“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
Go take a hike, Sister!
And I mean that in the best possible way.
Do you ever find you need something to get you going on Monday? Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to get your adrenaline pumping to knock the next week out of the park?
Well there is. And for me it was in a National Park!
Getting yourself into nature and feeling the breeze and the glorious aromas of the forest, meadows, and mountains can whip away your ennui and have you feeling renewed and invigorated!
This MOM (Moxie On Monday, Silly!) is about getting you moving, into nature, exercising, and feeling like you can conquer the world.
For me, it was playing hooky at Mount Rainier National Park, but it can be in the local state park, a rural path, or even a river walk if you can’t get out of the city. If you can’t play hooky during the week plan a weekend day to get outside and get some miles logged.
You may know by now that I made a decision to leave LA last fall and relocate to the lush and beautiful Northwest Pacific Coast of Washington. What you may not know is that I was pretty sure, let’s just stay reticent or, better yet, hell bent against moving. Before I drove up, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to like it. I came up for a visit with my fierce sista, Lana Lindgren, late last summer. Lana is Seattle born and bred. Being my bestie, she warned me many times over that I wasn’t going to like it. Sure, it’s beautiful, but it’s kinda overcast, foggy, rainy or drizzly much of the year. Having lived in sunny LA LA land for 10 years, she was afraid I might throw myself overboard, falling into a deep, dark depression with the lack of sun. Funny thing was, I bought into her program. Sure, I was coming up to visit but I made sure to close that powerful mind of mine as tightly as possible to be open to the chance of relocating and leaving my precious sunshine state.
The universe had another idea. It usually does when we least expect it. Clearly, it knew something I didn’t. Washington didn’t just surprise me. It stunned me. It knocked my socks off! It busted my heart and my mind wide open with its natural beauty and endless luscious terrain. LA is a desert after all. It’s beautiful, yes, but lush? Uh uh. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to live in a cozy cottage plopped right on the waterfront. Unfortunately, I was a few greenbacks short of being able to live on the water in LA. Lucky for me, I found the most beautiful home right on the Puget Sound to make my dream come true. Or, let’s say that the universe found it for me!
Now, what the heck does all of that have to do with hiking?
Glad you asked!
I’m a huge nature lover. A tree hugger from birth. I’ve always loved to hike and Washington State is loaded with the most spectacular national parks and state parks to lure you outdoors. Heck, I moved right next door to a beautiful state park that’s like a luscious rain forest! Moxie and I are just beginning to explore the vast terrain around the State. I’ve been dying to get to Rainier. So, I told Moxie to take a hike too! She couldn’t have been more delighted. The view of Mount Rainier is enough to take your breath away.
Here, it’s just called The Mountain. It pops up and dominates the horizon like nothing I have ever seen. I have been longing to visit it, time and again. It was finally time to stop saying, “I’m too busy” and go and take that hike!
So Moxie and I loaded up the car and headed to the mountains. A tip I received by the locals was to leave extra early in the day. I’m so glad we did. We were up and out the door by 7 am to grab a quick latte and puppacino (of course!) at Starbucks to beat the traffic on the road. We were also planning to beat the hiking traffic at the national park. As it’s closing in on November with lots of snow at the top of Rainier, that meant it was almost the end of the hiking season.
Driving into the park is awe inspiring. The towering trees envelop you, leading the way to one beautiful vista after another. Once you enter the park, you better have a plan as to what area you’re going to hike in as cell service is non-existent. We began hiking the Pacific Coast Rim that wound around the mountain and a picturesque lake that led us up to a spectacular view of the mountain. From start to finish, it was about a two and a half hour hike at 6000 feet. Given that it’s late in the year, there was some snow and ice, so layers and hiking shoes with lug soles are definitely a must. At ground level, it was a chilly 40 degrees and warmed up as we ascended, which meant peeling layers away. Another recommendation — wear sunscreen! It can get pretty sunny at the higher elevations. Oh, and snacks and water bottles are always a good idea!
As we get older, the benefits of hiking are even greater! Research shows us all kinds of wonderful reasons to go and take that hike:
It’s easily accessible, simple and affordable.
It burns approximately 400 to 700 calories an hour.
Exercise is high on the list for mental health and well-being.
It’s one of the best ways to keep your heart and brain healthy.
It helps to build strong bones and muscles.
Nature is a proven remedy for negative thinking, anxiety and depression.
It disconnects you with technology and boosts creativity.
It’s a wonderful and healthy bonding activity for you and friends, family and/or pets.
Nature is shown to lower cortisol levels and to mimic the benefits of meditation.
It’s bound to inspire awe and wonder and all those magical positive emotions!
The nice thing is giving yourself enough time so that you can enjoy a more leisurely experience. The views are so darn beautiful that you’ll want to stop and inhale everything around you. Mount Rainier is majestic. The mountain lives on in your heart and your memory. It can’t help but call you to return time and again.
From what I learned this time around, next time, I would be more prepared. Here are some tips:
Pick up a map of the park long before entering.
If you don’t have a map, download one on Google Maps on your phone so you have it when you need it.
Dogs aren’t allowed in many parts of the park, so please check before bringing one with you on the hikes.
There are several different areas and hikes in the park. Decide on an area before you enter.
There are multiple waterfalls in the park. It’s a beautiful place to relax or take photos and to begin a hike.
Wear light layers underneath that you can peel off as needed and be sure to include a hat and gloves.
Pack sunscreen, refillable water bottles and snacks.
Remember to check where you entered the park as it’s HUGE with multiple entrances and exits to make your trip back quicker and easier.
Take lots of pictures!
Breathe, relax and enjoy.
Cheers Beauties, you are now prepared and challenged to get out there, and …
Sista Sista, Go take a hike!