When hunting for adventure, sometimes you only have to look as far as the nearest trail. Not only does hiking offer you the opportunity to explore nature, spot wildlife, and enjoy gorgeous scenery, it’s also inexpensive and healthy. And you can make it as easy or difficult as you want just by picking a longer route or more strenuous trail.
“Hiking is great exercise and it will give you the opportunity to relax from the stresses of everyday life,” Brian, of Brian and Ashley’s Hiking Blog told us recently. “It also gives you a new respect for the awesome power and beauty found in nature.”
Brian and Ashley are hiking fanatics who blog about trails in Orange County, California and beyond. Here, they share their thoughts on everything from how hiking has strengthened their relationship to the essentials every day-tripper should make sure to pack.
Tell us your story…how did you come to start your blog?
Brian and Ashley’s Hiking Blog was originally Ashley’s idea. Early on in our dating years we went on our first hike together to the top of Mt. San Jacinto in July of 2007. From there we continued to regularly go hiking and sometime thereafter Ashley had the idea to start a hiking blog to share our experiences and adventures with family and friends! Ashley gets full credit for starting the hiking blog and it has gone through several revisions since then.
When did you start hiking? Why do you enjoy it?
We went on our first hike together in 2007. I had been on numerous hikes before, but the hike to Mr. San Jacinto was Ashley’s first hike. It was the hike that truly cemented our relationship. We enjoy hiking for a lot of different reasons. Each hike offers its own unique experience, beautiful scenery, the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, and the chance to see wildlife. Hiking provides great exercise. Additionally, hiking is extremely rewarding: It is a great feeling when you set a goal of reaching a summit or other spot and then you succeed on reaching your goal.
How has hiking helped your relationship?
Hiking is a great relationship builder. The time we have spent hiking has definitely helped strengthen our relationship. Hiking gives you a chance to have unique experiences not shared by anyone else. It helps build trust in your relationship because you have to rely on each other when out hiking in the wilderness and when you confront challenging situations.
One of the biggest ways hiking helped our relationship is in dealing with the disappointments and/or struggles of a difficult hike. There are inevitably going to be hikes that are harder than you anticipate and sometimes you can motivate each other to reach your goal. However, there are times when the weather or another factor prevents you for making your goal and learning to deal with these disappoints has translated into being able to deal with challenges in other areas of life.
Alternately, you get the chance to share the joys of reaching very high summits and/or achieving other goals together as a couple. Additionally, you get to experience the beauty of a summer thunderstorm or stunning scenery, all the way to the surprise of seeing a bobcat, bear, deer, or other wild animal in their natural setting. Ultimately, hiking has helped us to communicate better, built our trust, and most of all increased our respect for one another. When you are out in the deep in the wilderness it is only the two of you against the elements.
What are some of your favorite trails in Southern California?
Here are our top five hiking trails in Southern California:
What have been some of the most interesting/exciting things you’ve seen while on the trail?
There have been several times where we have had to quickly hike off an exposed peak or mountain due to rapidly approaching or quickly developing summer thunderstorms, which can be quite scary until you reach a point of safety. However, once you reach that point of safety where you are off an exposed peak you get to see the spectacle of an intense summer thunderstorm.
Generally, the most exciting things are always your chance encounters with different types of wildlife. The truth is you never know when you are going to see an animal and each in counter is always different. We have had the chance to see bears, bobcats, deer, elk, bison, snakes, and numerous other animals in their natural settings.
If we had to pick one experience it would have to be our most recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. We had a chance to go hiking and while out on our hike we had the amazing opportunity to see a pack of four wolves hunt/stalk a heard of elk. The wolves were unsuccessful in their attempts, but we had a great spot to watch. It was a situation that would have probably have scared most, however as seasoned hikers, we knew the wolves really posed no realistic threat.
What are some of the biggest mistakes unseasoned hikers make?
The biggest mistake unseasoned hikers make is not being properly prepared. It is always important to know the conditions of the trail, tell someone where you are going, when you anticipate returning, to have the right clothing, proper shoes, and enough water and food anytime you are going into the wilderness. Many injuries or problems can happen on short hikes that are not that far from home/civilization. It is always important to be prepared.For the rest of the interview Click Here!