National Take a Hike Day | JOY for Today

Being in the open air opens our minds and our hearts. It helps us connect with the environment that surrounds us, with the people who accompany us, and with God who created all of it. Embrace the moment. Let JOY wash over you.

A mountain lake with Leviticus 26:12 overlaid.
National Take a Hike Day | November 17th Annually

JOY for Today Offerings:


Did You Know:

  1. Hiking is not the most popular outdoor activity in the US? It actually ranks third. Coming in ahead of it are running and fishing. See the top 10 popular outdoor activities at Travelness
  2. Switzerland is home of the most densely packed trails in the world? On average, there are 1.9km of trails per square kilometer nationwide. The most densely packed region though, the Canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, boasts of 3.4km worth of trails per square kilometer. (Advnture)
  3. There are 24 types of hiking trails? From access trails to thru-hiking trails, get the skinny on each type with Kieran Cunningham of Adventure. The two we find most interesting are the social trail: an unplanned, undesignated trail that is developed because people start using it and the goat path: a narrow, unmarked trail made by wildlife. (Advnture)
  4. Hiking goes by many other names? In Australia you would be "bushwalking", in New Zealand "trampling", and in the UK you might be "rambling", "fellwalking", "hillwalking", or "walking". (Advnture)
  5. Canada and Europe both have record-breaking trails? Via Francigena in Europe is likely the oldest, and the Trans Canada Trail is the longest. (Advnture, Far and Wide)

We'd Love to Know:   

Which hiking fact will you share?

Wolfe Stew Connects

Hiking is good for my heart. The rhythm of my feet hitting the trail steadies it, God's artistry surrounding me fills it, and the loved ones I share the adventure with warm it. 

Now, please note, the Wolfe Stew household is not a household of what you would call "serious hikers". For instance, our most recent hike, pictured above, circumnavigated what we affectionately renamed Bench Lake. Why Bench Lake, you ask? Because benches were positioned, not sparsely but regularly, around the lake. Our nephew, the Mr., and I made a game of it: at every bench we had to stop and rest. Those were the rules. I am fairly certain that we spent more time resting than walking while my brother patiently barely tolerated our shenanigans.

Might God want our walk with Him to look more like that? To be more about the stops when we rest in Him than about the record-breaking pace we set, the miles we add to our hiking shoes, or the calendar-worthy pictures we capture.

What I know is He walks with us:
  1. From the beginning: He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:8 KJV
  2. Through unbelief, disobedience, and complaint: He walked with the Israelites through the desert for forty years while leading them, providing for them, and teaching them though they constantly disobeyed and doubted Him. Nehemiah 9:19-21
  3. And into eternity: Jesus walked with His disciples while on earth (Matthew 4:18-22) and after His resurrection (Luke 24:15).
And He promises us rest:
Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

The next time you hit the trail whether it's dirt or pavement, by choice or by force, slow and steady or fast and fierce, know that He is with you. Always. And in Him, you will find rest.

In response:

  1. Go for a walk (or a hike). Notice God. Feel Him in every breath, see Him in every person, place, and thing. Talk to Him. Tell Him what you are thankful for, what you are worried about, and what still confuses you about Him. Thank Him for His presence. Rest in it.
  2. Consider joining us as we trek though the concluding poem in Proverbs. Last week, we wrapped up the virtue of strength and began to rehearse being well-spoken. Next week, we will consider how our carefully spoken words influence those around us.

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses 

  • "And I will walk among you, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people." Leviticus 26:12 KJV
  • "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139:7-10 KJV
  • "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that which is lame may not be put out of joint but rather healed." Hebrews 12:11-13 ESV
  • "In your incomprehensible compassion, You did not abandon them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud didn't evaporate; day by day it guided them. The pillar of fire was not extinguished; night by night it led them along the right paths. In your generosity, You gave them Your good Spirit to teach them. Not once did You hold back manna for their mouths or drink for their thirst. In 40 years of living in the wilderness, You provided for every need they had: their clothing did not wear out, nor did their feet swell from endless walking." Nehemiah 9:19-21 VOICE
  • "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105 KJV


  • "Walking is a man's best medicine." - Hippocrates
  • "Carry as little as possible, but choose that little with care." - Earl Shaffer
  • "Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise." - Carrie Latet
  • "You need special shoes for hiking...and a bit of a special soul as well." - Emme Woodhull-Bache
  • "And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul." - John Muir

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote would you want as a sticker for your water bottle?

Activity Suggestions

Read a Book about Hiking

Below are our suggestions for each grade-level band. Visit Tori Leigh for more book suggestions.

Go on a Book Hike

Our initial idea of a "book walk" involved guiding learners in "wondering" through the pictures before reading it with them. This prereading strategy is frequently used in small groups for primary grades. But then we stumbled upon Staying Cool in the Library's post on a physical book walk, or hike for our purposes. You take the book apart and display the pages in order along your walk. For more detailed directions, please visit the post. 

If you don't want to tear the book apart (We confess, this might be is us, too.) consider collecting items that correspond with each page and numbering them. As learners collect the items in order, predict how they think the object will relate to the story. Alternatively, use it after reading and have learners choose the objects and record what they would use on a planning sheet. We're envisioning a t-chart with the page number and description on one side and the object and reason it was chosen on the other.

Discuss "Would You Rather..." Questions

  • Go on a day or overnight hiking trip?
  • Hike in the mountains or along the beach?
  • Hike in the winter or summer?
If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every November day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint or get it (for free!) at our TPT store.

Take on the Family Challenge

Plan and go on a hike. We're not asking you to scale a 14er, even a walk around the neighborhood would suffice. But, if you're looking to up (or start) your hiking game, check out these hiking tips from American Hiking Society. One we realize we need to be better about is bringing along the ten essentials. Involve everyone in the planning, preparations, and adventure. Don't forget to take pictures! 

We'd Love to Know:

What type of hiker are you?

We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. 

Your Partners in JOY Finding,
Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

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