One Step at a Time

It was about this time last year when we decided to go to Bhutan on a hiking trip for our October birthdays.

Canary Islands

For Christmas I got hiking boots and we began breaking them in.  On every trip we scheduled at least 1 hiking day.  Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, Saguaro Lake and Hole in the Rock while in Phoenix for Christmas.  Hikes to falls in the San Gabriel Mountains around Pasadena.  Even on a cruise we hiked  some of the 300+ volcanic cones on the Canary Islands.

Rattlesnake Ledge

As the weather warmed we got friends to join us on Rattlesnake Ledge.  We hiked a couple of days in Kauai on our annual honeymoon.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Then, in an attempt to prepare for the elevation of Bhutan, we went to Deer Valley, Utah – minimum elevation 8,500ft.  During our 2 weeks there, we hiked over 70 miles.

Deer Valley, UT

Tiger’s Nest Monastery Hike

All that and the hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery was still the single most physically demanding thing I’ve done to date.  Begin at 8,500 feet – end at 10,200.  Steep, thin air and 9.1 miles round-trip.  Add in the 1556 stairs cut into the sides of the ravines (300 in one stretch – 478 in the other) not to mention the 100 or so stairs within the monastery complex I didn’t even bother to count – well, you get the idea.

Even if you never plan to go on a hiking trip to Bhutan, hiking is a great activity.  You can do it virtually anywhere, you get to see some wonderful slices of nature, it increases your physical activity level and stretches your budget.  Other than a pair of decent shoes (even tennis shoes in many cases) you don’t need any special or expensive equipment.

Vasquez Rocks

So how do you find a hike that’s right for you?  Type into your favorite search engine an appropriate phrase such as “easy hikes near Seattle”.   You’ll get plenty of results to explore.  Look for the hike profile which includes information such as length of hike, usually a time estimate, a difficulty rating and the elevation change.  Some will even have photos and comments by other hikers.

A couple of safety notes, you should try not to hike alone.  Always carry at least a basic first aid kit, appropriate amounts of water and a cellphone.  It’s also a good idea for someone at home to know where you were headed and about when to expect you back – just in case.

Sarguaro Lake

There is a world of beauty out there – breathtaking vistas, colorful canyons, stunning falls, towering trees and an abundance of flora and fauna.  You don’t need any special training, just put one foot in front of the other and GO!


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