Written by Nic Fraraccio // Background by Macy Cox // Photos provided by Amelia Slater
The Harding Outdoors club is offering students a chance to earn prizes by completing a multi-stage challenge across the state. This Arkansas hiking challenge will give students the opportunity to experience three hikes during the fall semester.
Students are required to hike Sugarloaf Mountain, Pinnacle Mountain State Park and one of the trails at Petit Jean State Park. Each hike will provide different challenges and perspectives for those who participate.
Participants are required to take a picture of themselves while hiking each location. The first 50 students to complete the challenge will receive a custom Harding Outdoors Nalgene water bottle and stickers.
Harding Outdoors sponsor J.D. Yingling said he mentioned the idea to club officers after coming up with the idea during a summer trip to Arizona.
“I’m kind of the idea person, and I bounce things off of them,” Yingling said. “They liked the idea, and that’s why we started to go with it.”
Yingling also said the hiking challenge will give students a different perspective on God’s creation.
“For some of us, this is where we meet God, and this is where we go to connect with God,” Yingling said. “If you go out, and you are in this creation that God created with so much beauty, your senses are filled while being in God’s presence.”
Multiple student workers for the Harding Outdoors club have shown interest in the hiking challenge. Junior Lydia Radke said the challenge will offer students a unique opportunity to explore Arkansas.
“I love hiking, and it kinda gives students an idea of where to go and things to do,” Radke said. “It’s a good thing to do with friends and lets people know what’s out there.”
Senior Collin Sewell said hiking can become a passion for those who experience it.
“I think God has given me a passion for the outdoors and experiencing nature,” Sewell said. “I almost feel like God says, ‘Hey, I made this for you; I made this so you can experience my love and my power.’”
All Harding students are allowed to enter the challenge at any point during the fall semester. Yingling said the challenge is great for students who have never hiked before.
“This is a good way for them to get started on great hikes all over Arkansas,” Yingling said. “Go with a group of people and just enjoy it.”