Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Hiking Challenge

The girls are preparing for a pioneer trek in August, and a couple of months ago I said, "We should go on a lot of hikes this summer so you can be ready for Trek." They said, "Yeah, right. You always say that." It's true. Every summer we want to do a lot of hiking, but then I get busy and we end up going maybe once or twice the whole summer. So I decided this is the year we're going to change that. No more lame mom excuses! The challenge is on!

We had a homeschool group that met once a week and finished in early May. Since we already had that day set aside, it was easy to make that our hiking day. I talked with the kids about going hiking every week the whole summer (unless weather or emergency prevents us). They liked the idea. So the week after our group ended, we started our weekly hikes.

Week 1 - The Y - Difficult

The Y trail was quite a workout for our first hike. T. had done it with his dad before, but the girls hadn't, and I hadn't since I lived in Provo. I think I was in better shape back then, or maybe the mountain got taller and steeper in the last 20 years. But we made it to the bottom of the Y. We had planned to go to the top, but by the time we reached the bottom we were very happy to stop there. The trail is steep and climbs constantly with benches for resting at many of the switchbacks. We needed them!

Week 2 - City Creek Canyon - Easy

Amazingly, after hiking the Y the kids were still willing to keep going on weekly hikes. (Maybe going to the BYU Creamery afterward helped. Mmmm, Coconut Joy ice cream.) So the next week we stayed in the Salt Lake area and went to City Creek Canyon. I've always loved that there's a canyon right in the downtown area where you can feel like you're far away from the city. We drove past the lower part of the canyon and started our hike at the gate. We didn't hike the whole trail (I think it's something like 6 miles each way) but went about a mile and a half up and then came back. The trail is paved and not very steep.

It was perfect weather, nice and cool with lots of birds chirping and the sound of the creek next to the trail. I decided that in the fall, when we end our weekly hikes, I'd like to come back and hike the whole trail (with whoever's willing to join me) and bring a picnic.

Week 3 - Silver Lake - Easy (moderately easy with snow)

We learned that in May, the Silver Lake trail can still have a lot of snow. It made this easy hike a little more challenging as we climbed over snow piles and tried not to slip.

But at least we didn't have to worry about mosquitoes! It was actually a lot of fun hiking in the snow under the trees. We've been to Silver Lake many times and we enjoyed having a different experience this time.

Week 4 - Sugarhouse Park - Easy

The snow convinced us that we should stay in the valley for a few more weeks before trying any more canyon hiking. So last week we decided to walk around Sugarhouse Park. There's a road that circles the park and it has a wide area marked off for pedestrians. The loop is only a little over a mile, but it was still a nice walk with some ups and downs. You can tell from the photo that one of us did not bring enough water and got hot and cranky, and another one of us was getting tired of listening to the crankiness. But we reached the car soon afterward and all was well.

Designating our hiking days ahead of time has made all the difference. And of course it helps to live so close to the mountains and have so many trails to choose from. I haven't decided yet where we'll hike this week, but so far I'm very pleased with how it's going.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

What a good idea. We're going on Trek too, this July. 1 more month. We need to get moving! Hiking is perfect!