I spent last weekend in Zion National Park with my husband, Dave. It’s a breathtaking place: Imagine huge red-rock mountains all around you—or better yet, check out my photos, below. On Saturday we set out on Angel’s Landing, the most famous of Zion’s hiking trails. The first two miles are a steady uphill climb with steep (read: scary) drop-offs. We didn’t talk much, just concentrated on our footing and reminded each other every once in a while to drink some water or check out the scenery. When we arrived at the end of the trail, we stopped to take in the view (it’s not every day you look down from 5,000 feet!), then climbed another mile-and-a-half on the West Rim Trail. By the end of the day we’d logged more than nine miles on four trails and seen wildflowers, waterfalls, freshwater ponds, and even a mule deer (picture a deer with the ears of a mule—adorable!).
On the shuttle ride back to our motel, I felt so thankful that I’d been able to make those climbs. I don’t have a strong desire to run a marathon, complete a triathlon, or even master crow pose—I just want to be fit enough to never have to sit out an adventure.
P.S. In the weeks leading up to this trip, I added stair climbing to my twice-weekly outdoor workouts. I’m not sure how much it helped—my legs still felt like Jell-O at the end of the each hike—but it was a fun way to mix up my routine. To do it, simply find a set of stairs indoors or out (I use the ones outside the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits) and challenge yourself to do 5 “sets” of each of these activities: jogging up and down; walking lunges up (step on every other step and bend your knees deeply) and jogging down; and walking up and down. I guarantee you’ll feel the burn in your butt and thighs!