Tag Archives: Hike4Life

Neponset Greenway Trail Groundbreaking

10382832_595691853866208_925651900494464244_nHike4Life joined in the groundbreaking for the extension of the Neponset River Greenway Trail from Central Avenue to Mattapan Station. So happy to share in the accomplishment and realization of the dream of our friend Vivian Morris (Mattapan Food & Fitness Coalition) as well as everyone that works with her to make this dream possible.

It’s been 20 years in the making; in 8 months, come out and see the new trails with your community in Mattapan!!!



DSCN3294Hike4Lifers walked and talked for a little over two miles this past weekend at beautiful Franklin Park, as part of a national movement to host Healing Hikes across the country to show our form of solidarity in light of the racial issues that have resurfaced in our society.

While America took to the streets, we took to paths that led us to silence. Nature welcomed us and granted us with Sunshine and warmth, beautiful birds and the right spirit energy needed to guide us through our late-autumn stroll through the woods.

We had a wonderful group of men, women and children (mine) that came out and joined us to walk and share our feelings and to have an open dialogue about what’s goin on. While none of us can singularly come up with solutions to the problems facing the nation, one thing that was evident, we need clear minds, unified strength and above all else resiliency.

A wound that is constantly and consistently picked at will never heal.

That wound is the cause of the uproar that is sweeping across America; the indiscriminate murder of Black men by police. While this abhorrent abuse of Black males is nothing new, what’s new is the amazing public outcry for demands of justice! With the recent pardoning of white officers in the murders of blacks; many blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians are all coming together in protest, to publicly and jointly say that this is ENOUGH.

When you unplug in nature, you recharge in spirit

Being a part of the outdoors culture, does not mean that we are blind or passive to the troubles of the world, our focus and our passion is found in nature. We find our peace of mind, physical peace and spiritual peace in the woods. We heal ourselves and our pain when we connect to the Earth and disconnect from society, even when it’s just a short while, it’s a much needed recharge.

Silence is a place of great power and healing and is also a source of great strength.

Thanks for reading

– H4L

Earth Day in the Black Community

Earth-DayWhat is Earth Day? Most didn’t know. Most didn’t care. Most, just stopped and stared as wild winds carried newspapers and other junk from one side of the street to the other.

Where does Earth Day matter? Not around here one passerby told me, when I asked. How does one not take a moment out of their lives to do something that will help us survive? I was told that if Earth Day was on a Saturday, we may get people to volunteer, to do neighborhood cleanups.” Why wait for the weekend?” I asked. “Cause people won’t have anything else to do, so why not?” was his answer.

I’ve been a tree-hugger for as far back as I can remember and I never remember not having a sense of guilt or shame when trash spun around in tiny-tornados in the hood carrying plastic, paper, dirt and other things and I did nothing. I never wanted to go around and pick up trash on the street or in the parks due to the fear of coming across hypodermic needles or dead animals. I never felt that I was responsible for keeping my neighborhood clean, I took comfort in street signs that read “Street Sweeping on Mondays” so I chalked it up to the city to clean up behind us. Boy was I wrong.

I did my part, cleaning the front of the stoop my friends and I perched ourselves on. We kept it clean for when our mothers wanted to hold the stoop down for us while we played basketball. We kept our immediate areas clean and did little to clean up the other litter that littered our street. Maybe on occasion, if rains were heavy and carried trash from up the street to the sewer that was in front of our apartment complex, we would clean it out so that it wouldn’t get clogged.

I’m sure there are others who may have had similar feelings when it came to taking care of their personal surroundings versus taking care of the environment.

How do we break away from the comfort of our self-designated areas and branch out to clean areas that we are not personally committed to? Being committed to the bigger picture is the best way to create a new habit of cleaning up, for the sake of keeping up!

One of our latest programs, Clean Parks Healthy Hearts, was created to host clean-ups in local area parks to maintain a clean and accessible environment for children to play and revitalized park space where adults and seniors can participate in health related activities, while enjoying the outdoors in their neighborhoods.


Fitness events, artist displays and fun activities for kids and families will be held at the parks that benefit from our efforts. Clean Parks Healthy Hearts, is our way to make sure that we do our part to keep our parks clean, safe and relevant.

So, let’s get back to Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual event that is celebrated on April 22nd in events that are held all over the world, to celebrate our planet and to recapture an understanding of its vulnerability and our reckless and senseless disregard. It is a day to focus on environmental protection and the role that we play in it.

As a community based organization and a full-time member of our community, we strive to do the best that we can for the community. Whether it’s hiking in the woods, urban-hiking through the city or cleaning up local parks, I hope that for Earth Day 2015 we can hold an ‘ED15’ event in our neighborhoods to show that we really do care about where we live and show the world what we are doing to protect our communities and to protect the environment.

Will it take a lot of work, education, time and patience to make Earth Day relevant in the Black Community, who knows but, we do know that with everyone’s help, our small difference, can make a huge difference.

Earth Day, Every Day
– H4L

Hike4Life: Out of the hoods and into the woods


After 2 successful hikes stuffed into our backpacks to kick off 2014, Hike4Life is getting ready for the rest of the year, with new opportunities, new partnerships, awesome sponsors and our themed events. Hiking and outdoor activities is on the rise in Urban communities all over the U.S. The collective consciousness of our people across the Diaspora is growing more towards nature, natural healing, historical awareness and social responsibility. Wrapped inside all of that is a deep-seeded desire to live healthier and active lives and caring for our Planet.

We are so excited to see that what we are doing is spreading across the community and across the country. It’s a big idea, a big movement and there are so many wonderful groups like ours that are embarking on this important mission.

In 2014, Hike4Life is fired up to introduce our Youth & Adult Swimming Program, which involves water related activities. That means, BEACH TRIPS! We will be putting events together that will help people get over their fear of water, water aerobics, aqua-Zumba, pool parties and more. We also have our Hike4Life Sustainable Living Project, which will involve educating ourselves on planting and growing our own foods and living off the land. We have great people that are close to our organization that will be a helpful resource for those that are interested in this project. Learning how to grow and harvest your own food, makes it even taste better when you eat it!

We are also looking for volunteers for leadership roles within the organization and on a smaller level to be group leaders on our hikes. Anyone that would be interested in having an active role in Hike4Life is highly encouraged to reach out to us and let us know. If you believe in us, be a part of us! No hiking experience is required, just a desire to be a part of something that is actively growing and making a difference in peoples’ lives.

We have a few events coming up, on April 27th we are having a Women’s Hike with Operation B Fit. On May 10th we will be celebrating National Women’s Health Week at Houghton’s Pond, details to follow on that and on May 24th we are having our Black Heritage Trail Hike in Boston. This year we are collaborating with P.H.I.C.S. which stands for “Photographers Hiking In the City Speaking.”

So as we get out of the hoods and head into the woods we hope that you will follow us and keep up with us on facebook, twitter and instagram. Head over to our website and sign up for our newsletter, register for future hikes or make a donation. We rely on help from the public and our friends for financial support.

Again, thank you all so much for your support and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events.

Peace & Blessings

When The Lights Go Out…


“Winging it is not an emergency plan.” ~ Ready.gov

During times of extreme weather like we are experiencing TODAY, there’s always the threat of a power outage.  That means no lights, no TV, no computer and possibly no heat.  The heat part may last you a little while but, for those long, creepy and cold blackouts, you may want to have some extra blankets on standby.  The silence and the dark can do a number on people if they are not prepared to deal with this situation, if you aren’t let’s share some tips on how to be prepped and ready when the lights go out.

  1. First, be sure to stock up on batteries.  You can never have enough of them to go around so why not stock up on them.  Mainly buy the battery sizes that you need and make sure to you’ll know how to find them in times of darkness.
  2. Flashlights/Light sticks! We can’t stress how important it is in times of bad weather to always have flashlights handy.  I have 2-3 of them within my reach, right now as well as the flashlight on my cell phone.  I recommend adding a flashlight application to your cell phone; it would be beneficial since we’re connected to our phones most of the time.  Candles are always a good resource, just be careful of the potential hazards of walking around with fire in the dark.
  3. Wall Lights.  Mount some emergency wall lights to your walls so that you’ll instantly light a whole room in case of a black out.  The light from these should give you enough light to navigate around and find the important stuff you’ll need to make it through the power outage.  They’re aesthetic and you don’t have to carry anything extra.
  4. Portable Radio.  In order to get updates and news about any emergencies in your areas.  There are radio applications that you can download to your mobile device.  You can purchase an emergency radio that takes batteries or a crank radio that requires manually powering the device.
  5. First Aid.  Knowing where your first aid kid is during an emergency can be a literal lifesaver. Detachment from power can lead to irrational behavior and many mistakes can be made even in your own home.  Walking into a wall, getting a cut or tripping and falling.  Some of us are afraid of the dark so that sudden jolt into darkness can throw our senses off.  So in case medical attention is required for a small accident at home, know where your kit is.
  6. Clothing / Blankets.  Since there may be no heat for a while, it’s best to do the best you can to preserve your body heat.   A hooded sweater, hats and blankets are the best way to keep warm during long periods of darkness.  If you have candles and can burn them safely, light as many as you can to keep the air heated.  Burn some candles in a small room close the door and use that room for warming up.  Remember to be safe with candles; they can be a potential fire hazard.
  7. Know your home.  Practice walking around your home in the dark or blindfold yourself and walk around the house.  Get used to the walls and the stairs and learn to navigate without sight in your house, look for important items you may need that will help you if the lights go out.
  8. Planning.  Have a plan.  Know where you’re emergency lights are, your wall lights, your batteries and anything you may need that will keep you and your family safe.
  9. Laptops and cell phones.  Be sure to have an alternate power source for your cell phones.  A great way is to use the power from your laptop to charge your cell phone and keep it charged until the lights come on or you lose power on your laptop.  Unplugged, you can get a decent amount of time on your computer to play games, watch videos or even listen to music to pass the time.  Monitor the power levels on your devices regularly.
  10. Don’t panic.  Losing control is the last thing you want to do during an emergency.  If the lights go out, the lights go out.  You know where everything is and there is no need to panic.  Of course the shock of losing power is natural but, how you respond during an emergency makes a tremendous difference.  Understand that you are in control of how you react, how you plan and how you survive.  You can invest in a Storm Kit, which includes: fresh water, food, first aid, matches and multi-tools or you can create your own Survival Kits.  Hike4Life will be partnering with Urban Outdoor Gear to bring our community B.O.Bs. (Bug out Bags) that will have several essential items that are needed during emergencies and survival situations.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information. I hope that you have learned a few things and that you will practice being safe and secure in your homes in times of a power outage.  Any questions, you can always email Hike4Life @ info@hike4life.org – Jerel


Enjoying The Journey

I think that will be the theme for this year.  “Enjoy The Journey.”  Many of us worry about what’s at the end of the destination; talking about how much fun we are going to have when we get there.  Some of us unfortunately, don’t get there.  They never arrive at a preset destination or the destinations they are working so hard in their lives to reach.  We give everything of ourselves to the end goal and sometimes forget to “stop and smell the roses” or for many of us, forget to stop and have some fun along the way.   So, enjoy the journey.

Hike4Life had a great Hike this past Saturday with a great group of people.  We hit trails in the Blue Hills that we hadn’t traveled as a group before and everyone loved it.  We started with a meet and greet while we waited for a few of our friends to arrive.  Many of the faces were familiar to us but, not everyone knew each other so it was really cool to introduce everyone and create new connections.

261796_207176732815201_1094757838_nAfter everyone had finally gathered, we did a short group stretch and headed out on our adventure.

The scenery was beautiful; A winter scene, within an evergreen dream.  Under a partial blue sky, we strode on fresh untouched snow and stepped cautiously over rocks slicked with ice.  With each step we stepped further into the unknown, not knowing what the trail conditions were like ahead.

This group was very energetic, hyped up would be a better word to describe the energy that was felt throughout the hills.  Folks were asking about Deer and other animals, I told them maybe we’d see something if they couldn’t hear us coming from a mile away which drew more laughter.

Up and up we climbed; calves and thighs burned as it was our first crack at the trails since the Walk Off The Turkey Hike in November and by the way my heart was beating it was evident that some of us (me) were out of trail-shape.  After a few more inclines, my body “remembered” and I was huffing it with some of the guys as we ran from the ladies whose attempts at spirituals and songs that never end, echoed across the reservation.  It was so much fun.

As we neared the top of Chicatawbut Hill, we finessed our way through some low lying branches of Pitch Pine and Chestnut Oak and finally made our way to the second highest peak along the Skyline Trail.

We were blessed as the Sun poured over us and awarded us with warmth and much needed Vitamin D!

The scenery at this time year is beautiful.  We didn’t have the rich dark green that covers most of our state, so we could see hundreds of neighborhoods and homes that appeared tiny to us from high atop the hill.  Large urban areas normally hidden by thickly lavish landscapes, stood out partially nestled amongst the grey-brown trees that long for the coming of Spring.

As far as our eyes could see, this was Massachusetts.  No sirens, no noise, other than our breathing and conversation.  Fresh air filled our city-scarred lungs, as we inhaled deeply and exhaling our troubles to be carried away with the wind.

This was where we needed to be.

We left the comfort of our daily contrivances and the safety of the city, to explore the muddy paths of the Blue Hills Reservation.  Hike4Life is fortunate to have so many good people support us and allow us to present this beautiful area, that is natural, open and free to explore.   There’s no bar, no dance floors, no restrooms and no convenience.   There aren’t any halls or clubs and at times, the element of danger can and is real and so is the thrill of adventure.

Before the Hike everyone didn’t know each other but, by the end of the hike, everyone was the best of friends.  Hiking is great for team building and camaraderie, group encouragement and care for one another is developed as we trek and ramble through the woods.

In total 11 of us left our boot prints for over 3 miles of terrain, snow and ice.  There were a couple of slips but we made it out unharmed and unscathed.  Overall, we got a great workout, spent some time under a comfortable Winter Sun and everyone genuinely had a great time!

Our feet may have hurt from walking, but so did our faces from all of the smiling and laughing that we did as we Hiked for our lives!


Networking in Hiking Boots

huiijI just got home from a great event called, #ROXTWEET, which was a “Tweetup” meetup event where participants exchanged twitter handles, business cards, networked and mingled with like-minded movers and shakers in the community.
hipppThere were a lot of topics and questions and comments and every new connection was “tweeted” on the big screen.  Hike4Life got a shout out from City Councilor Tito Jackson, whom we’ve threatened to kidnap him if he doesn’t hike with us this year.hike4Bumped into a future candidate for State Representative, Eric Esteves.  I also met other great people that are working in education, health and politics.
popppWhen I first began attending networking events, I was told that, networking is “professional flirting”, not sure if I disagree or agree.

You see someone, you smile at them, if they smile back, you go over to introduce yourself, you exchange numbers or cards or emails and you ask if you can meet again sometime, possibly over coffee or lunch and 9 times out of 10 your successful.  Way better odds than regular flirting.
hike4This was our 2nd RoxTweet event and Hike4Life had a great time at the Haley House Bakery & Cafe, tweeting, socializing and putting our name out there to those that do not know that we exist or the service we offer to the community.

Looking forward to building and maintaining new relationships.

J.F. (follow us @hike4urlife)