Look Up!

P1010478Fall weather is the best. The temperatures are cooler and all the trees and plants put their energy into one last dazzling show before winter. It’s the perfect time to hike.  As a kid, my dad took us on random hikes all the time.  Some were half hour jaunts at Red Rock Canyon, where we did more climbing than hiking. Some were long—half a day or more.  When we visited my grandparents in southern Utah, we’d hike trails in Zion National Park (heaven on Earth).

To some, hiking might seem the epitome of pointlessness.  Why work so hard to get up to a ridge, just to come down again? And your feet hurt! If you feel that way, maybe you just haven’t gone on the right hikes…or gone prepared with the right equipment and attitude.

Here are my hiking hints.

P10104881—LOTS of WATER

Don’t leave home without it!  The longer the hike, the more you should take.  Keeping hydrated helps you not get headaches and other problems.

P10104962—FUEL UP

Take snacks or lunch to keep energized.  Salty snacks are good to replenish your lost sweat.  In the desert, not too much can be said about water and food.  I like to chew gum to keep my mouth moist too.

RedFish Lake 1233—DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA

Seeing new sights is one of the payoffs of hiking.  I love snapping pictures to remember places I’ve been, capture a stray deer or fox that bounds by, or a gurgling stream.  There’s also nothing like a silly family photo out in the wild.

IMG_84794—INVEST IN STURDY SHOES

Don’t hike in cheap sandals; blisters are a pain.  The longer the hike, the better shoes you should have for support.  If your feet are comfortable, you’ll like hiking a lot better. I promise.

yellowstone 1115—SEEK ADVENTURE

The same hike, done year after year, yields different results.  Wildflowers might abound in a meadow one year and not the next because of drought.  I’ve had grand adventures hiking:  a hailstorm on a ridge at 9,000 feet where we had to seek shelter under a dead log as lightning struck all around us; a baby bear has run across my path; we’ve come around a bend in Yellowstone to find a huge buffalo blocking our path; and a swarm of ladybugs that got caught in my hair and nostrils (I like ladybugs, but not in droves).  Even if nothing crazy like that happens though, it’s still exciting to anticipate what’s around the next bend or on top of a ridge.

Picture 0516—ENJOY

When you hike, you look down at your shoes a lot (another good reason to have good ones).  You don’t want to trip over a rock or exposed tree root. But if you never take time to look up, you’re missing out on what makes hikes truly enjoyable.  It’s not the rutted path you travel (those look quite the same whether you’re in the desert or a forest).  You must stop occasionally to partake of the beauty around you.  Look up, look outward…and ENJOY.  This tip applies to life in general.

Hikes can be small half hour jaunts or week long expeditions requiring lots of planning and equipment.  It all depends on your stamina and what you enjoy.  I, for one, love the small to medium hikes because they’re easy to do and are just as enjoyable as a long one that takes more effort…and my feet don’t ache for days.

Whether you enjoy short or long ones, HIKING has great payoffs if you go prepared to ENJOY!  Life is a hike. Lift your eyes up from the ground and enjoy all the blessings around you.

Char

18 thoughts on “Look Up!

  1. Good advice….. I used to take the kids hiking at Red Rock Canyon (Las Vegas) all the time. Its important to keep an eye on the trail too for the snakes sunning themselves 🙂

    • I never saw snakes there, but I saw them several times in S. Utah hiking. I guess we were lucky, because we kids would go off on our own and climb around on the rocks like crazy in Red Rock.

  2. This makes me think of a hiking story. I think that may be my next blog post. And Zion State Park has to go on my to-see list. Sounds wonderful.

    • Zion is my favorite. It’s not a huge park (actually quite small compared to others), but it is jam packed with beauty and tons of hikes (from short ones to Weeping Rock) to longer ones like The Narrows and Angel’s Landing. You definitely must see someday.

      • I was at a writer’s meeting last night and there were two women who went to college in Boise, and another woman who lived in Idaho. They all said Idaho is a gorgeous state.

  3. I’ve only been to Zion once and it really is heaven. It’s much more fun to get out there and climb real mountains than those figurative ones that keep popping up all over the place!

    • Yes, I’ve been to Zion a gajillion times since my grandma’s house was half hour from it. But I’ve never tired of it. Those jagged cliffs and colors always leave me breathless.

  4. Ladybugs in my nostrils? Now there’s an incentive. 😉

    You joke about not liking to exercise, but you do these great things like hiking. I won’t tell you that hiking IS actually exercise. Don’t want to spoil it for you. 🙂

    Great pics. As always, I admire your outlook on life.

    • Yes, I know hiking is exercise…but I don’t do it 3 times a week so that it helps me very much. The ladybugs were a weird phenomenon. We came upon this valley and it was inundated with the things. They were in our hair, all over our clothes, etc. You get the point. That many bugs (whether I like them or not) was enough to freak me out. I spent a lot of time in my tent. But ladybugs are better than bees. We spent one campout with millions of bees (and it happened to end up on my birthday/anniversary weekend–how sad). There was a constant buzz. We set cups of water all over the campsite, because they would congregate on those instead of our bodies. Hundreds of bees on a cup of water. They weren’t interested in stinging us, thank goodness, but that was another campout I spend hiding in my tent. Looking back, it was an adventure and funny…I didn’t think that at the time though.

  5. Hiking is a lot of fun and WAY better than most other forms of “exercise”. My kids are still little enough to think just walking around is pointless but I hope they change their minds eventually. We see many, many cool things no matter where we go. Often it’s the little things that bring the most wonder. Unfortunately September and October are some of the hottest months in San Diego. So much for cooler fall temperatures!

    • Really? Sep and Oct are your hottest months? Crazy. My son sounded like yours when he was little. He’d always complain when we hiked, but now, at 12, he really likes it. So there is hope for your sons. And yes, some of the little things you find on a hike bring the most wonder–unique hairy caterpillars and stuff like that.

  6. I love hiking, especially in the fall or spring. I’ve never run into a swarm of ladybugs, though, or bees, thankfully! Gnats are another story. I’m happiest when the bears and cougars stay far, far away. 🙂

    • Yeah, I think I’d prefer bees to bears or cougars. Gnats…hmmm? I don’t know. I hate when they go up my nose or get caught in my eye.

  7. Hiking is one of my favorite forms of outdoor fun/exercise. But I can’t do it in the dead of summer, way too buggy and humid for my tastes. Looks like a beautiful place.

    • Humid and buggy sounds like no fun. Hiking is so much fun. My favorite places are still Kauai (spectacular hiking there) and Yosemite. But I’ve found gems in a lot of other places as well (those 2 places are just packed solid though).

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