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How Isaiah Maxi found nature, and new friends, in Missouri parks

On a hiking trail, Isaiah Maxi ducks beneath fallen log. Babler State Park.
Courtesy of Isaiah Maxi
Isaiah Maxi in Babler State Park in January

Isaiah Maxi has been hiking all over Missouri’s state parks — and he's not doing it alone. He documents his journeys on his Facebook group, The Journey to 100 Hiking Friends, charting his connections across the state.

Maxi, who works for the Missouri Community Service Commission in Jefferson City, didn’t set out to make new friends. In December, he had posted to a Missouri hiking Facebook group about his struggles with isolation through the pandemic and celebrating hiking through 31 Missouri parks in 2022. The post attracted hundreds of comments and new connections — and even inspired media coverage in January in theSpringfield News-Leader.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Maxi discussed his experience hiking across the state while forging connections along the way. He also shared his picks for favorite hiking parks in the St. Louis region, including Lone Elk Park and Cuivre River State Park.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

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Danny Wicentowski is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."