When our church group was split up and reorganized, at first we wondered if we’d ever find our place. One of us may have even binged on Lucky Charms to dull the pain. Then someone posted about a group hike, and we all showed up to see what this was about. At first, it was the same short hikes over and over, but as we came to depend on each other for friendship, fitness, and entertainment, we began to push farther and explore more. Together, we discovered the hidden gems, the totally blah, the wild and the tame, the inspiring, the beautiful, and the ones that nearly broke us. Though the adventures have ranged from unforgettable experiences of a lifetime to true suffer fests, one thing has always remained: it was fun. Because the scratches and bruises will heal, but the bonds forged through epic adventure last forever.
Sometimes the hardest challenges lead to unimaginable places, and we’re excited to share our experiences with you.
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Our Difficulty Ratings Explained
Believe us, we know one person’s Everest is another person’s walk in the park. That’s why we decided to use 5 ratings instead of just easy, medium, and hard, and it’s also why we decided we needed to explain our rating system. We know we hike more than most people, and we don’t want to get you in over your head. We generally try to give the reasons for our difficulty rating just under the rating so that you can plan accordingly.
Level 1 easy
This is generally what would be called an easy hike. It’s usually under 6 miles, doesn’t have a very steep incline, and can probably be completed in half a day or less. The trails on these hikes are usually easy to follow. Confession: we don’t do very many of these hikes.
Level 2 moderate
This is generally what would be called a moderate hike. It’s usually under 10 miles, may have steep parts but isn’t consistently steep, and can probably be done in under 6 hours. There may be mild route-finding on these hikes, but they are still fairly easy to follow.
Level 3 hard
This is generally what would be called a hard hike. It’s usually up to 10 miles per day. It may be a short hike that is consistently steep or a long distance hike that has some elevation gain, but not overly steep. These hikes may take most of the day or span over multiple days. The trails may be rocky and involve scrambling in parts, and there may be some route-finding or off-trail areas.
Level 4 harder
Okay, now we’re getting serious. These are hard hikes that are generally more than 6 miles and up to about 20 miles, but they could be shorter if they have extenuating circumstances. They will definitely have some steep, strenuous areas, and may be consistently steep. They may include significant off-trail portions and some bushwhacking. It will likely take all day or multiple days to complete these hikes.
Level 5 hardest
These hikes are only for experienced adventurers. They generally have all the qualities of a level 4 hike, but also have special circumstances that make them extra difficult to complete, such as significant bushwhacking, very difficult terrain, sustained physically demanding obstacles, and more. They may include routes that are difficult to follow and have significant off-trail portions.