Mick Dodge’s 30-Day Challenge: Week 1

Legendary wildman Mick Dodge lives life by his own unique philosophy in the wilderness of Washington state. Want to live like Mick? Follow his 30-day challenge to get in tune with the nature around you. Or as Mick explains, “You have 30 days to follow your feet, so your ancient body wisdom can teach. Yoish!”

So kick off those shoes and see if you can keep up!

Week One: Remember

Objective: Sensory awareness … wake up 200,000 nerve endings in your sole.

Day One

  • Watch Mick’s video on walking:

  • Get your feet touching and moving. Step outside (if possible) to explore the habitat outside your home. Practice 10-20 minutes on different surfaces. Study your reactions, reflections and responses from how your feet react.


Day Two

  • Find a stone, rock, or stick outside that you can take on your walk. What can you pick up on your walk and what can you do with it as you walk?
  • Open up your senses… notice what you hear and see differently.
  • Share a photo of something wild in your environment. Remember to tag #MickDodge.


Day Three

  • Draw a simple 4-square-mile map of the terrain surrounding your house, with your house in the middle, and label the map with north, south, east and west. Choose a direction and take off — barefoot or in a soft shoe so you are walking on the earth as much as possible. Even if there are sidewalks, choose to walk on the earth next to the paved areas to increase your contact with the earth whenever possible.
  • How far can you get? Venture farther in your habitat. Notice what is a mile away from your house.
  • Questions to ask yourself:
    1. How far can you walk from your house without running into a barrier?
    2. What do you notice about your habitat that you didn’t notice before?


Day Four

  • Repeat day three but in a different direction.
  • Photograph something you notice that you didn’t before. We used to be surrounded by nature, but now there are walls every three feet. Did you realize how confined your habitat is?
  • Notice what you have to go around… can you go around it? This is creating reference with your habitat.


Day Five

  • Repeat day four in another direction.


Day Six

  • Repeat day four in another direction.


Day Seven

  • Walk/training in the dark. Do it indoors, blindfolded–and carefully… let your feet lead you. Use your sense of touch to guide you. Do this for 10 minutes (if you need to have someone guide you, that’s fine).

Going to partake in the 30-Day Mick Dodge challenge? Let us know! Share your experience in the comments and be sure to come back next week for Week 2’s challenge! And be sure to follow the adventures of Mick and his forest-dwelling friends in new episodes of The Legend of Mick Dodge, Tuesdays at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic Channel.


  1. anthony j belisle
    phila pa
    January 29, 2015, 5:28 pm


  2. linda
    oklahoma city Oklahoma
    January 29, 2015, 5:32 pm

    Mick I plan on doin this even though ive gone barefoot all my life n walked many a country mile barefoot and in the dark I love you and your show and respect what you stand for keep it up

  3. Jamey Roberts
    omak wa.
    January 29, 2015, 5:59 pm

    Count me in.Already living an adventure in the Rogue river area.would love to try and see if I have what it takes.

  4. Charlotte
    Washington State
    January 29, 2015, 6:16 pm

    This is a great 30 day challenge offered by Mick. I suggest to repeat it for another 30 days to really establish your footing and your mental focus and feel your surroundings and your connection to the earth. Thank you National Geographic for this opportunity!

  5. Rebecca Nordic Wolf
    Black Forest,Colorado
    January 29, 2015, 6:26 pm

    I’m really going to try this ,it makes perfect sense to me , Thank You both , for the lessons and I love your show!! ,Hugs and Wokf Howls,Rebecca

  6. Ananda Lansaw
    United States
    January 29, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I love the show and find it inspirering. I try to incorperate the things I see in the show into my everyday life.:)

  7. Richard Corkum
    Western Shore,Nova Scotia, CANADA
    January 29, 2015, 7:32 pm

    A bit to much Snow here now for this,But when I was young,Up until about age 10 I was always in Bare Feet.

  8. Lee Galentine
    San Mateo California
    January 29, 2015, 8:03 pm

    Starting today…

  9. Joann Davis
    Indy, Indiana
    January 29, 2015, 8:18 pm

    I have a camp in the hills of southeran Indiana and with my grand kids practice much of this . just wish we could do it every day

  10. Wendy Heath
    January 29, 2015, 9:32 pm

    Oh I would love it, but alas this 60 year old body can’t do that type of stuff anymore. I hope they film it all, I so enjoy your adventures!

  11. Samantha Darcy
    January 29, 2015, 11:38 pm

    You had me at Yoish ~ My heart almost dropped out of my mouth when I first read your post. I thought you were screening for applicants to actually do the 30 day adventure with Mick in real life.

    Every ounce of my being wants to point my feet West, directly at the forest. I listen to your shows on my cell phone wifi every night. It is my hope in this hopeless world.

    I did everything I set out to do with my business but it only sustains me, it does not feed my soul. I walk around in a large faux fur in the winter, crock shoes because they are the closest I can get to being barefoot …….I have always been this way. As a child barefoot till I was told at 11 that I must put on shoes, years earlier I would leave home to wonder the woods in search of things. They say I would go to a local school where they were teaching Taiwanese. (military brat, Navy) I was too young to remember.

    Anyway, it has become very clear to me that I don’t belong here (The Main Line of Philadelphia) I would hope that some day you will post a way for people like me to meet with Mick and his people. I know he will be my first stop on my grande exodus of this area.

  12. R. Sam Sachs
    Seattle, Wa
    January 30, 2015, 3:38 am

    You and your friends have a great community. It reminds me of the ones in San Fran in the 60s and then up here in Seattle in the 70s. I’m so glad that these things still exist in this hard and cruel time. It used to be that people help each other to not only survive but to thrive. I truly wish I could join you up in the Ho!

    Thanks for sharing your world with us!

    With much love,

  13. Rachel Flower
    January 30, 2015, 10:53 am

    So great to spend time with you when you were in Tahoe, Mick. We have a number of people here following the challenge and following their feet so the earth can teach.

  14. John Chetlo
    Washington State
    January 30, 2015, 7:04 pm

    I think we’re missing an important point about the name of the show. It’s not the “story” of Mick Dodge, or the “history” – it’s the LEGEND. And legends always include fiction. We could all be picky about inaccuracies – like, Mick goes to a place he calls O. G. (for Old Growth) Canyon to check on his apprentice. But strangely, there don’t seem to be any old-growth trees in the area. Not to mention that his apprentice has managed to gather a mess of blackberries, even though these are an invasive species in Washington State and virtually nonexistent in a primal woods. By contrast, in another episode we’re told that devil’s club is a rare species when in fact it grows all over the place. Nor does it matter that Mick doesn’t spend all his time in the wilderness. I live in a modern city, but I’ve also walked Northwest trails barefoot and picked salmon berries in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. What does matter is that the various episodes give Mick a chance to explain his philosophy about the importance of getting back to your roots in the wilderness, and to preserve the wilderness from exploiters and “amateur” campers armed with fireworks. It’s a point of view that’s as old as Huckleberry Finn and Daniel Boone. And it desperately needs to be emphasized in the over-urbanized America of today.

  15. MickDodge Wannabeee
    Scottsboro Al
    January 30, 2015, 7:44 pm

    Gonna give it a shot! Going to get the kids into this as well.

  16. mick dodge
    Olympic Mountains
    January 31, 2015, 12:38 pm

    Yoish! I followed my bare soles up into the tree house that Karl and others of the clan put up into the canopy of the forest, tracking the moon and stars. It was a beautiful winter evening. Then footed my way here to the Valhalla, (Valley Hall Laughing) base camp to connect to the electronic world wide web, stepping out of the earth web. In and out and out and in and if you will notice the word “and” comes up three times and sounds into the word “land”. It is so inspiring to read what others are sharing in following their feet into remembering, recovering “and” re-storying their footing with the land. Samantha, you write well and inspire me to grip more of the cold with my toes! mick

  17. mick dodge
    Olympic Mountains
    January 31, 2015, 12:41 pm

    Yoish! Following you around in the lands of Tahoe was amazing for me Rachel. I picked up a lot of new “hammering” moves from you. Say hello to the clan down there. It is a great place to land the bare soles. mick

  18. moonhair
    Lake Tahoe
    January 31, 2015, 2:51 pm

    Glad to see participation! If you have feet you can do this! Any age, any weather… you can do this. shift your awareness to your feet and let them touch the earth so it can touch you back. Step1: … find them… look at your sole and then Step 2: connect your foot sole to the earth soul. Like the lawn, dirt, moss right outside your door.. If snow, put on a moccasin, soft sole boot and try gripping even in your soft boot. free your feet to feel the earth and notice how the shape of your foot fits the organic shape of the earth, vs the flat asphalt that make thick soles desirable.

  19. moonhair
    Olympic mtns
    January 31, 2015, 3:00 pm

    and if you need additional motivation to free your earth soles (for even 10 minutes a day)

  20. Allison Silberberg
    Walker Pass/Onyx CA
    February 1, 2015, 5:18 am

    Hello Mick,
    My husband and I Really enjoy watching your show. I am doing your challange and loving it. Yesterday was day 2 and I really got into it and completely enjoyed it. Can not wait to start day 3 today. You are a inspiration

  21. Hildegarde Pile
    United States
    February 1, 2015, 10:37 am

    I thank the universe that I live in a very remote area and have done some of the challenge already. I want to thank you, Mick for your wake up call. I’m going to vary my routine using the challenge as a basis. Think I’m gonna wait till its above freezing though.

  22. Hildegarde Pile
    United States
    February 1, 2015, 10:48 am

    Mick, I need to say this. I don’t want to come up to the Hoh and disturb the force there with my vibe. I’m just so glad you share your gift with us and am content with having a teacher from afar. I know from what “civilization” has done here on our land, which this family has tried to steward. Ginseng used to be plentiful here along with morels and other gifts from the earth. We did not decimate them. Poachers did.

  23. Jessica Campbell
    Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA (Sonora pass)
    February 1, 2015, 4:31 pm

    I am absolutely thrilled to step out into my own wilderness to try the 30 day challenge, I am barefoot most of the time anyways an absolutely enjoy hiking barefoot, I hope to gain more awareness from this challenge and see a little bit more of the wisdom Mick Dodge has to teach! Yoish!

  24. Jean Clough
    February 2, 2015, 3:21 pm

    This is really cool, Mick. I love the creativity, yet the absolute profundity of your efforts to help the earth! Love to you. PS – I’m doing the challenge. I’m sick today, but hope to get out in my moccasins.

  25. Sharalyn Zander
    February 3, 2015, 4:44 am

    Wish I was there.

  26. rhonda
    elma wa
    February 3, 2015, 11:59 am

    mick dodge I Have committed myself to this way of life It’s going to be a great challenge I’am ex-army.I had surgury on both feet and was on28 med’s wheelchaired for 8 years.With termination my husband nad I startred to get me off of med’s.I now in one year lost over 100lbs started getting all my senses back and able to walk.I’m hoping this will help me with more sense’s and a healthier way of life love you mick and your beautiful friends. I live in the woods. and love the nature thank’s

  27. Jared
    Milwaukee, WI
    February 3, 2015, 4:30 pm

    Right now it is a tad bit cold close to 0 degrees, and have close to 2 feet of snow on the ground, as soon as it gets warmer, and I have no chance of getting frost bite from walking in the snow I will do 30 day challenge.

  28. […] Mick Dodge’s 30-Day Challenge: Week 1 […]

  29. Dude McLean
    the High desert in California , mojave, the edge of back of beyond
    February 3, 2015, 8:53 pm

    Mick, At my age, 76, it is hard to be a fan of anyone, but you captured me.. because of nerve problems the bare foot thing is out for me but I do wear mocs of elk skin and it is almost barefoot. I am a former Marine, Semper fi, and that helps my determination to see things through. Just walking off a trail gets your senses going for sure. I work out everyday and will honor the challenge. I like many of your techniques.
    I have written many articles called the Feral Woodsman on my website dirttime,com , used to write for Wilderness Way magazine for 7 years..Keep up the great work enjoy your sense of humor .all my respect.

  30. amberly fleming
    February 3, 2015, 9:04 pm

    I love how mike lives and how he takes care of his forest I love to barefoot anywhere and every where I hate shoes I also love being in the woods myself I would love to live like u too,,

  31. Bobo
    Pennypack Watershed
    February 4, 2015, 9:48 am

    Free your feet and your @ss will follow!

  32. John
    February 6, 2015, 3:33 am

    Mick when you are walking barefooted out in the forest, do you ever wonder if you might get poison ivy on your feet and legs or is there not any poison ivy there to worry about? That is my only concern about going barefooted in the woods because here in Texas there is a lot and I am highly allergic to it.

  33. Tyler Roozen
    Mount Vernon, WA
    February 17, 2015, 12:41 pm

    All I needed was another reason to be outdoors, nothing like being barefoot among the trees. This is a great 30 day challenge. Normally I am off with a small pack with a hammock, I walk until I find some place that stands out for its beauty and set it up rain or shine. I love the outdoors I always have and always will. I can’t wait until my job slows down and the days are a little bit longer so I have more daylight after work. Thanks for a reason to step away from it all, thank you Earthgym and thank you Mick.

  34. Scott Bruno
    March 5, 2015, 9:02 am

    Not sure if Mick or any of his followers in here feel it, but I clearly feel it coming. That is to say the total and utter collapse of the system we’ve come to embrace today as our standard way of life. It’s not conducive to our mother (NATURE) and it certainly isn’t getting any closer to our father (CREATION). What’s more is America is now a place of 100% consumption, 0% production, with the only real means of income generated from our warring. Just as in Rome, this too shall falter and fall away. It’s coming. Mick is helping us realize what it is going to take to get back to the roots of our souls and ancestry, and what it is going to take to survive the coming transition. Remember, in order for the new to be born, the old must die.

    Love, Life and Power,
    “Christ brought love by his sacrifice to us, Buddha brought us light on high, and now we add Power; in essence the reminder to all that their free will of choice is what makes for their entire experience here and is ultimately the architect of their destiny!” 13 2015

  35. The Wolf
    Birmingham, AL
    April 23, 2015, 8:59 am

    Semper Fi Mick! Love your show, and watch it when possible. I raise wolves so I tend to be really busy. Like my wolves your show directs people to what is truely important. Also, your word yoish, may be a latent memory of Okinawa where “Yoshi” sounds exactly like how you say yours, means “alright!”. But you saying you had been there reminded me. I was w/ 3/7 Lima co. Part of III MEF over there. Anyway, love you brother and what your doing Semper Fi!

  36. Yay ponies
    June 12, 2015, 1:24 pm

    YAY! I’m DEFINITELY gonna do this!! As I said: YAY!!

  37. dave w
    September 8, 2015, 4:45 am

    I have lived 7 years barefoot or just moccassins.
    I wore elk mocs completely out. now they are out of buffalo. Working on elk pants right now.

    any guidance is welcomed

    dave w.

  38. dave w
    September 8, 2015, 4:50 am

    i would like to see how the snow is handled.
    I know you hyberbate – I try to.
    If i pick up a piece of property.
    mybe we can explore it together in the woods of kentucky.

    much respect and honor from me to you.