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 Park
Bryce National Park
Arches National Park
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.