On a Saturday morning in the late summer of 2019, Tina Smith fell in love…with hiking!
A close friend asked Tina, staff talent acquisition business partner, to go hiking with her and some friends. Tina was hesitant to say yes because she imagined the activity as more difficult, sharing, “In my head, I was thinking we’re going to be repelling off a cliff. That’s what I envisioned hiking was. My friend started laughing and said, no, let’s just go to Great Falls National Park and walk around on the trails.”
With her fears lifted, Tina joined her friend for a hike. “I kind of fell in love that day. We spent about an hour and half on the trails. It was definitely a workout, but it was enjoyable because we were with friends and visiting, stopping to enjoy nature and taking a few pictures.”
At the end of the hike, Tina felt energized and knew that hiking was a new way for her to decompress and recharge in a beautiful space.
For Tina, the best part about hiking is how easy it is to get started, specifically due to its low costs. “You don’t need all the fancy gear. Literally just hit the trail and see where it takes you.”
Tina suggests hiking with:
Depending on location, some can go hiking in their backyard while others may visit local or National State Parks. Tina and her husband, Jay, live in Northern Virginia with their four children. While there are several free trails in this area, they ended up purchasing a National Park and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which covers entrance and parking fees. The pass allows them to enjoy more trails in a variety of environments.
Time with Friends and Family
Tina and her friends created a hiking group that visits local parks and trails every weekend. With these weekly hikes, Tina and Jay have built a stronger connection with their friends and each other.
“We do more with our friends that we wouldn’t have done otherwise. We might meet them once every two to three weeks, but by going hiking, we see them every weekend and get to catch up on what’s going on in their lives,” said Jay.
In addition to spending time with friends and family in person, Tina also shares pictures of her hikes on social media. “There’s so much angst on social media right now, so I decided to put some positive things out there. Several friends and followers have reached out saying how much they enjoy the pictures and how it motivates them to go hiking.”
The Health Benefits of Nature
With millions of adults experiencing anxiety and depression, it’s more important than ever to find ways to prioritize the well-being of yourself and your loved ones. Here are some benefits of connecting with nature:
If you love the environment and are looking for a way to get involved with employees that share your passion, consider joining Northrop Grumman’s greeNG Employee Resource Group. By joining the volunteer community, you can support Enterprise Environmental Sustainability goals, improve local area communities and accelerate initiatives that matter to our employees.
Don’t forget that you can also support your favorite nonprofits by logging volunteer hours in the My Giving Portal. Log just one volunteer hour, and you will automatically be entered into a quarterly drawing for a $1,000 charitable grant. Once you’ve logged 40 hours, you may also qualify for a $500 Community Service Grant.
(photos left to right) Tina Smith and her husband, Jay, surrounded by forestation on a hike in Sperryville, VA.
An image of a stream in Brambleton, VA taken by Tina Smith during a hike.
Photo by Tina Smith during a mountain hike overlooking a valley.
Written by: Mackenzie Reulein