We <3 Hiking

Zion 7

If there’s one thing I hate more than anything, it’s clowns. But if there’s one other thing I hate more than most things, it’s that dreary November to March stretch that many of us in the Northern Hemisphere call winter. Sure, it has its redeeming aspects: festive holidays, snow, sweatpants. But it also marks the end of some of my favorite things: t-shirts, college football, and hiking. And it’s losing that last one for a few months that makes us most sad.

We’ve really grown to love hiking over the last year. Since moving to Utah, we’ve made it a point to not take for granted the incredible beauty this state has to offer. And what better way to experience it than strapping on a backpack, putting your child in said backpack, and roaming around the great outdoors?

Here’s a taste of some of our hiking adventures this year (mostly courtesy of Joanna’s Instagram account):

Zion National ParkZion National Park

Bryce National ParkBryce National Park

Arches National ParkArches National Park

Rock CanyonRock Canyon

Stewart FallsStewart Falls

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my favorite aspect about hiking/climbing/outdoorsy stuff: it’s best buds with budgeting! All of those hiking excursions above (plus others not shown) combined cost us wayyy less than most three-day beach vacations. Don’t get us wrong, we love us a beach vacation, but hiking delivers a pretty killer ROI.

Since it’s become such a staple in our weekend plans, we’ve made some conscious upfront investments on gear like a child carrier backpack, rock climbing shoes and harnesses, and an annual National Parks pass. Joanna already had hiking boots, so I figured it was high time to get a pair to call my own. The folks at Ahnu let me the try out their Ahnu Potrero boots and duuuuude… why didn’t anyone passing me on the trails tell me I was an idiot for wearing sandals and 8-year-old Vans slip-ons?

We did a short hike nearby with some waterfall features (Sally’s favorite type of hike) to help break them in and it felt like my ankles were getting a warm, affectionate hug the whole way up. They were light on my feet and perfect for crossing water and/or corralling Sally away from danger. And while irrelevant to most (read: not me), these actually look really nice, unlike every other ugly-as-sin boot I tried on at REI. But most importantly, I could actually hike in the winter in these bad boys. You hear that winter? I’m coming for you!

We still have many a hike left to conquer on our list: The Narrows, Havasupai, Colorado National Monument, Yellowstone, Half Dome, Buckskin Gulch, and many more. And with proper gear in tow, we’re up for the challenge. What hikes are on your must-do list?

*Heads Up/Disclosure: Ahnu was kind enough to provide gear to review, but we weren’t compensated to do so. All opinions came straight from our own noggins, not some robot’s.

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  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank November 24, 2014 at 7:20 am

    I also love hiking! I do it once a month and it has become a practice of mine. I do it in a group, but I am planning to do it alone (it sounds very challenging). When it comes to footwear, have hiking boots. Never forget to bring a camera and a fully-charged phone. And, sunscreen!

  • Reply Mrs. Frugalwoods November 24, 2014 at 7:37 am

    My husband and I absolutely love to hike. It’s our favorite hobby. There’s nothing better than being out in nature together and just enjoying a distraction-free experience. Plus, it’s free and great exercise to boot! We do hike in the winter here in the Northeast, but it takes the right gear to make it tenable.

  • Reply moneystepper November 24, 2014 at 8:08 am

    This has made me so sad that summer has ended!! Christmas is fun, but just doesn’t cut it compared to the outdoors life in summer!

  • Reply Mrs SSC November 24, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I miss hiking! I used to live in the northeast and would hike all the time, same with my husband when he lived in Colorado. But the last 8 years we’ve been in the Deep South – and the humidity and bugs make it hard to get motivated. I know Mr. SSC wants to finish the Appalachian Trail – which he hiked 80% of years ago before getting ill. I would love to hike down the Grand Canyon.

    It is great you found some awesome shoes. I love my hiking boots – and I remember how excited I was when I upgraded from sneakers – so much more support, and less ankle twists!

  • Reply Miranda @ Miranda Writes Blog November 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I have not a single need for hiking boots, but warm, affectionate ankle hugs sound like a dream… Does the hike from the back of the parking lot to Target count? Somehow I doubt it.

  • Reply Michelle November 24, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I love hiking as well. Love the places you have been to! We have been roadtripping and hiking all over and have been having fun. We recently hiked at Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, and Red Rock Canyon just this month.

  • Reply Brittany @ Fun on a Budget Blog November 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Utah is such a beautiful state. I swear the scenery and endorphins on hikes seems even 10x better when you know it’s one of the cheapest options out there. The Colorado trail is on out to do list.

  • Reply Rob November 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Hey dude, nice to see you back in the “blogging saddle” again here. Giving Joanna a bit of a rest, are you? 🙂

    As to what hikes are on my must-do list, well … since we don’t have the great outdoors that you guys down there have, here in Toronto I’d have to say that my daily 6 am early morning coffee run to my local Tim Horton’s is about all that I can own up to. But wot da ‘ell, I’m retired! 🙂

  • Reply Even Steven November 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Looks awesome, we have some friends in Kalispel and I can’t wait to go visit, their pictures are amazing.

  • Reply Caitlin November 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Just curious, what kind of child carrier are you using? Still using the ergo, or is little miss getting too big? I too love hiking and have been sorely missing it since having my son 5 months ago…

    • Reply Joanna December 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Caitlin! Because we planned to do a lot of hiking in Utah, we got a hiking backpack last summer. The Ergo was great for short hikes, but Sally wasn’t happy in it for longer hikes. We chose the Deuter Kid Comfort Air… I think it was around $200. Pricey, which is why it was our anniversary gift (so romantic!). We really love it… it’s been a really good backpack.

  • Reply Michelle December 7, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I love hiking too!! I hike regularly during my lunch hour. The next time you’re in Colorado we have to plan a trek. Maybe go to some yurts? I actually want to do the super famous trek in New Zealand-The Milford Trek.

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