Last night I watched the film, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a story about a man who gave up his day dreaming and embarked on adventures he once only imagined.

I think sometimes we see ourselves doing something remarkable, but we let fear and the opinions of others keep us from going on our big adventure.

In reality, we don’t all have the luxury of leaving our day jobs like Mitty to become an adventurous adrenaline junkie, but I like the message of doing rather than just dreaming. And this could relate to our fitness, health, career or even relationship goals!

Sunday Fit Day: Claremont Loop

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This morning my boyfriend, his family and I hiked the Claremont Wilderness Loop in Claremont, CA. I’ve never been on this trail before, but it’s a local favorite and we thought we’d try it together. I’m happy to say that it turned out to be a great workout and bonding experience for the family.

The trail starts on North Mills Avenue and although there are two parking lots, we had to park in a residential area nearby due to all the visitors. It was pretty crowded, but I was told that’s normal for a weekend.

There were four adults and three children in our group. The youngest was in a stroller, and boy did that intensify the hike. The adults would take turns pushing the stroller uphill. It was a complete body workout! I felt the burn in my thighs, calfs, core and arms.

The two children on foot were able to keep pace, but after five miles they were quite tired like the rest of us. I definitely recommend this trail for families who like the outdoors or just want to accomplish something together.

I can’t wait until the next family hike!

Take a Hike!

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There is something truly sensational about being surrounded by nature. It almost feels like you should be listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach: Cello Suites on your headphones. I’m surprised I’ve never fallen on a hike from being distracted by the scenery.

Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. I love feeling the natural heat on my shoulders as I run up a hill and enjoying the cool breeze as it passes through the trees. I almost always seem to come back home more focused and relaxed. And boy does it do wonders for the body! Or should I say, bootay!

When I was in college, I worked part-time as an assistant park ranger (and no I didn’t wear that funny looking hat). Walking trails on a patrol was excellent cardio and great for muscle tone. Now, I find myself driving to different trails quite often. It’s a great escape.

Before guiding students through the canyon I once worked at, I always told them that there were only three dangerous things to be mindful of during our hike. Now you may be considering mountain lions, bob cats or even bears. However, for our canyon, it was quite the contrary.

I worked for the canyon for over a year and never once did we have anyone encounter a mountain lion. Our visitors usually scared bob cats off before they could have a true encounter with one. And as for the black bears – they’re usually just there for the food. And I’m not talking about people.

The three things to be mindful of when hiking are poison oak, deer ticks and rattlesnakes.

“Leaves of three, let it be.” Remember this rhyme and it just might save you from an extremely unpleasant itchy rash that may have you looking like you caught some disgusting skin disorder. And no one wants that! Most established parks perform maintenance to clear poison oak from the trail, however it is an invasive plant, so it grows back quite quickly. The color of the plant leaves change throughout the seasons – click here for some examples.

To avoid poison oak, it is quite simple – leave the vegetation alone and stay on the trail. Another note – if you love taking your dog for a hike, be mindful that though their fur may protect them from the itchy rash, you can get the leaf oil on your skin from petting them.

Deer Ticks are these ugly little bugs that like to stick their head in your skin and suck your blood like a mosquito. They can pass a variety of different viruses and bacterias, which is why you must be cautious. Always check your clothes and skin after a hike to make sure you didn’t attract one of these critters. It’s always good to hike in pants just to be on the save side.

During the summer, rattlesnakes take to sun bathing on rocks or in brush. I have seen many rattlesnakes and these creatures are no joke. They are quick and strong. Do not be the dummy that thinks its funny to poke a rattlesnake with a stick (I’ve seen this) or you may be sorry. If you happen to come across one, move out of the way as quietly as you can. Most of the time you’ll hear it’s rattle as a fair warning.

Now, it’s time for you to take a hike!

Below are two of my favorite photos I took while hiking. Feel free to explore this page to find some trails near you.

Monrovia Canyon Park – Bill Cull Trail, Waterfall Trail, Ben Overturff Trail, Monrovia Peak
Monrovia, CA

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Garcia Trail
Azusa, CA

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