Summer vacation is something my family and I always look forward to each year. Every year brings pretty much the same thing — we look forward to going south. Before this year I would’ve definitely called myself a beach bum. I still love the sun, but if you would’ve told me that I’d love hiking a mountain while on summer vacation, I would have called you crazy. But it’s true.
This year, my family and I went to Vermont on summer vacation and I can’t stop thinking about it. It was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken as a family. The cool mountain air, the peace of hiking trails, and the family time learning and laughing together was priceless. I have to admit though, I was a little hesitant about a mountain vacation at first. Perhaps like some of you, I grew up pretty much a beach girl. I mean, vacation is a time to chill and relax…or at least see Mickey, right? Well, I took a leap of faith trusting my husband on this one and I am so glad I did.
When we got there, I was in awe. The mountains’ beauty really takes your breath away. Each morning, this was such a blessing to wake up to. What I really fell in love with was the hiking. I had gone into vacation with a lot of built-up stress — I mean a lot. And I couldn’t believe what happened when I started hiking: it made me happier. There was so much peace to be found in the nature all around us, and the exercise you put into the hike makes you feel so good, it inspired me to get even more active. It actually got addicting — in a good way. I couldn’t wait to get up each morning and hike.
The week flew by and we all miss it, but my new love for hiking and my secret stress relief has stayed. Now, when I need a break, hiking brings such relief. I even bought my first pair of hiking shoes. My family and I have set a goal for the rest of the summer to hike one trail a week as a family.
For anyone who hasn’t tried hiking before, I have three little tips. I know we all get stressed, we all have a lot going on, but I promise this is something that can help — and something the whole family can enjoy!
1. Start Small
Begin with just a mile or two at a time. Search out an easy trail and build your way up to a bigger trail. Websites and apps of area parks are amazing — and can provide maps of trails that would fit you and your family.
2. Find a Friend
The buddy system is always a great idea, and it helps with motivation. Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s your spouse — or your whole family. Get a buddy to come, too.
3. Go Now
There are so many amazing parks in Northeast Ohio and they offer so many things. Some of them provide activities such as yoga hiking, kayaking, kids camps, and more. Get out and learn more — take a hike.
Publisher’s Note: If you or a fellow hiker experience a simple ankle sprain – there’s help!