Pat McDougal at Chapel Falls
The Hike Trustees Challenge is a free monthly challenge to hike and explore Trustees properties in Massachusetts. In the years since we’ve watched it grow in exciting ways, and through a special Facebook group for Trustees Hikers, we’ve been introduced to hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels and backgrounds.
One such hiker is Pat McDougal, who considers herself an ambassador for the Trustees. She has been sharing her inspiring journey around her new “healthy obsession” with visiting all the Trustees properties, and we wanted to learn more about her unique journey.
How many Trustees properties have you visited as of today? I have visited 109 properties and have plans to hike the remaining nine in September.
What inspired you to join the Hike Trustees Challenge? I am a pretty active and, admittedly, competitive person and can’t resist a good challenge. I retired last year so I had more time to hike and it was one of the activities I could do safely with friends. The timing was perfect; I was inspired and ready for some adventures. I refer to the challenge as my “healthy obsession”!
Which properties have been your favorites? It’s so hard to choose as they all offer something different but Crane Wildlife Refuge, Jewell Hill, Chapel Brook, Bartholomew’s Cobble, and Lowell Holly are among my favorites.
Where are you most looking forward to returning? I think some of the hills and mountains will be beautiful in the fall, but I’m really looking forward to going cross country skiing at Notchview!
What would you say to someone just starting the Hike Trustees Challenge? I would suggest starting with properties that are convenient and align with their interests, be it hiking, gardens, museums, or preserved homes. The Trustees website is a great resource for learning about the different properties. I think it’s not just about stepping onto a property so you can log it; it’s taking the time to discover each property’s history, uniqueness, and beauty.
Anything else you’d like to add? I think of myself now as an ambassador for the Trustees, and when I talk about the challenge, I also talk about their mission, the variety of programs and events they offer, the terrific maintenance and signage on the trails, and the many volunteer opportunities available. I am fortunate to have had the time to explore all the properties, and I am so grateful to the Trustees for their great stewardship of these sacred places.