Eleven hikers and two dogs joined together Oct. 9 on the North Country Trail for the 16th annual Hike for Hope, this year at the junction of State Hwy. 64 and East Steamboat Forest Road. The first hike there came just weeks after the devastating events of 9/11/2001. Anger verging on rage was being doled out daily against Muslims - anywhere, with no regard to the millions of people of that faith who had nothing to do with the events. The Hike for Hope invited people to join together to experience the peace and tranquility of hiking on the North Country Trail while considering how peace might be restored.

Sunday was a gorgeous day and really nice to have two first-time hikers! The hikes continue to offer the same peace and tranquility. One hiker shared that he was enticed by the title of the hike, as he really needed some time and space to feel hopeful. He experienced that on the hike. Anger verging on rage seems to have only increased against anyone seen as different in the public sphere. We teach our children to treat each other with respect, but all around them bullying, name-calling and physical assaults are the norm. The simple phrase "Violence is Words and Actions that Hurt People" has been shelved in favor of a free-for-all of everything violent.

For your own health and well-being, take a hike on the North Country Trail. You can hike the trail whenever you like, but watch for group hikes sponsored by the Itasca Moraine Chapter to get to know the trail and feel the peace and tranquility it brings every time you choose to hike.