Training for Hiking – Stairs and a Surprise Nature Show

If you’d love to get into hiking but are worried about your fitness level – worry not! Part of the reason I am writing this blog is to encourage people to get out there and appreciate nature. I was not in shape at all when I first started – but I still went. I started with easier hikes and took lots of breaks and built my way up gradually. I’m still working on improving my fitness level so I can do more challenging trails.

One of the best things you can do to get your body used to going up steep slopes is to do stairs. I recently signed up for a month long stair climbing challenge at work and part of my motivation for doing that was to kick up my fitness level a notch in preparation for some bigger hikes this summer.

Yesterday two of my colleagues and I headed to Trail 4 near the Museum of Anthropology which leads down to Tower Beach (see map here). Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the stairs but I will post one the next time I do them. The 339 stairs take you down through gorgeous trees with lots of light dappling through and you come out and see this:

Tower Beach, Trail 4 exit view
Tower Beach, Trail 4 exit view
Tower Beach, Trail 4 exit view
Tower Beach, Trail 4 exit view
Tower Beach, Trail 4 exit view
Tower Beach, Trail 4 exit view

We admired the view for a minute and then got to work going up those 339 wooden steps that turn and twist their way back up to the access trail. We paused at the top for a quick stretch break and then headed back down again.

We decided to sit on a log for a bit before heading back up for round number two and luckily that was the right call because within a couple of minutes we were treated to all sorts of wildlife! We had two seals bobbing their heads up and down very close to us (unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get a decent photo), three herons wandering, flying and posing for the camera, and two goose families.

herons in flight
Herons in flight
Lone heron in flight.
Lone heron in flight.
goose family.
Goose family.
Graceful herons posing.
Graceful herons posing.

It was such a treat to see all this going on during our workout! We ended up sitting there for about twenty minutes until the herons flew away and the goose families had wandered further down the beach.

Then we went up the stairs again! I actually found the second round easier as my muscles had warmed up. We did a little more stretching and then headed home.

I’m not always able to go hiking as much as I’d like so I feel very lucky that I can keep myself in shape for it and enjoy a bit of nature so close to my home and work. If you are trying to get into shape to start hiking, stairs are the perfect way to go!

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