This past weekend I ended up covering 23 miles on my feet. No, I didn't run a race, but went out for a hike, or actually, two hikes. Walking is a great way to move your body.
The two hikes were pretty different. On the first one we explored Alamere falls in the Point Reyes area. But the second hike I took this past weekend was something I'd like to call a urban hike. I took a nice long walk in San Francisco and the Bay area.
For most of us, hiking associates with dirty roads, rocks or river banks. Sure, hiking in woods close to water is awesome.
But maybe you can't go out to nature every time you wish? Maybe you live in the city and getting into a national park would mean couple of hours of car ride?
Then,[tweet_box design=”box_04″]Go for a urban hike. There is something to explore in every area.[/tweet_box]
Urban Hike in the Bay Area
An urban hike just what I did last Sunday. I caught the Bart (the Bay Are Public Transportation) from El Cerrito to the City, then hopped on a ferry that took me across the bay to a cute little town Sausalito in Marin County.
I walked around in Sausalito a bit, then took some pretty serious hills up to Golden Gate bridge, walked all the way across the bridge back to San Francisco and finished my walk at Fisherman's Wharf.
I did things that I had never done before: took the ferry across the bay, walked around in Sausalito and walked the bridge back. Along the way I talked with some fun people, heard so many different languages, learnt some new things and definitely walked some stress out of my mind.[tweet_box design=”box_04″]Walk the stress out of your mind. [/tweet_box]
The walk took me close to three hours and of course, that's a lot of time. But there is no need to go out for that long – go for as long as you can. However, I'm convinced that on occasion, everybody should take time for longer walks, runs, or bike rides to explore the area.
Three hours is less than two percent of the whole week. You should take that time for yourself.
Not exactly sure what to do on a urban hike, how to plan it or what to bring?
1. Pull out a map and find a place you haven't been before
I'm sure there are places in your area you have never been to. Even if you have been living in the same place for years, there's probably something you don't know about yet.
Check it out! You may be surprised with how much there is to discover in your area.
There are plenty of side streets, cool buildings or parks to check out. There may be a ton of street art out there. Go and find where these places are.
2. Be open and talk to people
When you are in a place new to you, you probably see people you've never met before. That's a great chance to communicate with them.
I met a lot of tourists because, well, that's San Francisco, and I happened to walk around in pretty touristy area. It was cool to chat with them and ask where they are from. Some of them were curious about cool places or restaurants to visit in the area, so I could give them recommendations.
I may not be the most social person on Earth, but this kind of interaction always makes me feel good.
3. Learn something new
Keep your ears and eyes open and you will get a lot of new fun information.
For example, I didn't know that Sausalito was one of the most important ship building cities during the World War II. There are also may “floating homes”, as the locals call the boat houses and you can even take a tour there.
I will be sure to come back for the tour and to visit one of the cute coffee shops or restaurants in Sausalito. There were plenty of them.
4. Don't think of it as an exercise
There are so many other benefits of moving than just getting a workout in and done. I love my hard HIIT workouts, but not every activity should be done thinking what muscle groups it works or how many calories it burns (to be honest, that's something I don't think you should be thinking of anyway).
When you think of hiking as a chance to go out, explore, learn, meet people and have fun, it will be more interesting. I'm not saying that regular workouts are not interesting; I just think that for walking and exploring, having a little bit different mindset and spontaneity will serve you better.
5. Bring your camera, but don't go crazy with taking pictures
It's cool to document all the fun places you see, but I wouldn't bother myself with pulling out my camera whenever I see something awesome. It's just distracting. I better save some pictures just to memory card of my mind.
When you take a picture of all the small things you see on your hike, tune them up and find the right hashtags for Instagram, tweet and share in other social media, you probably won't be able to absorb everything you experience.
6. Pack light
The great thing about urban hikes is that you don't need to bring much. Just make sure you are wearing comfortable sneakers or running shoes and have your water bottle with you. You don't even need to carry a gallon of water because you can stop in a convenience store. And, a major plus about urban hikes – there are bathrooms available.
Bring some snacks if you need to, but unless you are going out for 5+ hours, you probably don't need that much food. Besides, it's an urban hike after all, which means that there will be shops and stores and restaurants around if you get hungry.
You don't always have access to nature when you want to go for a hike. Urban hikes offer a really great opportunity to get out and move yourself in a city.
Never assume that there is nothing interesting to see in your area or that you have already seen it all. There is something to explore everywhere, I'm pretty sure about that.
Even if you think that you have seen it all, it may be worth going again because places are different in a different time of the day or a year. And the people you see are definitely different than the last time.
You probably won't see lakes or river banks or meet a bear along the way (I'm not sure if you would even like that) like you would on a nature hike. But you will be able to explore some side streets, bridges, buildings and neighborhoods that are new to you and still get a great experience of your hike.