And for our Final Act: ATC Storied Journeys

News // November 01, 2023

ATC: 10 weeks of exploring, becoming acquainted with the unfamiliar, reconnecting with nature, building a supportive community, giving back to the park that gives us so much, and getting those ) steps in!

Before we raised over $20,000 and trekked the entire trail system nearly 90 times over, we got to speak with a few Challengers at the start of ATC. On the Eve of the last day of the Challenge and the last day to donate, we’re taking a look back at these eager adventurers’ stories before they began their big quest.

Donate to our our Challengers here.

Will

“The Wissahickon is my church. Every weekend, I go to reflect, relax, take in the beauty, listen to a podcast sometimes, or just sit and enjoy the scenery. It’s really a peaceful place for me.”

Anne & Derek

“I love going in and finding out I don’t have service. I don’t want to look at my phone, I don’t want to look at my computer screen. I work on my computer all day, and it’s really nice to forget that I live anywhere or do anything. We’re just strangers on a trail,” Anne.

“Having a good connection to the nature around me is really important because I can feel really couped up doing my data job. I have a house, I have a car, all of my little boxes that I sit in. So getting to stretch my wings a little bit is really great, to just feel like part of a larger world. The Wissahickon has a real community feel to it, too, I mean, we’re at a social event right now!” Derek

“Three years ago, during the pandemic, when I was living in a square mile town. I would get so bored, and I needed to get outside and exercise, so I decided to walk every single block of my town. It’s a small place, but I would download and screenshot my Strava data, and then every couple of weeks, as I would walk more and more, I would overlap all of the Strava data just to see what I had missed. I completed it in a month and a half,” Anne.

Spencer

“I’m a trail ambassador, so there are a lot of reasons [I’m participating in ATC]. I find it really valuable to push myself to explore every corner of the park. It’s really helpful for trail shifts and for instructing people with directions, and also for my personal love of the park.”

“The first time I participated in the All Trails Challenge was really important to me in recovering from my knee surgery. I used it as a ‘get back outside and regain your freedom’ program. And so it will always be special to me the same way the Wissahickon is special to me.”

Nathan

“The kitschy way to say it is the Wissahickon is my happy place. I feel de-stressed, relieved, I feel like I can breathe, I feel alive when I’m walking the trails.”

“ATC is a great personal goal, and fundraising for FOW is a great opportunity to continue contributing to the park. I would call these the unintentional benefits of the challenge: comradery when walking with someone, the peacefulness of walking alone, and physical exertion when working up a sweat. I don’t come out here to exercise. I don’t consider doing ATC to just be about walking all the trails. It’s about the peace that I feel and the comradery.”

We ask that you consider donating to a friend’s fundraising page or even one of our featured Challengers! Your support is what keeps the Wissahickon beautiful. Check out our Challengers here.