gmhTODAY Spring 2022 - Page 50

A Hiking Journey

' Pix in the Park ' Challenge and Beyond

By Crystal Han Photos by Lisa Faria

Life has a way of bringing us joy in ways we least expect .

For outdoor enthusiast Lisa Faria and her friends , Kathy Tate and Kamille Rocha , what started as a simple goal to exercise more became a passion that led them to completing Santa Clara County Parks ’ “ Pix In Parks Challenge ” and more .

Faria ’ s hiking journey began in 2019 , when she , Tate , and Rocha started hiking in Coyote Lake Harvey Bear . They were quickly blown away by the thrill of scaling hills and the beauty nature had to offer . “ I had no idea how we were going to feel about nature and all that ,” Faria said , “ It ’ s not the same , taking a walk , as hiking and being up there and seeing the views and getting the challenge of going up a hill .” The experience hooked them .
As a self-proclaimed “ terrible navigator ,” Faria used online apps to make sure she knew where the trails were and what their difficulty level would be . During this time she stumbled across the Pix In Parks challenge on the Santa Clara County Parks ’ website . Each year , the challenge picks seven hiking spots in the Santa Clara County area . Participants must take a picture of themselves at the start of each hiking trail and post it , along with their geolocation coordinates , on social media with the hashtag # PixInParks . Those who complete all seven trails , known as the Magnificent Seven , win a free T-shirt or bandana commemorating their accomplishment .
At first , Faria and her friends participated in the challenge casually , as a way of discovering new parks . When the pandemic hit and everyone had to shelter in place , hiking became their lifeline and they got more serious about it . Still , it took their group three years to complete the challenge , not because it was hard , but because they didn ’ t have the time to make the longer drives to some of the hiking spots on the Pix In Parks list . “ There was always one or two that we just didn ’ t make it . So we would do several of them but we never finished it until last year . We were bound and determined to finish it ,” Faria said .
In 2021 , Faria , Tate , and Rocha breezed through the Coyote Lake Harvey Bear , Joseph D Grant , Rancho San Antonio , Mt Madonna , Lexington Reservoir , Hellyer , and Calero trails , along with several other hikes not on the list , completing the Pix In Parks ’ Magnificent Seven .
50 SPRING 2022 gmhTODAY Magazine gmhtoday . com