Something new I’ve added to my routine since I’ve been in Alaska is a daily after work hike. After work hikes have never been a convenient option for me in Denver due to my proximity to the mountains. I’d go on walks or runs in my area but it’s not quite the same as venturing out on a mountain trail. Since there are a slew of trails ten to thirty minutes away now, I’ve been able to hike every day. I’ve found one particular area I love to explore called Hatcher’s Pass. Hatcher’s Pass offers a variety of hiking trails including ones perfect for after work that have steeper elevation gains over shorter distances so you’re sure to get a great workout in and see amazing views in a short amount of time.
I’ve hiked five different trails in the Hatcher’s Pass area and have repeated a couple of my favorite ones. Hatcher’s Pass offers higher alpine hiking so you’re not in trees, shrubs and bushes for very long, if at all, so a bear encounter is a lot less likely as you could see them from miles away. There are a fair share of people who also enjoy this area and after working alone all day, I love the buzz of others enjoying the trails with me. Some days, especially when it’s raining which seems to be a lot this summer, I don’t really feel like hiking. Some days I feel tired, really tired, maybe a little grumpy or lazy but, I go anyways. Besides the obvious health benefits, I have discovered quite a few reasons that continue to push me to hike after work even when I don’t feel up to it including:
- Getting some fresh air: There is nothing better than fresh mountain air rushing through your lungs and invigorating your body especially after a day sitting indoors.
- Challenging my body: Just like your mind, your body needs to be challenged. It’s tempting to stay in my comfort zone with a familiar workout routine but why not push the envelop on any physical limits you think you have? I bet you’ll discover you can do so much more than you give yourself credit for.
- Mental clarity: The worries and obstacles I’ve faced throughout the day seem to dissolve when I’m focused on hiking up a mountain and taking in the views from the top. After work hikes help me hit a mental reset that I never knew I needed.
- Meeting the local community: Exploring your local community is a great way to meet your local community and widen your network. I’ve met so many amazing people on the trail from local business and restaurant owners to educators who have become my new hiking buddies.
- Awe inspiring gratitude: It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of each day and sometimes become stuck in a rut of negativity. Nature helps keep me grounded and appreciative of my many blessings, God’s glorious creation and this healthy body I can explore it with.
- Productive use of time: What better way to spend any extra time after work? It sure beats sitting at home watching tv or scrolling through social media 🙂
- Healthier meal choices: When I know I have a hike to conquer after work I am more apt to fuel my body with the right foods throughout the day that will help me feel my best on the trail.
- It makes me a better me: Big changes, it turns out, are made up of a series of small changes. You’ve probably heard of the 1% rule: If you get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. This new habit makes me feel better and stronger and its only been three and a half weeks. I can only imagine what a year of this would do.
I’m sure there are many more amazing benefits hiking after work provides me but all this to say, adding some variety into my weekday routine has proven to be the best thing I could do. You don’t have to live for the weekends when you can find joy all week long. So, I recommend you get out there, add some variety to your weekday routine and explore somewhere or something you never have. Especially on the days you don’t feel like it.
Until the next tale… Happy trails.