How + Why I’m Journaling My Hikes in 2019

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One new thing I have decided to try this year is keeping a hiking journal.

As you might remember if from my previous post, one of my goals for 2019 is to hike more often, so I decided to take on the 52 Hike Challenge to help keep me accountable.

Around the time that I decided to take the plunge and actually sign up for the challenge, I also thought that maybe taking the time to journal my experience might not only help me to remember more random details from my adventures, but also help me stay more focused on my intentions.

Reasons to Journal

The fact of the matter is, while it’s really easy to go online and be bombarded with images of seemingly perfect looking people with perfect houses going on fantastic adventures in perfect weather, in reality every hike, craft, adventure, and recipe is not perfect, and that’s okay.

On the day the above photo was taken, I woke up to find out that the temperature was literally colder than both Antarctica and Alaska outside, one of the cats ruined my favorite hat (notice the giant chunk of fur missing), Patronus was being stubborn, and the base layer I chose to wear was causing my hiking pants to constantly fall down.

It’s so easy to focus on the annoying things that come up, but at the end of the day, I still got to spend a beautiful, sunny, winter afternoon outside with my best friend.

There are goals and objectives I want to remember.  There are lessons I am going to learn.  There are going to be days I feel discouraged, and days I feel like I can do anything.  There are going to be random, fleeting moments during some hikes that I’m probably otherwise going to forget.

When I write these things down, the become more real.  For me, the idea of putting these thoughts and ideas down on paper just makes sense right now.

My Journaling Supplies

  1. Notebook:  For my journal, I chose this notebook.  I love it because it’s small enough to carry around with me, but the hardcover makes it durable enough to not get beat up in my backpack.  It also comes with a ribbon bookmark and has a pocket inside, so I can store small items like stickers inside and save them to use later.  I opted for lined paper, but dotted and blank page versions were also available.
  2. Pens:  Pilot Precise V5 pens are my all time favorite pens for hand writing paragraphs of text, so they’re what I’m using for the bulk of my journaling.  For more visual and creative things like drawing and calligraphy, I love these Morsler bullet journal pens.  They’re affordable, don’t bleed through paper, and can be used to write with as well.

Over time, I may add in decorative items like stickers, pictures, small printed maps, or sketches to help illustrate my entries, but for now, my journal is mostly just a combination of printed handwriting and faux calligraphy.

My Journaling Strategy

Finding a variety of Pinterest-worthy journal layouts specific to hiking wasn’t too easy, so at first, I wasn’t sure which information I wanted to include.

I’m definitely an “arts and crafts” type of person, and although I would love to include sketches of landscapes–or even beautiful watercolor paintings–into my journal entries, the idea of doing that for every entry just seemed a bit daunting.

Instead, I decided to keep my journal focused on why I love to hike, where I’d like to go, what I’d like to accomplish by hiking, and an honest summary of the experiences I have each time I get out onto the trail.

Here’s a list of some of the things I keeping track of:

  • Date and Location
  • Mileage
  • Temperature and Weather Conditions
  • Trail Highlights
  • Hiking Buddies
  • Reasons for Hiking
  • Goals and Accomplishments
  • Moods and Feelings
  • Experiences

Before starting to write, I decided to set aside a few pages at the beginning of my notebook to include a title, numbered lines for the date, location, and mileage of each hike, and a place to keep a tally of how many of my hikes are with Patronus, how many waterfalls I see, and how many backpacking trips I take.

The tally section probably wasn’t imperative, but since each of those categories relate to something I’m interested in doing over the course of the year, I thought it would be interesting to keep track of them.

Staying on Track

To plan out and schedule my hikes, I use the Erin Condren planner with a vertical layout.  (For a $10 off coupon, click here to create an account on their site and get my referral link.)

I find that “scheduling” my hikes, writing down my goals, and writing down plans and to do lists for my adventures helps keep everything I need to remember in one place, so I’ll actually be able to follow through on it.

If there’s something specific I want to remember to do, like a certain number of miles by a certain date, or a plan that I made with my friends, I will usually add reminders for myself into my phone as well.

I’m also keeping track of my hikes on Instagram, so if you don’t follow me yet, go check out @kristyandpatronus.

What do you like to include in your hiking journal?  Let me know in the comments below!


Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  Should you choose to shop by clicking my links, I may receive a small commission (like, we’re talking a few cents per item) that will go towards helping support maintaining this blog at no additional cost to you.  All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own, and I only recommend products that I actually use.


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