Up North: Kari Kilen hikes 1,000th mile at Redhead Mountain Bike Park
The Redhead Mountain Bike Park is known for its mountain bikes. But for Kari Kilen, she’s using it for hiking purposes, celebrating a grand total of 1,000 miles hiked on the trail.
“Initially when I came out here and first started hiking, I never had a goal. I just kept hiking and hiking and hiking. So it’s really exciting to know that I’ve hiked that far. It’s almost as if I hiked from here to Memphis,” said Kilen.
Kilen initially began hiking as a way to find peace, after the passing of a family member.
“My 26-year-old nephew had passed away unexpectedly. I was really looking for a way to just, get out grieve, relieve stress and find somewhere to chill. So I called up his brother and invited him to come out here with me for the first time because he also likes to hike. We just came out here and we were hooked immediately.
Since that moment she has created Facebook group that connects people to hiking the trail system.
“I thought, well, if I had a group where people could join the group, then they can always see and get the notifications. So I started the ‘Redhead Redfeet‘ Facebook group, because obviously if you look at my shoes, red feet is very, very appropriate,” added Kilen.
At 63 years old, Kilen is a big preacher that the outdoors will always be for everyone.
“You just have to have your why, you know, and there’s got to be something that really motivates you. For me, part of that reaching the thousand, which was this summer’s goal, was just to show other people that it can be done, that anybody can get out here and hike any age.”
When asked about what the trail offers beauty wise Kilen stated,” Out here is just so nice because you can just kind of forget about all your worries and you can take it. Just look around and enjoy the scenery.”
Although 1,000 miles is a huge plateau, she is already planning her next goal.
“The next step is I want to do 500 miles in one summer out here because last summer I got 425, and that was a very long season. So next summer I want to do a 500 just in that one year.” Kilen concluded.