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This interactive hiking challenge is giving Vancouver dog owners one more reason to get outside

The participant who collects the most points by Jan. 31 will be eligible to win an impressive pup-friendly prize pack.
dog - sunset hike near vancouver
If you needed any more incentive to get outside and hit a few of Vancouver's trails with your four-legged best friend in 2021, PawSwap's new interactive hiking challenge should do the trick.

If the pandemic has done anything, it's made us hyper-aware of just how important it is to spend time outdoors. 

But sometimes—particularly on those dreary, drizzly winter days Vancouver is so used to—it can be difficult to muster up the motivation to climb out from under the covers, throw on a puffer jacket and head outside in search of some fresh air. 

A Vancouver company has just the solution for that. 

PawSwap, a B.C.-based pet app, recently launched a new interactive (and dog-friendly) hiking challenge, designed to motivate British Columbians and their pups to get out and explore B.C.'s natural beauty. 

The app's Hikes & Trails Challenge kicked off on Thursday, Jan. 7, and is set to run until the end of the month. The premise is simple: the more hikes an app user completes, the more points they receive. At the end of a challenge, the participant who collects the most points will win the grand prize, an "Adventure Outdoor Pack" worth over $1700. 

The challenge also offers participants a chance to collect triple the points for completing any of the three specific hikes or trails that will be highlighted on the PawSwap map every week—this not only gives locals a chance to get ahead of the competition, but also provides them with an incentive to discover new hikes. 

"With many struggling to stay active due to gym closures and COVID restrictions on group fitness classes, the Hikes & Trails challenge is designed to give participants a fun and safe way to keep fit with the added bonus of having their dog involved," challenge organizers explained in a news release.

Those interested in signing up for the challenge will also need to sign up for PawSwaps premium version, which comes at a cost of $1.99 per month. 

Once signed up, participants will be able to compare and keep track of their progress on a virtual leaderboard. 

"The start of a new year is always a popular time to make fitness resolutions for yourself. We wanted to make sure your dog was also included with a fun challenge to not only stay active, but also to explore beautiful B.C." said Carly Geill, PawSwap's marketing manager, in the release.

“After being stuck indoors for so long and with travel restrictions still in place, we think this is the perfect time to highlight the outdoor adventures available on our doorsteps that we can enjoy responsibly and safely - and give even more incentive to get active with an exciting prize for the winner.”

The prize pack includes: 

 - a 2-night dog-friendly stay in a Studio Lake View Suite at Whistler's Nita Lake Lodge

- Brize 25 Backpack' from Arc'teryx

- Protective Dog Jacket from The K9 Guard

- ‘The Foghorn’ toque and ‘Woodsy & Me’ Cap from Wirth Hats 

- 15 Signature fresh dog meals from Kafka’s Organic

- 30 day supply of smoothies courtesy of Justgo Smoothie

- 6 piece ‘Pets Don't Stink’ grooming set from Walton Wood Farm

- 10 bag customized variety pack with your favourites from Hardbite