Friday, April 21, 2017

Why Hiking Rocks...And My 4 Fave Trails



How's that picture for a happy Friday view?  Yes, my Besties, that's the gorgeous Grand Canyon, circa 2008.  My husband and I decided to go see what all the fuss was about on my grad school spring break.  Needless to say, we were not disappointed.  The Grand Canyon is one of those places where you feel like you can't look everywhere you want all at once.  It is a place you go, and without being able to help it, you marvel.  

In addition to being absolutely breathtaking, our Grand Canyon visit was the first place I discovered hiking, or rather my enjoyment of it.  I grew up rather indoorsy, and I struggle to this day with a desire to be outdoorsy, despite my lack of outdoorsy skills. Thankfully, I'm married to a very outdoorsy guy, who has broadened my horizons, and given me an appreciation for a good hike, and all the wonders nature has to offer.  

Hiking has become a favorite activity of mine, even though we don't get to do it as often as we would like.  I especially love hiking in a new place, seeing animals (except snakes, duh), and just breathing in the fresh air.  All of which fall under the umbrella of self care, I might add.

So today I'm sharing my favorite hikes with the hopes that it might inspire some of my Besties to get outside and get out of your comfort zone, should you happen to be naturally a more indoorsy-type.  

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park - I mean...holy WOW is all I can say about this one.  This is a trail from the top of the South Rim of the canyon alllllll the way down to the bottom. We did it all in one day.  PSYCH!  Yeah RIGHT.  I know my husband wishes we would have, but come on...baby steps.  We did hike 2.5 miles down into the canyon, stopped and had a picnic lunch, and then hiked 2.5 miles back up.  You might be thinking that's only a 5 mile hike...NBD.  Well let me just say, 2.5 miles down ain't nothin, but 2.5 miles BACK UP...is a very, very, big deal...at least it was for me! (We did pass some hooligans who were on their way back up from hiking all the way down and back up in one day - overachievers!)  It was just gorgeous though, with the views of the canyon changing at every turn.  Seriously, I found myself stopping every few minutes to catch my breath take pictures.  When we reached the rim again, my husband and I were all high fives and hugs because, well...I didn't die.  And also, that. was. awesome.  

Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park - Initially I was afraid to do this walk (not because of the elevation...The Everglades is a straight up swamp, all of which is situated below sea level)...but because I was worried I would see snakes.  The struggle is real, my Besties.  Thankfully, I saw zero...but I saw about a zillion alligators and that was so, so fun.  They just hang out everywhere and it feels like you shouldn't be able to get that close to them, but you do...and again, you live to tell the tale.  My husband laughed at me because I took about a thousand pictures of alligators without even realizing it...ahem, this was in the days before smartphones.  If you love warm weather, reptiles, and easy walks, the Anhinga Trail is for you.  

Cadillac North Ridge Trail, Acadia National Park - If you have never been to Acadia National Park, you must go.  In the words of Ferris Bueller, "If you have the means, I highly recommend it." Even if you don't like hiking, it is just stunning.  One of my favorite things about it was the smell...salty ocean air + piney forests = ahhhhmazing.  Another highlight were the glorious views from Cadillac Mountain.  Full disclosure, we had our kids with us so we didn't hike the entire North Ridge Trail (or even close to it), but we did a fair amount of walking and looking and picture taking.  My husband has a list of like four other hikes he wants to do in Acadia, but when we don't have a six and three year old to keep away from ledges.  They're cute, but mama had a few heart palpitations with her babes up on those ledges.  

Brandywine Gorge Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Here, I am paying homage to my roots.  I grew up in Ohio, not far from Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Brandywine Falls was a favorite spot for almost everyone I knew.  This trail is short (about 1.5 miles) and much of it is a boardwalk, providing an easy way to access the deep gorge cut by the 65 foot falls.  I know I'm biased, but it really is a beautiful spot.

My husband and I are already planning our next big adventures: Shenandoah National Park this summer with our boys, and the Kalalau Trail in Na Pali Coast State Park (that's in Hawaii, y'all! Woot woot!!) in 2018...without them.  ;)

Tell us your favorite hiking spots in the comments!  Have a great weekend, my friends!

3 comments:

  1. Cuyahoga National Forest hike to Bridal Veil Falls. Love that one. Ask Matt. I bet it's a favorite of his too.

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    1. Ah, yes!! That is such a good one too!

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  2. Cuyahoga National Forest hike to Bridal Veil Falls. Love that one. Ask Matt. I bet it's a favorite of his too.

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