I am trying to work out the days of the week where I have a set post in a way. So we are trying Workout Wednesday for the first time today.
Lately, in addition to running, my favorite workout has been hiking.
Up until this year I had never really been hiking and assumed it was not something I would like. Lo and behold, I quickly found that hiking was not quite as terrible as I assumed and I even began to enjoy it!
So far I have visited the White Tanks, Thunderbird Mountain, Hole in the Rock Arizona and Piestewa Peak. Out of all of these, my favorite is probably a tie between Hole in the Rock Arizona and Thunderbird Mountain.
Here is my basic description of these hikes from a novice:
Thunderbird Park: This is a very mellow hike for the most part. The views are awesome from both sides. This hike is very VERY rocky and there is a lot of loose rocks. The paths are pretty wide so there is plenty of room to pass people on your way up and down. Be careful with the shoes you wear, since the terrain is so rocky and loose you’ll want something with a little bit of tread.
Hole In The Rock Arizona: Love this “hike”! My main squeeze and I did this to celebrate our 6 month anniversary. This is more of a short walk to get to the actual hole but the views are awesome. I would recommend not going in the rain as it makes it a little slippery once you get inside. However, I did do it in the rain and there was no one else there so it made the experience a little more special.
Piestewa Peak: I have mixed feelings about this hike. While it was a little more difficult than Thunderbird from the beginning, it started raining when I was half way up the mountain. Not wanting to miss out since we were already there, Main Squeeze and I decided to press on. I will say that the rain did a good job of clearing out other people but it also did a good job of thoroughly soaking the place and making every surface a slip and slide. It is a good thing I had someone there to catch me or I would have eaten dirt a few times. Word to the wise, don’t go in the rain! Once we reached the top I realized that it was worth the trek and my enjoyment lasted a full 5 minutes before I realized what goes up, must come down! Going down that mountain was about even less enjoyable since it started to downpour but we made it!
The White Tanks: The only real trail I have been on in the White Tanks is the waterfall trail. This trail is one I would recommend in the rain strictly because it is flat and the rain is what creates the waterfall. This “hike” is really more of a casual walk and a place where you could run if you wanted to. The views are nice and you can kind of do it at your own pace since there is not a lot of foot traffic. This area seems more recreational since there are benches and picnic areas along the trail. One word of caution, I have heard that in the warmer months there are quite a few snake sightings so please be careful.
Oak Creek Trail:This hike is actually located up in Sedona, which at the moment is covered in snow and the freeway is closed! But when the roadways are clear I would highly suggest a trip up this direction. This hike is beautiful in the fall and leads you down to Oak Creek where you can fully take in the scenery. This hike is pretty easy. It is a zig-zag trail to the bottom that is pretty flat for the most part. There is a lot more foot traffic so don’t plan on having the whole place to yourself!
I also want to take a second to share just a few tips if you are going to venture out hiking in the great state of Arizona:
- Hydrate and fuel properly! I cannot stress this one enough. We have so many visitors from out of state who trek up the mountain without an adequate amount of water or fuel who wind up needing medical assistance. It is no joke that it gets pretty warm here, combine that with outdoor physical activity and no water or electrolyte replacement and you have a recipe for disaster.
- Sunscreen and Hats!! This is really important. Even on cloudy days you are being exposed to the sun and run a risk for sunburn. To avoid this, make sure to wear sunscreen as well as bringing it along with you to reapply. A hat is also a good idea.
- Wear appropriate attire. Rule of thumb is the dress for 15 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. My usual go to is a pair of running capri , running shoes with heavier tread and a sweat wicking t-shirt. On Some occasions I will bring a jacket just in case.
- Pack light.The less extra stuff you are carrying the happier you will be. I would suggest on some hikes if you are getting close to sundown to bring a flashlight. According to most sources the heaviest thing in your pack should be your food and water. Also, make sure you take out what you take in. Please don’t litter the trails.
- Don’t hike alone. This is mostly for safety reasons but you should also keep in mind, who’s going to take your picture when you reach the top?! If you are going to hike alone, make sure someone knows where you are heading and your estimated time to be home. If you saw 127 Hours you know how important that phone call is!
- Take a break. Every 30-60 minutes try to take a 5-7 minute break. This break allows your body to rest and rid it of some of the waste products that have built up in the body. If you can, try to prop your legs up above heart level to let the body naturally drain the metabolic waste that has settled in your legs. While on this break try to eat and drink something and take in the views!
- Don’t exceed your current fitness level. As an asthmatic I cannot stress this enough. It is really important to listen to your body and know when you need to slow down or stop. I am all for pushing yourself beyond limits but at some points it is just not worth the risk. Take time to slowly build up your abilities and really enjoy the hike!
What is the best hike you’ve taken?
**For more information on the state of Arizona and the hiking trails you can find here visit: http://visitarizona.com/
** Not an Ad just a great resource!