Take a Hike
● By Alesha Damerville
By Alesha Damerville
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – "Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." – Henry David Thoreau
There is something special about hiking. It’s a great form of exercise that allows you to become one with nature, and it’s an opportunity to meditate and process everyday life. Disconnecting from our phones and taking a break from binge-watching TV are things we could all benefit from doing more frequently.
Routt County has been blessed with a plethora of places to hike. That’s lucky for me, considering hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. The snow is finally in the process of melting – we had so much of that fluffy white stuff this season – and many of the trails are wet, yet open. The Emerald Mountain Trail is usually one of the first to dry up.
It’s in direct sunlight with practically no shade so if the trail is wet, it’s in random scattered places and never a large amount of water. Speaking of no shade, I highly recommend hitting this trail in the morning. It begins to get pretty warm come 11 a.m. and this hike is pretty much a non-stop incline which adds to the heat.
As we’ve learned in past blog posts, all the work I’ve been putting in at the gym is supposed to add to endurance. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, as my cardio routine consists of 20 minutes a week and the bulk of my workout is strength training.
I’ll tell you this: never, in the five years I’ve been hiking this trail, have I been able to get to the top without feeling winded. This is no longer the case. I’m extremely impressed for a number of reasons.
It usually takes me a few hikes to get my bearings back come summer. I felt so good after my first day back at it that I honestly considered hiking it again after work.
Another reason I found myself so astonished at this new me is because I visited my hometown recently and fell hard off my routine. All the rules go out the window on vacation, which I happen to think is rather fair. The key is to get back to it, and I’ve been a slacker. I’ve got excuses far and wide. I had a lot of work to catch up on, so meal prepping went out the window. I’ve been riding my bike a lot and now have hiked once, so I haven’t completely fallen off, although I won’t lie – it feels like I have.
Here’s the thing: I’m human, and we mess up. It can’t be helped but this hike relit the spark, passion and drive I have for maintaining overall health. I’ve been working hard to stop negative self-talk, so this is me forgiving myself while being honest with the readers of this blog.
The Steamboat community is a friendly one, and that’s obvious when hiking Emerald. Smiles and often friendly salutations were exchanged by every person I crossed paths with. You rarely come across an unhappy person while hiking, which is even more reason for everyone to get outside and explore.
Nature is so healing. Vitamin D, foliage, animal sightings both wild and domestic and the incredibly satisfying view of the valley once you reach the top make this 3.8-mile-long, shadeless red dirt trail one of my favorite hikes in Steamboat.
Please hike. Please leave no trace. Keep our beautiful spaces beautiful.