We all need motivation.
We work so we can pay our bills. We wear our seatbelts so we don't get hurt if we wreck. And we work hard to catch the biggest fish so we can brag to our buddies.
But what about hikers? What's their motivation?
For some, it's endurance. They see how far they can hike in one stretch. For others, it tough terrain -- the more rugged, the better the bragging rights.
Now hikers have a new motivator -- money. Thanks to an innovative idea, every mile a hiker puts behind him this summer will put cash in the pocket of one of the sport's leading organizations, the Keystone Trails Association (KTA).
Here's how it works. It's called the 100-Mile Challenge and its goal is to recognize the state's hikers who can complete 100 miles or more between April 1 and Sept. 1. And if they participate in the sponsorship program, KTA earns money for every mile a hiker treks.
Hikers are first asked to line up sponsors. They can be anybody who is willing to help a good cause. Tap all of those Facebook friends you've acquired, and not only might you find some willing sponsors, you'll probably find a few folks to tag along on your next hike.
The sponsor's job is easy. All they have to do is commit a small amount of cash to help motivate your hiking efforts. One sponsor can offer a dollar per mile for the entire 100 miles or the hiker can line up a team of sponsors that each cover a few miles.
The hiker has the hard part -- if there is one. They have to hit the trails and log their activity. Again, it doesn't have to be a continuous 100-mile hike. The miles can be spread throughout the summer. With six months to get the job done, 100 miles is not an impossible task, especially for somebody eager to explore more trails or make the challenge part of a weight-loss plan.
"Participants are challenged not just to complete 100 miles of trails, but to secure sponsorships for each mile of their journey," said Curt Ashenfelter, the executive director of the KTA. "Each dollar raised will support hiking trails throughout the state of Pennsylvania."
It's important to understand where the money goes. As Ashenfelter said, it will support trails across the state. That's the mission of the KTA. Its members are the folks who ensure our trails are well maintained. Many of them volunteer their time, but maintenance costs continue to climb. The KTA is also a strong voice for the sport in Harrisburg. It continuously lobbies for increased land access and works to ensure our rural landscapes remain pristine.
While it's easy to say we shouldn't need much motivation to get outdoors and put a few miles on our hiking boots, that's not always the case.
Thanks to the KTA's 100-Mile Challenge, though, we have all the motivation we need. Not only will it get us out on the trail, it's a great way to raise money for an important organization.
For information on how to participate, visit the KTA's website: www.kta-hike.org.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@york dispatch.com.