Advertising
Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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

      Advertising

      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.

          Advertising

          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.

              Advertising

              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.

                  More by this author

                  Ivan Dimitrijevic

                  SEO Consultant

                  50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them 5 Exercises To Improve Intimacy and Create a Better Relationship 8 Fun and Unique Birthday Party Ideas for People in Their 20s 50 Cleaning Hacks for Your Home That Will Make Your Life Easier 40 Amazing Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

                  Trending in Leisure

                  1 How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40 2 The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 3 25 Truly Amazing Places To Visit Before You Die 4 30 Fun Things to Do at Home 5 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Published on November 14, 2018

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                  For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                  In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                  Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                  Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                  It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                  For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                  Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                  Symptoms of Fatigue

                  Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                  • mental blocks
                  • lack of motivation
                  • headache
                  • dizziness
                  • muscle weakness
                  • slowed reflexes and responses
                  • impaired decision-making and judgement
                  • moodiness, such as irritability
                  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                  • reduced immune system function
                  • blurry vision
                  • short-term memory problems
                  • poor concentration
                  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                  Causes of Fatigue

                  The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                  Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                  Medical Causes of Fatigue

                  If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                  Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                  Anemia

                  Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                  Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                  There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

                  Advertising

                  This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                  Diabetes

                  Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                  Sleep Apnea

                  Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                  Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                  Thyroid disease

                  An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                  Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Lack of sleep
                  • Too much sleep 
                  • Alcohol and drugs 
                  • Sleep disturbances 
                  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                  • Poor diet 

                  Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                  Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                  Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                  How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                  Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                  1. Tell The Truth

                  Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                  To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                  Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                  The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                  One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                  • How you feel
                  • What time of day it is
                  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                  • How your mind and body reacts

                  This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                  2. Reduce Your Commitments

                  When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

                  Advertising

                  If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                  When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                  Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                  3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                  If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                  Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                  If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                  Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                  Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                  4. Express More Gratitude

                  Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                  It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                  Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                  5. Focus On Yourself

                  Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                  There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                  But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                  We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                  6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                  Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

                  Advertising

                  Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                  The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                  Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                  7. Take a Power Nap

                  When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                  Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                  This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                  8. Take More Exercise

                  The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                  Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                  The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                  You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                  9. Get More Quality Sleep

                  To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                  Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                  My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                  10. Improve Your Diet

                  Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                  Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                  On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

                  Advertising

                  To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                  Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                  Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                  11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                  Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                  When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                  Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                  My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                  12. Get Hydrated

                  Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                  Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                  If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                  The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                  The Bottom Line

                  These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                  If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                  [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                  [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                  [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                  [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                  [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

                  Read Next