The one where they hike. And hike.

by Jennifer on January 14, 2009

So I told you last week that I was going to start hiking with a friend a couple of days a week?

Well, I did. We did. Twice now.

If you hiked Wind Cave Trail last Thursday or today, maybe you saw us (my friend T and me) on the trail. We were the two gazelle-like women sprinting past you. That flash you saw? Yep, us.

Oh, you actually saw us? Nothing like gazelles, you say? (So much for that confidentiality agreement we made you sign while holding your water bottle hostage. Fine, be that way. No one likes a tattletale, you know.)

This is where we’ve been hiking, and that arrow points to Wind Cave, the whole point of Wind Cave Trail. It isn’t much of a cave, more of an overhang carved out by the wind over time, but pretty cool anyway. A sweet bonus was that we saw bald eagle soar past us – slightly below our elevation – as we rested under the overhang. The view from up there is amazing. I’ll take photos next time.

I’m not sure what the elevation is at cave level, but Pass Mountain rises to 3300 feet, and the cave is almost at the top. Next time, I’d like to go all the way up, just to see the view from there, in all directions.

Sure, there are bigger mountains, but we were (let’s just say) happy to see this sign. Can you tell?

On the way up, we were pretty sure it would say

YOU HAVE REACHED

WIND CAVE

WHERE HIKERS GO TO DIE

It didn’t, but it should.

And can you believe there wasn’t a gondola to take us back down the mountain? I don’t know what kind of a racket they’re running over there at Usery Mountain, but we had to hike back down! I’m kidding, I promise. We’re tougher than that. Besides, we’re almost regulars now, since we saw some of the same people from last week.

Here’s the upshot. I love hiking. Love it. Put me on a treadmill, and I’m bored out of my mind, but I absolutely love to hike. I’d forgotten how much, and now I just want to take advantage of these trails before we move away. On Thursday, we’re planning to try a different trail, for variety.

It’s really good for my state of mind, too. I’ve been a little down lately (an understatement), and it’s doing me a lot of good to be outside, in the middle of gorgeous scenery, laughing my butt off, and working it off, too.

And you know that you can burn a crazy number of calories when you’re hiking? I played around with a few calorie calculators online today, and it’s ridiculous how many you burn.

Which makes me feel a lot better about the fact that we go out for breakfast when we finish our hike.

P.S. Animal sightings so far include a small assortment of birds, and one chipmunk. Everyone knock on wood. Really, right now, please.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Alice January 14, 2009 at 4:35 am

That sounds like fun…it too get veeeerrry bored with the gym…taking the tread mill to no where seems like such a waste of time somehow, but hiking, surfing, swimming, now that is fun….I forget I am actually exercising!

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Chris January 14, 2009 at 7:29 am

Good for you! I love Usery Mountain Park. Hiking is an excellent way to get in shape and burn lots of calories. Why do you think all those VERY thin hikers carry hard cheeses, nuts, peanut butter and dried fatty meat to eat? Because they’re burning a bazillion calories. I’ll be cheering you on from Utah!

PS: I know the trails get crowded on the weekends and early mornings, but Camelback and Squaw Peak (Piestewa) are “quick” efficient hike/climbs. Great workouts.

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Manic Mommy January 14, 2009 at 8:55 am

I like to hike but I’m clumsy so I have to look at the ground to prevent falling. And I miss a lot of pretty scenery. Actually, I’m lazy too.

It is good for the soul to get out and walk with a friend.

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Jenn @ Juggling Life January 14, 2009 at 10:13 am

I’ve been doing lots of hiking with my son this break. I don’t know if you caught Monday’s post, but I’d bet your thoughts about mountain lions are much like mine.

I do so love me some brilliant blue sky.

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Daryl January 14, 2009 at 10:51 am

I like walking … on level pavement .. I am far too klutzy to ever hike …

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Green Girl January 14, 2009 at 11:10 am

Way to go! What beautiful turf to burn your calories on!

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jenrantsraves January 14, 2009 at 11:25 am

I am so jealous! Time with a friend, time outdoors (it’s 10 degrees here today #$@#!), beautiful scenery, exercising and actually enjoying it…SO JEALOUS!!

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natalie January 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

i am so jealous too! i love to hike, but i need some excellent company to hike with. not my family…i’d bail on them. i can think of a couple of people that i would love to go hiking with, but sadly they don’t live anywhere close to me! oh well…

and what’s this exercise you speak of? i need some of that too!

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Bruce January 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

The Javalena are just waitting for the perfect time to strike……when you least expect them……bwahaha ha ha……

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RiverPoet January 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Ooh, I like hiking, too. When it’s warmer here, I’m going to try to get some hiking in up on Sugarloaf Mountain.

Peace – D

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Suzanne January 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Fantastic! You are so smart to take advantage of this lovely scenery before you move….and take lots of pics. And share them with us!

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flutter January 14, 2009 at 9:41 pm

hike? is that like, an english word?

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JCK January 14, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I’m so thrilled that you are taking advantage of all the beauty around you before you move. I am the same as you. Treadmills, machines…snoooze. I love hiking! And used to hike a lot. Looking forward to doing it again regularly at some point.

Good for you, Jennifer! Amazing what nature can do if you let her in.

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Ed Browning January 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Hiking is the bomb! Or whatever the “in” word is these days (I’m a bit out of touch – I never understood “the bomb” anyway…) For a hydrophobiac like me, watersports are verboten, so hiking is my thing.
Several years ago, I dragged a friend hiking around a small lake near the Grand Tetons – weirdest weather I’d ever seen. Sunshine one minute, snowstorm the next. I took a before and after picture of a small section of the lakeshore, and it’s hard to believe they came from the same place on the same day.
Yosemite is my favorite place, and a large part of that is the extensive selection of hiking trails, especially near waterfalls, another love of mine.
Living in the city, I have to make do with playing racquetball. Fun, competitive, and active, but lacks the sense of adventure and discovery I find in hiking.
Glad you found an activity that stirs your blood.

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Kimberly January 15, 2009 at 8:35 am

I just love your part of the world. My husband had an uncle in Mesa, AZ and we went out to visit him annually several years in a row. We’d visit with him, then jet off to some other gorgeous Southwestern location. I can’t describe it, but feel completely at home and at peace in the Southwest. Your photo just reminds of how much I love it there and how I’m dying to get back.

Hiking IS great! I’m glad you’re enjoying it and hope you continue to make time for it.

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the mama bird diaries January 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

congrats on making it to the wind cave. 🙂

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Em January 15, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Oh so wonderful!!! Glad you guys enjoyed (?) the flora and fauna. Well, more of the flora, less the (large) fauna.

You’re brave. Chipmunks can be scary.

Most happy about it helping you to clear the cob webs. My right arm for a hike right about now.

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V-Grrrl January 15, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I love to hike and I love men who love to hike. These days I mostly hike alone, but whenever I’m out in the woods, I carry fond memories with me.

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Louise January 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Oh please don’t stop doing this! You are so lucky you have the time without children and the weather to do it. I’m hoping you see a lizard next time!

p.s. Gondolas are for sissies!

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Jennifer Harvey January 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

We had an off week this week, with a sick little girl (not mine) and rain the other day. But we’re not stopping. The scenery is great, and my friend is fun (and funny), so the time goes quickly.

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