Behold! Summer has found its way to Oregon once again and with it comes the opportunity to ditch the mundane confines of the gym (don’t worry we’ll be back!) and utilize Oregon’s nature playground! Oregonians are amongst some of the luckiest people in terms of the location in which they live. From its beautiful and unexploited beaches to its endless forests, falls and mountains, Our state provides beauty and endless opportunity for those who want to enjoy the outdoors while being active, not to mention getting to take in the pristinely clean air while doing it. One way to utilize and incorporate the above mentioned greatness is hiking. An excellent cardio experience and in many cases a test in endurance, hiking can be as challenging or leisurely as you would like it to be. Another benefit to this type of activity is that it allows us to enjoy it with others. Oregon offers endless outdoor opportunity and terrain for avid hikers or those just looking to enjoy the outdoors for summer.
No matter where you reside in Oregon, one never has to go far to enjoy a hike. Take Multnomah Falls for example. Located just outside Portland in Bridal Veil, hikers can enjoy an incredible day exploring miles of forest and hiking up, through and around numerous falls. This incredible landscape encompasses endless trails leading to vantage points that allow one to take in the lush greenery that surrounds Multnomah Falls. Offering steep inclines, as well as easy going walking trails, Multnomah Falls offers something for everyone looking to enjoy the outdoors.
Another unique outdoor treasure Oregon possesses is its coastline. Unlike most beaches and coastal areas on the West Coast that are generally flat, the Oregon coast provides just as much opportunity for a great and challenging hike as the mountain ranges. For instance, Cape Lookout, located in Tillamook County, is said to provide the absolute best view for whale watching. With one trail leading hikers up 300 feet another will drop you south into an isolated beach. Cape Lookout jets out 2.5 miles into the ocean providing one of the most incredible and “awe inspiring” ocean views. You see, being healthy and staying fit is not just about the body, but also about the mind. What better way to exercise both than by surrounding yourself into one of Oregon’s many exquisite outdoor landscapes?
For those who must know exactly what kind of health benefits they are gaining while on a hike, relax! There are a wide range of tools that allow you to track your steps, speed and miles traveled and calories burned. If you have the need to keep track I highly suggest you consider the investment. Pedometers, smart phone applications and even some GPS’s will keep track of these things allowing you to fully experience the hike knowing your progress is being tracked for later review. Like the saying goes, it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey. So let these devices keep track of every calorie burned so you can focus on you the experience at hand and your surroundings!
Whether you want to make a day of it or have a full on camping adventure, Oregon offers endless possibilities. Follow these next few steps and you’re ready to go! First decide where you want to explore and do research so you are comfortable and aware of what you are getting yourself into. Next, get up, fill up your camel back, grab some trail mix and gather up a few people you enjoy spending time with. Be realistic when choosing. You don’t have to start with a 20 mile up-hill, 4 day hike to be able to enjoy yourself and feel challenged. Gather the necessary equipment and supplies that are needed for your choice of hike (this will of course depend on the difficulty of the hike and your intended length of stay) and always make sure someone at home knows where you plan to go (safety first!). Now go! Get outside and explore while enjoying all the benefits of an Oregon summer, because before we know it, our trademark rainy season will be back!
I have only mentioned two of the endless list of places for fellow Oregonians and visitors of Oregon to explore. Websites such as www.oregonhiking.com, www.portlandhiking.org and www.nwhiker.com are great resources to get you started on your first or next hiking adventure. Enjoy and happy trails- Oregon trail’s that is!