With most of our local trails shut down and trying our best to follow our state’s “stay at home” order, we have been doing a lot of urban hiking in our small town. It’s been fun finding the hidden gems along the way. But hiking for us just isn’t something we do for fun- it’s part of our self care. So when we are unable to hike on our favorite trails, our well being suffers. We know a lot of you are in the same boat, and might be suffering too. We put together a list of self care tips to do that will lift your well being while we are unable to hike.
Journaling: Some of the benefits of Journaling include: relieves stress, allows you to release emotions, inspires creativity, allows self reflection and growth, organizes your thoughts and ideas, helps to plan future goals, and boosts memory and comprehension. Journaling is a good way to take some time for yourself and let go some of the stuff that has built up inside of you. It is also a way to get organized as well. You don't need a fancy journal to get started, just your favorite pen and a notebook. If you are looking to incorporate future goals in your journal, check out the Self Journal.
Epsom Salt Baths: Epsom salt baths help to reduce stress, calm body aches and pain, detox your body, improve skin (with the help of essential oils), and allow time to get caught up on whatever you are reading.
Meditation: Meditation is a big part of our life. It helps us to gain clarity when we need it. The many benefits of meditation are:
Brings Self Awareness
Can Help Addictions
Helps With Pain
Checkout the Insight Timer App which is a free app that offers thousands of meditations including guided.
At Home Work Outs: For us, we pair our hiking with going to the gym regularly so we have become extra creative with our work outs at home since the gyms have been closed. We have been doing a lot of body weight workouts and resistance band workouts. There are many online workouts and apps you can download. Beach Body is giving a free 14 day trial-
Eat Healthy: Eating healthy is always important, but even more now with the stresses of what is happening in our world. There are many studies that show high stress can weaken your immune system- which is not good for us with what is going on now. To help combat the effects of stress on our immune system, eating a plant based diet can help. Veggies and fruits are full of antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids which can stimulate certain immune cells, including T-cells. In addition many plants and fruits have antiviral capabilities (extra garlic anyone?) and good bacteria for gut health (kombucha please), along with anti-inflammatory properties that can boost antibody response. Plus just a 1/2 cup of orange juice will give you the recommended daily vitamin c that has been found in a recent study to especially help immune systems that have been compromised by stress.
Yoga: Now is the perfect time to start or re-start your yoga practice. Yoga is a mind body connection that has endless benefits including building strength, relieving stress, building balance, enhancing feelings of calmness, building flexibility, inspiring kindness and compassion, and helping to release emotional blockages. There are many places online and apps you can download to practice at home.
Walks in Your Neighborhood: Last week we walked just about 44 miles, with most of them being in our own neighborhood. We’ve met neighbors we’ve never met before, discovered cool things we’ve never seen before, and waived at countless friends as they drove by. It’s been an absolute delightful replacement for our regular hikes.
Adventure Book Reading: Live vicariously through your favorite adventure author! You can climb Mt. Everest with John Krakauer in his book, Into Thin Air or hang from the edge of your seat reading Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. Of you’re looking for a book about hiking and healing, check out Sydney William’s book, Hiking my Feelings about joe hiking helped her to heal from trauma. Want gorgeous photos and beautiful stories of adventurous women? Check out Gale Straub’s, She-Explores, The Book. https://she-explores.com/book/
Looking to plan some trips? Check out Scott Turner’s hiking guides for Joshua Tree NP, Zion & Bryce Canyon, and SEKI NP.
Listen to Outdoor Podcasts: Our favorites are She-Explores, Hike Like a Woman, Almost There Podcast, & Sheventures.
We hope you’re all staying well and that this all ends soon, but remember, we are all in this together and our actions are very important right now. We need to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy so we can hit our favorite trail again once it is safe to do so.
Less than two months ago Tony & I rescued Winslow, a Jack Russel Terrier/ Basset Hound mix from Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary, our local animal rescue (they are real life angels). He has been settling in great and seriously loves hiking with us and our ten year old rescued Black & Tan Coonhound mix, Phurba, the hiking king. It has been so fun to see him gain confidence and learn new things with every mile we hike.
Having a furry hiking buddy (or two) is such a privilege and joy. It is also a great responsibility for us to make sure they are comfortable and stay safe on the trail. We have a lot of experience with Phurba, hiking thousands of miles together over the past ten years he has been part of our family, so I thought I would share my top tips for hiking with dogs. But really I just wanted an excuse to share photos of Winslow with all of you.
With that said, meet Winslow!
I was in Napa, CA over the weekend for my bestie's wedding (congratulations Sue!) and was super excited to explore Napa Valley's wine region. I had made reservations for wine tasting at a few places and hoped I would be able to find a couple local trails to hike before the wineries opened in the morning. I found a cool little spot near our hotel called Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, CA.
Skyline park has 25 miles of multi-use trails that wind through dense manzanita and black oak forests, chaparral, creeks, and even a small lake. Expansive views of surrounding vineyards are absolutely stunning. The trails are shared by hikers, horses, and mountain bikers, but I only saw hikers the morning I hiked it. Other activities in the park include an archery range, disk golf, picnicking, and a campground. The park's website says the park is home to many species of native plants and wildlife, including deer, foxes, turkeys, bobcats, and mountain lions. The park also hosts many flying creatures such as bats, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers.
The highest point in the park, Mt. Sugarloaf, at 1,630 feet has beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay, Mt. Diablo, and Mt. Tamalpais on clear days. There is also a 2.5 acre native garden site dedicated to the late Martha Walker, a local gardener who hosted a radio talk show about gardening among many other garden and native plant related activities.
I highly recommend visiting Skyline Wilderness Park if visiting Napa! It is a gorgeous trail system that is perfect for a morning hike before heading out to partake in the valley's most popular activity, wine tasting.
For more information about Skyline Wilderness Park check out the website here:
CEO and Editor of Hike It Off