In June First 5 Humboldt began distributing the newly released hiking book. The latest in the Hiking Humboldt series from Humboldt County publisher Backcountry Press, the collaboration with author Rees Hughes and First 5 Humboldt’s Jennifer Gonzales created a buzz in the community.
June was filled with a county wide book tour through various community events, library branches, and First 5 Humboldt playgroups. Jennifer toted hundreds of pounds of books all over the county, from Garberville to Trinidad, Ferndale to Carlotta. It was important to make sure the books reached families in the far corners of the mostly rural county.
Jennifer’s two young children who contributed significantly to the project by testing trails with their little legs and offering feedback of those they enjoyed the most, attended many of these events, signing books along with Rees and sharing the joy of exploring outdoors.
The project began during the Covid-19 pandemic when many families were faced with stressors they had never experienced, children often home, out of group care and education settings, and prolonged social isolation. First 5 Humboldt’s Executive Director, Mary Ann Hansen and Jennifer wanted to provide a resource for families that would support the mitigation of toxic stress. When families spend time together outdoors, moving their bodies they naturally address three of the Surgeon General’s stress-busting strategies. Together they reduce stress hormones, reduce inflammation, and increase neuroplasticity, which are all key to improving overall health and well-being across our lifespan.
Though pandemic times have shifted and families and communities are gathering once again, the book continues to be a well loved and families continue to explore and create moments to last a lifetime together.
Copies of the book were made available free to Humboldt county families with children 5 years of age and younger as well copies are available to check out from any Humboldt County Library branch and available for purchase through local retailers, bookstores, and directly from Backcountry Press.