Family Trailblazers

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It was nearly halfway through the summer when Julie Nelson decided to change up the family’s regular summer activities.

“I was just feeling like we were getting bogged down with staying inside and doing social media or just vegging out. So I was looking for opportunities in the local area to explore,” said Julie.

Then an idea from a friend prompted Julie to bring her daughters Hannah and Olivia to the trails of the Forest Preserve of DuPage County to go on daily hikes.

“When we first started out doing it we didn’t think ‘okay we’re going to conquer all of them.’ But then after doing maybe five or six of them, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to complete our challenge of 100 miles and explore places we’d never been before,” said Julie.

Four days a week the Nelson women would explore the different preserves, keeping track of their miles with trail signage and Julie’s Fit Bit.

“It’s something anybody can do,” she added. “We’re not the outdoorsy type of rugged hikers but we started off slow. And the first time we went out walking we might have only gone out for a half hour and we learned from mistakes like we might not have had enough water packed for one day or we weren’t wearing proper shoes. So just realize you might make a few mistakes along the way but just learn from those opportunities.”

Next summer, Julie plans to bring a journal to better chronicle their adventures, while Olivia and Hannah plan to hike more miles than before.

“Next time if I do it again, which I believe that I will, I’ll probably be taking more pictures and maybe just walking a little bit more because that’s what we did was we walked,” said Hannah.

The family plans to check out more hiking and even snowshoeing at the forest preserves as the winter months roll in.

Logging miles and memories while travelling our local trails.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.