A Day Hike Break
On our drive from Las Vegas to Missoula we took time out for a day hike adventure. Our normal road trip routine is to drive as long as we can, with as few stops as possible, to get to our destination as soon as possible. On this travel day we decided to take a break from the road and enjoy a day hike in a beautiful scenic area. We wanted to stop at Zion National Park, but since access for dogs in national parks is restricted we found another option near by. The Red Cliffs National Conservation Area near St. George, Utah was perfect for a short and scenic escape. We may have arrived a little later than planned to our hotel that night, however, the adventure we experienced on this short day hike recharged us and made the day much more enjoyable.
The hike we chose wasn’t very long, but it took us into a slot canyon. This was my first experience hiking in a slot canyon and the scenery was beautiful and geologically extraordinary. We followed the trail into the canyon until it disappeared into the water and the rock walls left no room to keep our feet dry.
Use Your Imagination
We came upon this old, gnarled tree trunk leaning against a rock. What does it look like to you? Rob and I had the same interpretation. To us, it is obviously the prehistoric remains of a mammoth’s head and trunk left here by an ice age glacier that cut a canyon through the red rocks.
Sometimes, while trekking through the outdoors, you will be faced by physical or mental challenges along the way. You have to assess your own abilities and take risks that you feel capable of. However, stretching yourself to accomplish the challenges that you come upon is another way to keep yourself young and vital. Penny, clearly, has the better end of this tricky climb around the rock wall.
A day hike is an opportunity to clear your mind from stress and fill it with fresh air and new ideas. While enjoying the beauty that nature provides, my mind wanders and is filled with inspiration. While in the outdoors I have space to think, imagine and day-dream. There’s no wifi out on the trails and the break from technology can eases my mind and allows room for creative thoughts to take over.
A day hike lets you immerse yourself in nature where you are surrounded by stunning landscapes. Beautiful vistas, trickling streams, or a lush meadows full of wildflowers will help to calm your nerves and reduce stress.
Hiking keeps you present and can be meditative. Awareness of your surroundings is a treat for your senses. While hiking I am acutely aware of the smells that come from the trees, plants and earth around me. I listen for the sounds of birds and water. My skin feels the sensation of the breeze, the warmth of the sun, or the scrape from a prickly bush encroaching on the trail. I try to identify the plants and wildflowers, and I’m filled with awe at the sight of a snow-capped peak or a rocky cliff. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, my taste buds are aroused by sweet huckleberries. Nature has the ability to awaken every sense to a new experience.
I can always find my happy place when hiking. Whether it is an easy day hike on a soft and shaded trail or a challenging climb up a steep hill with a heavy pack, I’m happy to be outdoors. Part of that happy feeling can be attributed to endorphins that come with exercise. Another mood booster is sunshine. If you are hiking on a sunny day your body is absorbing some vitamin D from the sun and that can lift your mood.
We all know that exercise has many benefits to our overall health. Hiking puts stress on your bones which strengthens them and helps prevent osteoporosis. It also builds muscle tone which will burn fat and help you lose weight. The advantage of hiking is that you can do it away from crowds and with friends. The social aspect makes it feel more like entertainment than exercise.
Enjoy Little Adventures in a Day Hike
A day hike is like a little mood boosting adventure. There are lots of reasons to recharge with a day hike. The natural beauty, fresh air and light to moderate exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. I encourage you to find opportunities to include these little mood boosting adventures into your schedule whenever you can.
When traveling, do you take time out to enjoy the scenery or are you among those who are focussed on destination? Is it possible that the journey being more important than the destination?