Spring. Waterfalls. Happy Hiker!
And that was NOT always the case!
This past weekend I was traveling for business and had to work. I also hiked my butt off in three Minnesota state parks and climbed a mountain. It was not only good for me physically, it was totally great for the soul!
While I averaged more than 15,000 steps a day on my Fitbit — and those were mostly rigorous and challenging steps — the mental boost was just as important as the physical one. Outdoor exercise is good for mind, body and spirit. I feel more alive, refreshed and less stressed.
One of the perks of my job is that I get to travel for clients and that means spending time on Minnesota’s most Northern Shore. If you haven’t visited the North Shore of Lake Superior, you don’t know what you’re missing. (Read on and check out my beautiful hiking photo gallery and you’ll soon be planning a visit.) 🙂
Spring on Lake Superior’s North Shore is spectacular. With five breathtaking state parks within driving distance of my home base at the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, I can find just about every hiking experience. The Superior Hiking Trail — a 310 mile long hiking path that follows the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior– offers well groomed easier paths and rigorous hiking along mountain ridges and through deep forested areas.
National Geographic named the Superior Hiking Trail one of 100 best American adventure trips: “It covers rugged terrain—bluffs, cliffs, and the spine of the ancient Sawtooth mountain range—as it traces streams and skirts wild rivers, rises to mighty bluffs overlooking the great lake, and plunges into deciduous forests of birch, aspen, and maple interspersed with redolent stands of boreal spruce and balsam.”
YES! My kind of hiking.
I have my favorite hikes along the Superior Hiking Trail and I did them all this past weekend: Temperance River State Park with its roaring river deep in a dark basaltic canyon; Cascade River State Park offers many great cascading waterfall views along a quick-jaunt up well-maintained trails and a longer route that veers off from the river and up to Lookout Mountain; and Tettegouche State Park home to the infamous Baptism River and Minnesota’s highest falls and Shovel Point — a peak of granite that sticks out into Lake Superior offering spectacular views of the rugged coastline.
Not always a hiker.
My point in writing this blog is not just to tell you how much I love hiking and show off my beautiful home state and it’s amazing Northern Shore (though I am happy to do those things!). My point is that just over five years ago when I weighed upwards of 380 lbs, this was not possible!
For all of those years that I weighed more than an NFL linebacker and went to work on the North Shore, the best I could do for a “hike” was park at the roadside rest stop and walk the block or so to the lake to see where Temperance River spills into Lake Superior. Even this was a stretch for me. It was hard and I had to stop frequently to rest on the way.
I didn’t know what I was missing in nature and in life before I was able to walk longer distances in nature, hike aggressive trails with wildlife and spectacular views and climb mountains. And when I was in that place of living out of my equation and an unhealthy lifestyle, I didn’t know how to change it. I was afraid.
Now, fast forward just a few years and every time I hit the trails and stretch my physical capabilities I smile inside and out, and I remember how much pain I was in just trying to walk from the car to the lake in those early years.
If you or someone you know is in this place, I want to be a beacon of hope and inspiration. If I can do it, YOU can too!
Find something you love and do it.
My tip for today is this: Get outside and get moving. Start small. Do something you love — play with the kids in the park, walk to the end of the block, mow the lawn, putz in your garden, go to the zoo, invite a friend to walk the lakes. Getting outside in nature and moving your body will make you feel better in mind, body and spirit. I promise! There’s evidence that it also builds self-esteem and that we move farther and do more when we’re outside vs stuck in a gym. Plus, it’s free!
And trust me, if at first it is really, really hard — like it was for me years ago — promise yourself you will just start and do it. Start small, commit to it, give yourself credit and you will feel good for having done it and soon you’ll be stronger, faster and more capable. I promise!
I am a much, much happier and healthier person — inside and out — now that I’m moving and living vs when I was working 12-18 hours a day in an office chair or sitting in a condo on the North Shore feeling bad that I was so big and out of shape. I missed so much of our beautiful state and of life! And I am forever grateful that at age 47, I decided YES I CAN!
That’s how I know — YOU CAN TOO. We’ve got this!
#happyhiker #healthygirl #intheequation