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Visiting These 8 Hiking Cities in the US will Help You Reconnect with Nature

Visiting These 8 Hiking Cities in the US will Help You Reconnect with Nature

In the past, people have lived on this earth as just a part of a large system of flora and fauna, constantly alert and always keeping themselves busy with both mental and physical tasks to help ensure their survival. This required us to be in tune with nature, which meant shaping our body’s biochemical makeup a certain way and made us develop a particular set of basic instincts and emotional responses.

However, we are now far removed from the harsh conditions that molded us into who we are today, and quite simply put, these bodies were not made for sitting around in chairs all day, breathing stale air and pulling all-nighters with nothing but a coffee jug, salty or sugary snacks and a dim artificial light to keep us company. It is time for us to start reconnecting with nature, and a good old hike is a fun and simple way to do this.

The great outdoors has plenty to offer

When I say that we need to reconnect with nature, I don’t mean it in the cliché hippie or new age sense, because using tons of drugs and hugging trees in the park is not quite what these bodies were made for either. I simply mean that spending time outdoors, engaged in a physical activity that taxes the body, can be highly beneficial to our mental and physical health. It is best to find decent lightweight hiking equipment and get a bit of training before heading off into the wild — you don’t want your backpack weighing you down too much, so you’ll want to pack only the essentials and build up stamina with some light running first. With this in mind, let’s look at some US cities that you can visit if you want a break from your everyday life and are looking for a place with great hiking opportunities. Each of these cities will allow for a comfortable stay, so you can explore the beautiful nature around them during the day, and have warm bed to sleep in at night.

1. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Deseret Peak

    A big city with plenty to see, Salt Lake also offers a lot in terms of scenery in the surrounding area. The 4-mile Bell Canyon to First Waterfall trail lets you take in the beautiful waterfall and two different reservoirs, the last one requiring a bit more stamina to reach. For more experienced hikers or those with a good level of fitness, the 7-mile Mill Fork Trail leading up to Deseret Peak is a great option.

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    The trail takes you to the 11,031 foot summit, with a breathtaking view of the surrounding area for miles on end, ensuring that you’ll get a new appreciation for the natural beauties that the US has to offer. It’s fairly easy to find a decent place to stay without breaking the bank, and there is a lot to see.

    2. Fort Collins, Colorado

    Fort Collins Horsetooth Rock

      Home to Colorado State University, this lovely town has a number of hiking trails rated as moderate close by, and some cost-effective places to kick back and relax after a long day of exploring. The 6.2-mile Horsetooth Rock trail reveals an astonishing rock formation resembling a series of, you guessed it, giant horse teeth, with the Horsetooth Falls gurgling nearby.

      The short 1.8 mile Gem Lake hike reveals some fairly unusual and stunning rock formations, while some of the Hall Ranch trails can be an arduous undertaking, but are good for those who have some experience with mountain biking.

      3. Blacksburg, Virginia

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      Blacksburg Cascades

        Home to Virginia Tech and a stone’s throw away from the Jefferson National Forest, Blacksburg is a lovely little town with plenty of great hiking trails nearby. You’ll find acres upon acres of old-growth forests a majestic sight. Threading down trails like the 5-mile Cascades National Recreation Trail that takes you by a lovely 66 ft. waterfall, the moderately difficult 7.9-mile Mcafee’s Knob or the demanding 4.6-mile Dragon Tooth Trail with a stunning panoramic view from the top.

        There are some good affordable accommodations to be found with all the modern commodities one would expect from one of the South’s best college towns, making Blacksburg an excellent place from which to begin exploring the exciting trails of the Jefferson National Forest.

        4. Sedona, Arizona

        Sedona rock formation

          A small town nestled between truly amazing red sandstone formations, the kind you see in old westerns and cartoons, Sedona will inspire you and take your breath away. Although it has a small population, it is an incredibly popular tourist destination and has many motels, hotels and cozy cabins in the wilderness, which make finding a room relatively easy.

          As for the trails, you can try the Huckaby Trail and the Soldiers Pass Trail, which are relatively easy and take you through plenty of gorgeous terrain that look like they were painted by a skilled artist. More hardcore hikers or climbers will enjoy the Cathedral Rock Trail, which is more of a steep climb than a hike, but the view is unparalleled.

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          5. Portland, Oregon

          Oregon Multnomah Falls

            Portland is the largest city in Oregon and not what you would consider a rural getaway, but it is located on good land with tons of hiking opportunities and untamed nature. There are a number of good hotels catering to those on a budget. The Columbia River Gorge features lovely waterfalls, while the Oregon coastline, a little over an hour away, offers exceptional hiking trails and a combination of rocky terrain and beaches.

            During winter, go down to Mount Hood National Forest where you’ll find the 4-mile Twin Lakes Snowshoe Hike and the 4-mile Salmon River Meadows Snowshoe Hike, both challenging but exciting and fun experiences. There is even a fun 50 Hikes Challenge for the biggest outdoors enthusiasts.

            6. Jackson, Wyoming

            Jackson Hole Paintbrush hike

              Jackson lies on the southern end of Jackson Hole, a wonderful area featuring some astonishing sights. There are inns and lodges that allow you to get a more rural experience. The area is great for backpacking and both long and short hikes.

              The 22-mile Dunanda Falls trail takes you through absolutely mesmerizing terrain and is not too difficult to manage, while the 19-mile Paintbrush to Cascade, another all day hike, takes a bit more effort. But the resulting view is jaw dropping and leaves you in awe. There are even lama hikes and treks available for all the animal lovers out there.

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              7. Asheville, North Carolina

              Ashenville Craggy Pinacle

                The city of Asheville is home to the largest weather data archive in the world, the United States National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and features exciting mountain trails that offer wide panoramic views. From fairly easy hikes, like Hooker, Triple and High Falls, to moderate trails of Great Craggy Mountains with romantic lookouts like the Craggy Pinnacle, and even some fairly difficult hikes like the 10 mile Cold Mountain summit trail in the Pisgah National Forest, the area surrounding Asheville has something for everyone.

                There are tons of lovely bed and breakfasts that are ideal for couples, and a fair share of hotels. Whether going in a group or with a significant other, this is the perfect location to experience nature and give yourself a welcome break.

                8. Fairbanks, Alaska

                Fairbanks Granite Tors

                  Alaska is a wonderful state to explore, with pristine areas of nature unspoiled by human hands, and Fairbanks definitely won’t disappoint. Traditional log houses are perfect for anyone looking for an authentic nature experience. Although they are fitted with all pf the modern commodities, they still provide a specific ambiance that you won’t find anywhere else.

                  Some of the better trails include the 3.4-mile Angel Rocks trail rated as moderate and with plenty of lush greenery and wildlife, the 15-mile Granite Tors Trail that goes through magnificent terrain with plenty of colorful wildflowers, and the easy 2-mile Savage River Trail that is a good choice for beginners. Since there are a lot of bears and moose in the surrounding area, it is best to bring a large caliber firearm for safety, but actual animal attacks are very rare.

                  Even if you haven’t had much experience with hiking before, it is a good idea to head out to one of these cities and go into the majestic wilderness surrounding them. There are plenty of health benefits to be had, including increased stamina, improved heart health, weight loss and stress relief. But you will also get a sense of what really lies beyond the concrete jungle that we live in. The experience of reconnecting with nature will change you for the better, and it is something everyone should try out.

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                  Ivan Dimitrijevic

                  Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                  Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                  8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                  8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                  In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                  Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                  Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                  Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                  Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                  The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                  There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                  How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                  According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                  Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                  Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                  The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                  Listen carefully:

                  We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                  The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                  Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                  8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                  There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                  Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                  1. Pray Daily

                  You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                  When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                  Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                  Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                  2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                  A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                  By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                  Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                  If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                  This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                  How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                  3. Smile Often

                  Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                  Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                  Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                  The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                  4. Organize Your Working Desk

                  A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                  When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                  Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                  Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                  5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                  I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                  Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                  What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                  6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                  God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                  I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                  I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                  7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                  You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                  How do you do that? This is my formula:

                  First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                  If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                  If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                  If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                  Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                  8. Go Exercise

                  Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                  The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                  You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                  12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                  The Bottom Line

                  It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                  It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                  Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                  More Resources About Mindfulness

                  Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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