Jim Hohnberger is the co-founder of Empowered Living Ministries alongside his wife, Sally Hohnberger. Jim Hohnberger has authored nine books and dedicates his life to meeting the needs of others.
Desiring a better life, Jim Hohnberger and Sally Hohnberger sold everything and moved to Glacier National Park in Montana. They found what they had been missing: that God was in fact real, and was ever-present and help in time of need.
Over the years, Jim and Sally have traveled all over the US, and more than 20 countries to share what God has taught them about marriage, raising children, and walking with God daily. If you ask Jim what motivates him, he says he’s always hungry for more of God.
What is your hobby?
Hiking in the High country at about 12,000 feet of elevation during the warm months and in the canyons in the cooler months.
How did you get started with this hobby?
I have always loved being outdoors. When I moved to the wilderness of Montana, boarding glacier national Park on the west side, I just fell in love with exploring the wilderness. The hiking trails just called to my heart, “saying, come up higher Jim, higher still.” When I get into the high country or on a remote mountain lake or stream, it just simply frees me up. All the cares of life vanish and I feel so much closer to God in the midst of all His creation. It adds balance to life.
Tell us what you love about your hobby.
In addition to freeing me up and giving balance to my life it’s an extremely healthy activity, that keeps you fit, keeps the weight off, your body remains toned, and it’s fantastic for cardio. Instead of going to a gymnasium, you can receive all your health benefits amidst God’s creation. Here you can hear yourself think as well as receive gentle impressions from God for the direction of your life.
What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?
I prefer a good Fanny Pack that’s capable of carrying food for the day, a lightweight raincoat and pants, a simple lunch, at least a quart of water, and my emergency gear if something should happen. A pack like this would cost approximately $200 and last about 10 to 20 years. You’ll never find me without my carbon fiber hiking poles, with cork. I hike in the high country and quite often we can get lightning strikes in the afternoon that’s why I choose carbon fiber poles and not aluminum. These hiking poles have saved me countless times from twisting an ankle or stumbling coming down a steep slope, cost me $125.
A good pair of water-resistant hiking pants and shirt, lightweight during the summer, and a heavier weight pair during the early and later months. I prefer light colors in the summer that reflect the heat and darker colors in the cooler months that retain the heat. Pants $100, shirt $75. Lightweight Rain is an absolute must for those afternoon showers that can creep up on you, the cost is about $200. I don’t want to be caught without my binoculars. If I’m traveling extra light I use them. I can see the Rams, Mountain goats, Elk, and other such natural wildlife up close, $100 for a decent pair. Extra lightweight Hiking shoes, with stability. I use the Solomon speed cross 5, they don’t get better than this, cost $150. Of course, you can do it for a lot less and less getting started. I use all top-quality gear so my prices are a bit higher than if you were just getting started with less expensive equipment.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?
REI, Cabela’s, local sporting goods stores, and of course typing in the item you want on the Internet and seeing multiple outlet stores with the prices they offer the item at.
How much money have you invested into this? How much would a beginner have to invest to get started?
I’ve been hiking for 35+ years and have acquired the best of the best. So I have about $1000 invested. But anyone could easily get started for $300 and when they discover their love for hiking they just started acquiring top-quality products that will enhance their experience.
Are there any good books for beginners?
Backpacker magazine is without question the best source for available books, ratings on gear, write-ups on hiking trails all across the country in other parts of the world. An excellent magazine in source material.
Are there any online videos you recommend to help beginners?
Backpacker magazine has a list of videos for beginners to experts. Highly recommend this magazine.
How has your hobby changed your life?
It has kept me wonderfully healthy. I hike on an average of at least twice per week. The minimum height would be 5 miles round-trip with a thousand feet of elevation. A more extensive hike would consist of 10 to 15 miles with 3 to 4,000 feet of elevation. If you do that at least twice a week you’re going to be looking good, feeling good, and wonderfully balanced in body, mind, and soul.
Hiking is also very social for me because I invite a lot of different individuals to go hiking with me. I always hike at their pace and ability, not mine, and use the opportunity to develop deep and lasting conversations and friendships. People really open up when they’re out in nature with nothing to disturb them.
I also use hiking when people asked for counsel. It says sitting in the room and going over their problems with practical solutions I find that the fresh air and atmosphere outside is not only invigorating for them but opens them up in a way that an office just can’t match.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Find some simple trails locally to get you started and see if it fits you. If it does, bring a friend with you and start enjoying it. If you get hooked it’s the healthiest habit in the world.
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