiking staff has a wrist strap and a cool carving of a white-tailed deer buck.

The bottom of the hiking staff has a rubber tip that can be removed to reveal a spike.

And the medallion is a cool 30-year commemorative medallion that comes with two tiny nails with which one can affix it to the staff. When I picked up these rewards, they even threw in a couple of stickers and bandanas!

I know it’s a little bit silly. But I really like it. And I think it’s a good initiative for the county to promote awareness of its parks, plus general health and wellness.

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