Katherine Donnelly | 07.23.2018

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million, which is exactly why we asked our Contributor community to hit the trails and tell us why they hike through short and raw video clips from their favorite hiking adventures. 

This is Kyle Jenkin's submission. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and we hope that you find yourself inspired to lace up those hiking shoes and start hiking. Read on to learn more about why Kyle hikes, what trails are on his bucket list, and so much more.

OP: Why do you hike? 

Kyle Jenkins: I hike for my mental and physical health. It's much cheaper than therapy or a gym membership.

OP: How has hiking affected the way you approach the outdoors in general?

Kyle Jenkins: Before I started doing long solo hikes into the wilderness, I had never really gotten the solitude it takes to truly connect with Mother Nature. Hiking allows me to do that. 

OP: What hiking goals are on your bucket list?

Kyle Jenkins: I tried to do 100 hikes of at least 4 miles in one calendar year. Made it number 75 before tearing my ACL while trail running. I would like to accomplish that goal at some point. 

OP: When did you start to become interested in the outdoors? Did you spend a lot of time outside as a child, or did your interest develop later?

Kyle Jenkins: Growing up, my family enjoyed the outdoors, but it wasn't a priority. I really became committed to more serious hiking after moving to Utah and being so close to such great trails.

OP: Who introduced you?

Kyle Jenkins: My wife was raised in Salt Lake City and introduced me to Albion Basin during wildflower season, and I was hooked. I had recently moved to Utah, and I had never seen an alpine meadow like that while growing up in the tropics. 

OP: Are there causes and/or organizations that you feel are particularly effective in protecting your access to these places?  

Kyle Jenkins: Locally I support Utah Open Lands, Save our Canyons, and the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, and I feel they have made a great impact on keeping access to our wild spaces open. 

OP: Aside from the 10 essentials, what are three things that you always take with you when you hike?

Kyle Jenkins: My camera, my bear spray, and a giant smile. 

OP: Day hikes or overnight backpacks?

Kyle Jenkins: Day hikes during the week and overnights on the weekend!

OP: If you could hike only one trail in your lifetime, which would it be and why?

Kyle Jenkins: North Fork of Cascade Canyon in the Grand Tetons. I have never seen such rugged beauty, I could do that one hike for the rest of my life and be satisfied. 

OP: From your experience, which state/region has the best hiking diversity? Why?

Kyle Jenkins: I would say Utah. Hard to find world-class desert terrain just a three-hour drive from world-class alpine terrain, and most places outside of the national parks aren't too crowded. The physical diversity here is mind boggling and will keep me busy for a long time.

OP: Solo hiking or with someone?

Kyle Jenkins: Solo.

OP: What's the most ambitious hike you've ever done?

Kyle Jenkins: South Jenny Lake to Lake Solitude via Cascade Canyon and back in one day. 20 miles round trip and almost 3000 ft of gain along the route

OP: Boots or sneakers?

Kyle Jenkins: Sneakers.

OP: GPS or compass?

Kyle Jenkins: GPS.


#WhyIHike Photo Contest with Eddie Bauer

You can get involved by taking photos and videos from the trail all summer long and posting them to Instagram or Twitter and tag @eddiebauer #contest #whyihike through September 30, 2018.

Each month, Eddie Bauer's panel of judges will select 25 semifinalists who will receive a $100 Eddie Bauer gift card and be entered into the competition to win the grand prize.

At the end of the contest period, one grand prize winner will choose between a trip to Kauai, Yosemite or Whistler, BC, for an all-expenses paid hiking adventure of a lifetime. Read the full details and rules here.


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