Accept the 150-Mile Chicopee Challenge
If Elachee’s First Day Hike was any indication, a New Year’s resolution to unplug and get outdoors is high on many a list for 2020.
Some 50 individuals, ranging in age from 4 to 70, enjoyed an invigorating guided First Day Hike in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve on January 1. The weather was perfect and highlighted what a special place this protected green space is to enhancing quality of life in our north Georgia community.
Elachee President/CEO Andrea Timpone led a large group on a 3-mile trek while Education Programs Specialist Wes Hatch navigated his smaller group on a 5-mile hike. The participants came from near and far, with the majority hiking the trails of Chicopee Woods for the first time! New hikers had the chance to become more comfortable with this trail system that crisscrosses woodlands that are part of the National Old Growth Forest Network.
Stretch Your Legs and Get Outdoors
In the spirit of turning over a new leaf for 2020 (you know, those healthy living goals you set each January?), Elachee used the First Day Hike to kick off a wellness initiative, the 150-Mile Chicopee Challenge. This independent program provides a framework to stretch your legs and the incentive to get out in the woods to hike on a regular basis.
The best part? Elachee recently installed new signage and mileage markers along the 8-mile hiking trail system in Chicopee Woods to help hikers better navigate and enjoy their woodlands adventure. Need further incentive to take a hike? Visit this slice of wilderness in the city and enjoy. You will be surrounded by a great diversity of flora and fauna along these pristine trails that are nestled within 1,440 acres of wilderness in south Hall County!
If you are new to the Chicopee Woods hiking trail system, plan your visit and read the Tips for Trail Use. Remember, no dogs on the hiking trails Monday through Friday, and on leash only on Saturday and Sunday.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite (or in this case, one step) at a time.
Although racking up 150 miles may seem like an intimidating goal, when you break it down, you can incrementally reach your goal by hiking three miles each week. Come out to Elachee multiple times a week for quick jaunts to explore different trails in Chicopee Woods. Or, get your steps in with one hike along the Bridge or Lake loops.
Share your progress, too! Elachee invites you to email photos you take while hiking (selfies, interesting nature scenery, etc.). We will share on the Nature Center’s social media.
First, though, get started! Download your 150-Mile Chicopee Challenge Hiking Log or visit Elachee Nature Science Center to pick up a printed hiking log. Use the honor system when recording your mileage. Set a goal to hike a cumulative 150 miles exploring the Chicopee Woods hiking trails within 12 months. To celebrate your accomplishment, Elachee will issue you an official 150-Chicopee Challenge certificate. Want the world to know what you’ve mastered? For a $10 fee, you can receive an official Chicopee Challenge t-shirt upon completing the challenge.
Upon completing your 150 miles, there are three ways to submit your mileage log to Elachee:
- MAIL to Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Drive, Gainesville, GA 30504
- SCAN/EMAIL to email@example.com
- HAND DELIVER to Elachee’s administrative office Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. DIRECTIONS
Students in the Elachee’s Nature Preschool and Nature Kindergarten-1st Grade classes hike the Chicopee Woods trails daily. They spend three or more hours of their instructional day outdoors. Since these young adventurers hike at least a mile each school day, these 3- to 6-year-olds have accepted the Chicopee Challenge and plan to reach their 150-mile goal before the school year ends in May. (Now enrolling for the 2020-2021 academic year.)
Practice Makes Perfect, Elachee-style
Elachee hosts a variety of seasonal public nature programs and themed hikes throughout the year. Participate in the hike portion of these events and count your steps toward your hiking mileage total. Visit elachee.org/calendar to learn of additional programs that may be scheduled throughout 2020.
Here’s an at-a-glance view of scheduled events that have a planned hiking trails component:
- Chicopee Lake Birding Hike: Saturday, February 15, 2020
- Raptor Fest: Saturday, March 21, 2020
- Trillium Trek Trail Run & Walk (competitive half-marathon and 5K run/walk): Saturday, April 18, 2020