A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single steplao tzu
Definitions for “Hiking” include: the activity of going for long walks, especially in the country or woods (Oxford Dictionaries), “to go on an extended walk for pleasure or exercise, especially in a natural setting” (The Free Dictionary), “walking in nature as a recreational activity” (Britannica).
There is no special training for hiking, unless it is for long-distance, significant elevation gain, or overnight backpacking. As you can see from the definitions above, hiking is essentially long walks in the woods. Sometimes though, work and other life commitments can get in the way of you spending time outside and, among other things walking or hiking. However, many studies have shown that spending time outside reduces stress and improves overall health. I believe all we need is a little push and motivation from time to time to get us moving. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- A buddy system works well for me. If possible, find a friend who has a similar goal to hike or walk with you. Recently our friend group did a 10,000 steps per day challenge for March. It was a great way to get us walking outside and building up some endurance for longer hikes. The person on the top of the leader board ended up with 600,000+ steps. For an average person, a mile equals about 2000 to 2500 steps.
- Join or form a walking/hiking group. A few of us in the group own the same brand of activity tracking device so we can connect via the activity app. We can view each other’s activities and give a gentle nudge when necessary. This will work particularly well if you are competitive, or it may bring out the competitive side of you.
- Start easy and look for local trails. Start with walking around your neighborhood, and take the opportunity to walk instead of drive whenever possible. For example, I would walk to the library or get my bubble tea fix which is about 2.5 miles round trip from home. I have also walked back after dropping my car off for service which was a little over 3 miles away. Invite your family to do the same and before you know it, everyone will begin a new healthy habit.
- Put it on your daily schedule. Whether you are working in the office or at home, schedule a walk during your break whenever possible. You may even be able to work outside on a nice day.
- Plan a road trip or vacation to the outdoors. The urban concrete jungle does not appeal to me anymore. I love hiking, walking, camping, road trips to National Parks, and seeing the natural beauty of what Earth offers.
- Keep a to-hike list. Most of the hiking apps allow you to save trails that you want to hike in the future, or you can make your own list for quick search and planning. Other suggestions to add to the list are botanical gardens, local neighborhood parks, state parks, and beaches.
- Last but not least, just go out there and do it.
We are lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest where we can hike all year round, be it under the sunny blue sky, rainy day, snowy day, cloudy day, sunrise, sunset, day, or night. Although I miss international travels, this past year with the pandemic left us with plenty of time to explore in the US. Here are some of the places that we explored and maybe you will get some inspiration to go outside.
We visited Mount Rainier National Park several times in the summer and winter, hiking and snowshoeing. Mount Rainier, looming high at 14,410 feet above sea level, is the most glaciated active volcano in the contiguous U.S.A. This was taken when we hiked the Glacier Basin trail overlooking Emmons Glacier.
Fourth of July camping at a dispersed campsite in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This was the ‘backyard’ of our campsite.
An incredible end of summer road trip to Utah. You can read more about this trip on my older post here.
We went on some beautiful fall hikes both in the mountains and local parks, immersing ourselves in those vibrant fall colors.
Winter getaway to Winthrop, WA. What better ways to beat the winter blues than hotpot, and sitting around a cozy fire surrounded by nature and friends? We arrived at the beautiful cabin almost 5 hours later, driving through snowy mountain passes and picturesque highways. There was no shortage of winter outdoor activities in Winthrop. We walked, biked on the snow-covered winter trails, and even sled down icy hills.
First camping trip of this year to Deception Pass State Park, WA with my son. We were blessed with two beautiful days to hike the trails in the park and surrounding areas.
We spent Easter weekend camping in Fort Stevens State Park right on the Oregon coast. This is a beautiful park with a long stretch of coastline to walk on.
Spring is here, bringing warmer temperatures and longer days. There is no better time than now to start hiking or venture outside. I had originally intended to write 2 posts for this series but continued with 3 and 4 because I felt I had more information to share. Hopefully, you are now equipped with some basic knowledge and essentials to hit the trails. Don’t forget to give us a follow on Instagram and get some inspiration for your adventures. Happy trails!