We had the good fortune of connecting with Sonali Sahu and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sonali, what are you inspired by?
I haven’t grown up hiking/camping back in India because it wasn’t part of the culture back then. When I first moved to United States in 2017, I was inspired and intrigued by the idea that people go on vacation to hike.

Even though I started hiking back in 2017, it was never my priority. I used to do easy hikes occasionally while visiting the National Parks.

Back in 2020 because of pandemic lot of people started opting Outdoors and I am no exception & that’s how my journey started. I ended up taking a 10 days hiking trip to Colorado with my spouse. Our goal was to hike a 14er on our 10th day.

Little did I know that I will be obsessed. It made me realize that I have been missing on so much fun in my life. So now I am trying to make up for all the time lost.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an Engineer by Profession and Traveler at heart. I work full time as an IT Professional who loves to travel every chance she gets.

I am a National Park geek, outdoor lover and Mountains are my jam. My goal is to hike every US National Parks. So far, I have been to 23 out of 63 US National Parks. In 2021, I explored a total of 11 National Parks out of which 9 were new and this year I have a goal to visit at least 12 more National Parks. Wish me luck!

Hiking has opened up a whole new world of travel for me and it has changed my life for good. There is no better feeling than exploring a new place, hiking to the top of a mountain, connecting with nature and doing spontaneous road trips.

I am grateful that my body has taken me to so many beautiful places that younger me would’ve never ever dreamed about and for that I’m really very thankful!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Few of my favorite places for a good hike nearby is Red River Gorge, KY and Hocking Hills State Park, OH. Both the places are just around 2 hour’s drive from Cincinnati, perfect for a weekend getaway or a day-trip.

Red river gorge is Kentucky’s treasure. For lunch one cannot miss Miguel’s Pizza. Few of my favorite trails in the area are Grays Arch, Double Arch & Natural Bridge. Another must stop would be Historic Nada Tunnel.

Hocking Hills is a Midwest gem, not many people are aware about this place. It’s an Outdoor lover’s paradise. It’s known for its caves, gorge, unique rock formations, & waterfalls. Few of my favorite trails are Old Man’s cave, Conkle’s Hollow (Rim trail), Rock House, Ash Cave, Cedar falls. For coffee & snacks we can stop at Hocking hills Coffee Emporium.

If my friend is not interested in hiking, I would take them to the Findlay Market for good local food and coffee. Then take a walk on Cincinnati’s Roebling Bridge, the bridge connects Ohio and Kentucky and was designed by the same person who designed Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Then would take them to Cincinnati Zoo, it’s the 2nd oldest zoo in US. And I would end the day at a local brewery Madtree or Rhinegeist, both are just awesome.

Otherwise, one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend is to go biking along Little Miami Scenic Trail. The trails pass by small towns and we can make various stops along the biking trail for coffee, beer and food.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to my partner, Rajiv. He is a big support and inspiration to me. He loves being Outdoors exploring nature. Both Rajiv and I have learnt a lot in last couple of years and have definitely come a long way. Our love for hiking just keeps increasing as the days go by.

Best part is he is up for any spontaneous plans which I think of. He is the one who encourages me always to push my limits and keep going. I feel he doesn’t get enough credit for what he does behind the scenes for my Instagram handle “insane_filters” and for my future YouTube channel which I plan to launch it very soon. And so, I would like to say a big “Thank You” to him on this platform for everything he does for me.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/insane_filters/

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCPxplwOk1B2pxSES481EIdA

Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@insane_filters

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.