Hillsborough woman loses 50 lbs after taking up hiking

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hiking can sometimes be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. It doesn’t have to be though. A little incentive, and knowing where to go will have you hitting the trails like a pro!

“I was trying to lose weight. I turned 50 this year, and I was determined not to be fat and 50,” says Claire Brantley.

She is walking to towards a healthier self one trail at a time. Something she never imagined herself doing.

“I thought it meant walking up and down mountains, and we don’t have any mountains here in Florida obviously. I wasn’t sure I could do something that strenuous cause I was a beginner. I’d never done any kind of exercise at all,” says Brantley.

It all started when Hillsborough County extended a challenge to all; hike 8 trails and you’ll be rewarded.

“I did the eight. I got the little medal. I put it on my walking stick, and then I kind of got the bug,” says Brantley.

Now she continues to hike around Florida, and other parts of the U.S., making new friends, and exploring much of Florida.

“You could bring a wheelchair on here, and that’s not true of all the hikes, or strollers. Some hikes, they specifically identify as being wheelchair friendly,” says Brantley.

Making it easy for all is a motivator for inviting family of all ages to come and enjoy the outdoors.

“Right now here we are at Eureka Springs Park but I-4 is right over there and I-75 is right over there and there’s an airport right over there! Right here in the middle of urban everything, it’s a beautiful little oasis.”

Now at 50, Brantley can say she’s feeling good and looking fit!

“I’ve lost 50 lbs so far with a combination of doing Weight Watchers, but also doing the right thing. It just helps, you don’t have to eat quite so perfectly if you have a good exercise plan,” says Brantley.

The Hillsborough County Hiking Spree starts November 1st. You don’t have to wait until then. You can start any time, and all it takes is that first step.

Read Claire’s hiking blog here

Hillsborough County Hiking Spree information 



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