Find your new favorite hike

Last week, we revealed a miracle holiday health salve guaranteed to get you through the holidays unscathed — walking. A daily walk, we noted, could alleviate a mountain of seasonal stress and keep you from gaining weight to boot. Of course, we acknowledged, it is the holidays; the demands of the season might make it tough to get out every day. Realistically, we asked, how many days a week could you commit to walk: six? Four or five? One … hopefully? Yesterday, we shared the results of that survey. We also shared what you told us were your favorite walks.

Today, we’re back to look at walking’s more adventurous cousin, hiking. The difference between the two is open to debate; for our purposes we’ll make it simple: paved surface (walking) vs. natural surface (hiking). We’ll throw in one more difference: time and distance (walks tend to be shorter and take less time). The similarity: Both can be lifesavers come the holidays. Walking tends to be the short-term, stop-gap sanity saver that helps you deal with the day-to-day. Realize over morning coffee that you need to: 1. Make holiday fudge, 2. Get a tree, 3. Get your packages to the inlaws in Bemidji in the mail, 4. Organize the neighborhood gift exchange and, 5. Do this all before work? Better start the day with a calming walk around the hood. Even 15 minutes of walking could go a long way toward keeping your head from exploding.

A more time-consuming hike, on the other hand, may just be a one-time thing over the holidays, but it could be the one thing. The one thing you cling to, the thing you mentally escape to when things get especially testy. Close your eyes, breathe deep and float back to that afternoon last Saturday that you spent in the woods. To the light knifing sideways through the forest, to the ground carpeted with fallen leaves, to the quiet. That one hike, those one or two or three hours spent on the trail, could mean the difference between gracious host and being featured in this week’s The Slammer.

So, this week our goal is to help you find that one hike that will help get you through the holidays. Take our survey, answer three quick questions, and we’ll report back next week with five suggestions based on your criteria.

Click here to begin, then block out some time for a hike.

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