“It’s raining. I don’t think we should hike today.”
“Oh now, come on over. You’ll be fine. It’s not really raining here. We’re all waiting for you.”
I knew that Nan would help me from reverting to my old city slicker ways. I was a committed Alaska woman now. With layers of clothes on and a rain poncho caressing the back seat of my car, I drove to Nan’s ready for my hiking adventure. Traversing beautiful country in Palmer, we made the two miles up to the top of the Butte after about an hour and a half, a little chilled from the rain that did come after all, but feeling triumphant. There was even a park bench at the top to sit on as we marveled at the spectacular views of the Mat-Su Valley. It was truly a sightseeing feast as we viewed the Matanuska River, Knik Glacier, Talkeetna Mountains, Chugach Range and surrounding farmlands at approximately 850 feet above sea level.
I recalled my hiking days with my dear friend Jeanne when I lived in Colorado. She took me to many of her favorite trails in Boulder and Golden, and introduced me to the love of hiking. It’s not only great exercise, but a way to bond with nature and friends old and new.
Hiking, taking a nature walk and enjoying the outdoors is a wonderful stress reliever, too. Hiking exercises almost every part of your body: legs, knees, ankles, arms, hips and butt, the abdominal muscles, shoulders and neck. “Hiking exercises your body and your mind, and nourishes your imagination,” says Ignacio Malpica, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer in Boulder, Colorado. “It creates awareness in your eyes and ears and the rest of your senses.”
So when your senses need a break from staring at a computer, and you need a change from the confines of being inside all day, consider the mini-vacation of taking a hike. Even if it begins to shower, there’s plenty of joy to experience. You might even find yourself laughing in the rain!