Hiking Mount Nittany for 24 Hours

Mike Lynch overlook at Mount Nittany
Mike Lynch overlook at Mount Nittany
Destiny Rhymer

A lot of people take Labor Day to go on a small trip or stay home and relax, but some people created a tradition that challenges them mentally and physically. Hiking up Mount Nittany can be pretty mild, but to hike it 24 times in 24 hours can be a challenge. 

Nick Bastian, staff pastor at Cedar Heights Church, and Mark Puleo thought of an idea in 2020 to get community members outside and hang out with everyone again. That idea was inspired by other crazy tough activities they did before Covid. 

Bastian and Puleo dragged a few people with them, including Bastain’s brother James Bastian, a senior at Penn State, and Jacob Groger, another senior at Penn State. This started the wild tradition.

“Mark and I both really enjoyed pushing our limits, kind of physically and mentally at the same time and sort of suffer and see what we were capable of was really appealing. And then we looped Jacob and James in on it. And sure enough, we had a crew of people that were willing to all suffer together,” Nick Bastian said.

The hikers start at 7 p.m., meaning they are finished by 7 p.m. the next day. The path they take is called the White Blaze Trail. They go up and touch the sign a few steps away from the Mike Lynch outlook, and depending on how much rest they want, determines how fast they go back down.

“There were five of us who did the entire thing, but we had a TON of visitors,” Groger said.

The supplies play a big part in setting up the hikes. The hikers grab all sorts of things from the store to keep them hydrated and energized. The hikers realized that fruits are something nice to eat, while having things like water, gatorade, and sometimes some red bull helped to keep them going.

They go up the mountain once every hour. In order to go up and come back down, resting can be a key. Having things like chairs, blankets and a tent are essential to staying comfortable. 

James Bastian described being there the whole 24 hours as so mentally exhausting and very repetitive. He also mentioned that the hikes are much more mentally challenging because of sleep deprivation.

The event has been going on for four years now and there are talks that next year could be the last year. 

 The news of 24 by Nittany possibly ending has people wondering if it is too soon. Although in theory, it has to end at some point.

“As long as it goes, I will probably be there, mainly because it feels like a tradition now,” Groger stated.

24 by Nittany has had positive reviews. James Bastian likes the idea of challenging yourself and getting out of your normal day to day rhythm. He definitely recommends doing 24 by Nittany.

“What we usually do is we usually have all the people that are there to watch us finish, they all hike up with us and we hang out at the overlook and get a picture together. And it’s just a fun moment to celebrate how hard it was together,” James Bastian shared.

And finally after the last hike, the hikers get to reflect on all the new memories and friends made throughout.

“I’ve realized it’s such a fun community event. Like having all sorts of friends kind of passing through over the course of the next 24 hours. I always walk away from it feeling like I have some of the best friends in the world like it’s just to be supported and encouraged the way that they do each year is such a boost. So that’s also something that I feel like sticks out whenever I think about 24 by Nittany specifically,” Nick Bastian said.

2024 is slated to be a big year for the event, as it could be the last one. 24 by Nittany is a fun event and a good chance to meet new people and hang out with other friends.

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    Nathan RhymerSep 19, 2023 at 8:56 PM

    Great job, sir. I’m sure that a trip up and down would be all this guy could do. 😉