‘Just love yourself for who you are:’ Old Town woman trying to prove anyone can be a hiker

Old Town’s Paige Emerson is using her adventures to not only set goals, but also to help others along the way.
Paige Emerson climbs Tumbledown Mountain.
Paige Emerson climbs Tumbledown Mountain.(WABI)
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - There’s something about the Maine outdoors people seem to cling to.

For some, it’s a place of peace and comfort. For others, it’s where they set goals and work to achieve them.

Some people are able to find themselves on the right path.

Old Town’s Paige Emerson is one of those people.

She’s using her adventures to not only set goals but also to help others along the way.

When everything was shutting down last year because of the pandemic, Paige Emerson was looking for an escape.

“I was struggling with some of my own mental health issues. The pandemic kind of exacerbated those things. I needed to find a way to ground myself to make my anxiety better.”

Paige didn’t know how much she’d cover.

“I just find it really soothing to be outside.”

She found freedom on hiking adventures in the Maine outdoors.

“I just started hiking more, I’ve done it in the past, but not as much now.”

According to a Stanford University study, getting outdoors can improve your mental health.

Researchers found it lowers stress and anxiety.

It’s not just Paige. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, about eight million more Americans went hiking last year than the year before.

“The point is to encourage other people to get out there.”

Maine has hundreds of trails. You’ll never know where you’ll wind up. From hikes on the coast to the western mountains, it inspired an idea on Instagram.

“I was hiking with a friend and she was just saying you’d be a great hiking blogger. It wasn’t something that I had thought about before.”

It became Paige’s page - Chubby Hiker Reviews.

Paige Emerson created an Instagram Page called Chubby Hiker Reviews.
Paige Emerson created an Instagram Page called Chubby Hiker Reviews.(WABI)

“We were kind of just were throwing around names. That’s one that stuck.”

Her page comes with an inspirational message that goes way beyond any hike.

“If they think they’re not like in shape, like there’s no perfect shape, to hike, it’s like just love yourself for who you are. Start small and build up.”

Paige is trying to prove anyone can be a hiker.

“Being body positive brings so much joy to me and joy to others. Just love yourself for who you are. You don’t have to change anything about you to enjoy the things that you love.”

Her page has more than 3,000 followers. It seems people are catching on.

“People have told me like, because of you like, I got out, I went hiking. Somebody told me that her and her friend were hiking, and one of them brought up my Instagram was like, Hey, have you seen this girl. I just didn’t know that people were talking about me or knew, knew about me enough to bring me up on a hike in the middle of nowhere.”

While she’s helping others to go the distance, Paige is feeling the reward.

“I think it’s really built up a lot of confidence in myself, I know that I can do it. I know that I can do it if I work hard enough. Feeling like you’ve done something really hard, maybe something that you didn’t think that you could do, and then at the end of the day you’re like, I made it. My body brought me here. I worked really hard and just feeling that feeling of being proud of yourself is amazing.”

Paige shared her experiences about Tumbledown Mountain in Franklin County.

“That one started out super hard I didn’t think that I was going to be able to make it, but I just pushed myself and made it through and it was an amazing experience.”

On her Instagram she rates the hikes. She also has some tips if you want to get started.

“The thing that helps me the most is I invite other people, and then I’m like, well now I have to go because I’ve made plans with other people. And those end up being the best days because you get to spend time with your friends in nature, you have other people encouraging you to do hard things, and it just ends up being worth it. There was a lot of fear like I was scared that I would kind of bite off more than I could chew like pick a mountain that’s too big and then not be able to do it and so I think there was just a lot of nerves, about that, but now I know like as long as I take my time like I can do any mountain that I want to do.”

To connect with Paige, head to her Instagram.

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