Do Go Chasing Waterfalls, But First... Some Hiking Tips

I got to live out my Halloween dreams of dressing up as TLC by chasing waterfalls at Yosemite National Park. We were missing the silk pajamas, but this was still pretty fulfilling.

During our short trip, we were able to see Vernal, Nevada, and Yosemite Falls. I know TLC recommended against it, but I put together some tips for you to use before you go chasing waterfalls that I think they’d approve of.

Get in Chasing Shape

You don’t have to do months of training before going on a hike, but being somewhat conditioned will prepare your body for walking up hills for extended periods of time. My friend Ashley organized the trip, and her dad was my hiking buddy for Mist Trail. He had a tall, strong build, and despite not working out regularly- he said he began doing some light running and weight training about 2 weeks prior to the trip. Being proactive about making sure your body is conditioned will help you get to the waterfalls, or wherever your destination is, faster and feeling less out of breath. Some activities I’d recommend doing before you go on a hiking trip.

  • Incline walking (preferably outdoors, but treadmill or elliptical otherwise.)
  • Running (slow, steady-state will simulate the intensity of the hikes, but high intensity sprints will still increase your aerobic capacity)
  • Get your legs and core strong with:
    • Squats
    • Step ups
    • Lunges
    • Elevated Calve Raises (the eccentric motion of walking downhill will likely leave you sore no matter what, but training them and having them somewhat adjusted to the eccentric motion, will leave you less sore than your hiking buddies)
    • Core Cable Twist

Power the Trek with Food

Make sure to eat a breakfast that will give you long-lasting energy, as opposed to leaving you feeling sluggish. High-fiber foods like oatmeal will keep you fuller longer. I opted for overnight oats with fruit and peanut butter.

Thoroughly satisfied with oats in a plastic bag. Don't forget your spoon.

Thoroughly satisfied with oats in a plastic bag. Don't forget your spoon.

Depending on the length of your hike, you may need to pause for snacks. In any case, it’s nice to stop and enjoy the view with food once you get to the top. Some of the snacks I brought were a mix of healthy carbs and protein:

  • Fruit 
  • Zing Bars (I try to avoid processed foods but these are too delicious)
  • Dried Edamame
  • WATER. You should be hydrating well everyday, but make sure you do so before and during your hike. 

Pack Appropriately

The trip organizer put together an extremely comprehensive list of items to pack, so I’ll share it with you! 

 On the hike, make sure to bring along:

  • Water 
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Personal care items (A visit from Aunt Flo in the woods with no back-up is no bueno.)
  • Dry socks (Because wet socks are awful and make you wart-prone.)
  • Snacks

Use these tips, and you can feel at ease going against TLC’s word. Chase all the waterfalls you want.

 

Red Rock Canyon

Overdue photos from our Red Rock Canyon Climb; Corny Reflections on the Adventure; and a Call to Action to Have Your Own (National Parks Week - Free Entry!)

Even planned adventures will be unpredictable. Have your expectations ever truly been met 100%? That's what makes an adventure what it is, though, right? That's why I should've known better than to expect a casual stroll through some scenic geological structures, laughing at Rahkeen's jokes, munching on goji berries. Instead I ended up scaling the entire face of a canyon... laughing at Rahkeen's jokes, and munching on goji berries. 

The power of the mind on a mission. Whether I'm telling myself I'm going to do 10 sprints, or run 5 miles- it's hard to stop at 5 sprints or 2.5 miles, because I know where the finish line is, and I'm already halfway there.

*The same applied on this hike, except I just thought I was halfway there. 

The first time Rahkeen asked if I wanted to stop, I took a glimpse of the canyon peak and said- "Let's get to the top!" Each time he asked me again, I'd look up and say- "It's right there!"

Now after the many times I had to reassure us both that, "We're so close! ...Right?", I realized that we weren't as close as I thought we were. But, the mere sight of my end goal and the thought of wasting the progress I'd made (we can talk sunk costs another time)- kept me going. I've always considered myself mission-driven, and this climb felt like an example of that trait manifesting itself. It's also not as cool a story to say you that you climbed half a mountain.

My "I think I need to take another route face."

My "I think I need to take another route face."

Comfort in being a leader and follower.  It's straightforward, but often people have more knowledge and experience than you, and those are instances when you shouldn't feel obligated to assert yourself as a leader, and be a learner instead.  Rahkeen had more experience and knowledge about climbing, so I was comfortable following his lead... for the most part (see photo above). 

Other times your leadership skills are needed to keep the journey going, i.e. My competitiveness made us keep continue when Rahkeen was ready to sit down and eat goji berries.

The view is always better when you earn it. The view is technically the same for a person who's able to pay for an easy way to get to the top, versus a person who had to take a hard climb. We see the same red rocks and blue sky. But in the same way TV parents say "you have to earn your own money before you can understand the value of a dollar", working hard to get to the top makes you feel more inclined to take in every detail of the beauty of that view you've earned the privilege of seeing. It makes you want to immerse yourself into the present moment that was made possible by a difficult journey- making your reds more vibrant and your blues more brilliant.

Before, During, and After replenishing with snacks Goji Berries.

Presence and gratitude.Being thousands of miles away from your responsibilities doesn't make them go away, but they can't be weighing on you 24/7 either. I had to be reminded, and continuously remind myself to just be there and appreciate where I was. "Be at, where ya feet at".

Similar to work out rest days, moments of meditation provide mental rejuvenation. Your mental health is key to you tending to those responsibilities and your own wellbeing. 

You don't have to take a road trip to have your own adventure! It is Part II of National Parks Week- so do take advantage of the free entry if you can get to one. Otherwise- adventures are what you make them, so try something new or get to know someone new!

Rally HealthFest: Hopes for the Future of Family Fun

Battered deep fried hot dogs, corn hole, and clowns.

Or fruit smoothies, sack races, and perky fit people.

I won’t condemn the All-American funnel cake, or the thrill of collapsable rollercoasters- but Rally HealthFest was my kind of Festival!

 

I arrived at Rally HealthFest and could feel the energy before I even found the registration check in table. The location in Justin Herman Plaza complemented the open, welcoming atmosphere- with palm trees, blue skies and sea gulls from the San Francisco pier serving as a backdrop to the family affair.

Core tenets of the HealthFest were clear from the beginning- with each participant receiving a rewards card to collect stickers earned from activities centered around four simple values: Move, Care, Eat, and Feel. 

 

Utilizing everything from games, a dance stage, and high energy instructors- the “Move" options were robust. Kids did football drills, sack races, and had access to the classic bouncy house. Meanwhile spin classes, yoga, and boot camps were in session throughout the day. 

At the main stage you could see (and hear) Boss Everline, Kevin Hart’s right hand trainer + philanthropist + entreprenuer, shouting through his microphone- encouraging mothers, fathers, sisters, and friends to move along with the dance instructor, or challenge themselves with one of his partner exercises. There on stage and popping in on some of the other activities, you could also find Kevin Hart himself, along with fellow celebrity ambassadors Melissa Menounos and Melvin Gordan.

 

If you wanted a break from the physical activity, you could write your future self a motivating note, play brain games, or share what you’re grateful for with colorful chalk on a big black board. 

You could also replenish with smoothies! Recipes were named after the 3 celebrity ambassadors- giving the option of Maria’s Mojo, which incorporated green veggies, Melvin’s berrylicious Marvel, and Hart’s Hustle. I… had 2 Mojo’s.

Seeing everyone dancing, laughing, and learning- genuinely made my heart warm. With every activity there was a takeaway about nutrition, physical, mental, or emotional health- and not a strand of cotton candy in sight!

Obviously in my zone.

Obviously in my zone.

It’s all a part of Rally’s mission. I admittedly hadn’t heard of Rally until I saw Kevin Hart’s face behind one of their logos at a bus stop. But I’ve since learned that in addition to hosting events like the HealthFest, they have a platform of apps that help people make smarter decisions about their health- whether that be finding a doctor, comparing health plan benefits, or making positive changes to your daily routine like reducing stress. 

Our culture has given joy and happiness such a strong tie to refined sugars, deep fryers, and sedentariness. Events like Rally HealthFest help unravel this association by bringing the same joy, except with movement, healthy nourishment, and thoughtfulness at the core. My hope is that the wellness trend continues to make strides in normalizing healthy habits across our communities. 

I also hope that I’ll be able to contribute to the cause/

If anyone has used, or plans to use a product from the Rally suite- I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you're in Atlanta looking for similar events, Rally has done events in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but you can follow their site to look out for future initiatives.

You can also check out local events like Atlanta Streets Alive Festival coming up in April (streets closed off for hearth-healthy, family activity) and Gospel Fest in August (providing health screenings in addition to music and networking). Or do a simple Google search and find something you and your friends can enjoy :)

On the post, Rally- your thoughts are appreciated!