Reflections and Ruminations
As I sit at my desk, overlooking Kootenay lake and across to the wilds of the Purcell mountain range, I can see orange and yellow sprinklings of the changing larch trees. This change of color, a riotous expression of a season morphing, is timely as we come to the end of our 2023 Mountain Trek season. We are wrapping up the season with another incredible group of 16 guests, each one with such a unique story they share. These are shared often quietly and slowly as we crunch across forest floors littered with leaves. I hear them express these stories over a cup of tea as they await a lecture. I hear giggles erupting from the hot tub as I walk by. I listen as they hold space for one another in a car ride, at our picnic spot under a giant cedar tree on the trail. And that is really the biggest highlight of all for me. Yes, weight was lost, new habits were formed, but what is most striking is the honest and raw vulnerability I witness from each guest we are lucky enough to host. This collective experience, shared over seven days with such people of such diverse backgrounds is really where the healing and transformation happens. When we share our stories, we give those listening the gift of seeing that they are not alone in their struggles.
Yes, weight was lost, new habits were formed, but what is most striking is the honest and raw vulnerability I witness from each guest we are lucky enough to host.
The Birth Of Flow Hiking and Its Amazing Results
One of the things we value highly is guest feedback. Each year we collect this feedback and review it weekly, and at season’s end. We look for themes and how we can implement changes to best support them. Last year, one thing was clear. Guests were overloaded with stress, and were seeking not just a ‘healthy vacation’, but a place of refuge and rest. For body, mind, and soul. And by being pushed up the mountains at speeds they found outside of their limits, they were missing a huge part of our program. Although it supported “fitness” hiking, it left holes in the need to soak in nature and slow down. The speed of hiking compounded the stress they were already experiencing in their everyday lives and left them feeling exhausted and under-resourced. This led us to reevaluate what exactly “fitness trekking” was, what were we trying to achieve, and ultimately how did this help the guests heal and be nurtured. We decided a pivot was necessary and thus we entered into 2023 with “Flow hiking”. As with any new program delivery we were unsure how this would be received, and of course, if this would affect potential weight loss. We also decided to offer an evening walk as an alternative to the post-dinner fitness classes to further provide less ‘striving’ if guests felt recovery and rest were a priority that day. What became immediately evident was that guests were able to relax into the program with far more confidence knowing it wasn’t a hardcore bootcamp experience, but still certainly challenging. This in turn let them truly drop the pressure cooker of stress they had been experiencing in their lives, and with that came lowered cortisol, better sleep, and weight loss that was just as substantial as our years previous.
New Hiking Trails, Guided Relaxation Sessions, and Gentle Wakeups
Other highlights included adding a few more hikes to our trail network that guests and guides LOVED! Depending on the season/snow levels we explored the new Riondel Historic Waterline trail, the Kaslo River trail, and the Friendly Giant trail.
Another very appreciated addition to the program this year was the parasympathetic-inducing evening guided relaxation sessions. The additions of sound therapy sessions with mindful attunements to singing bowls or violin were appreciated and beneficial for sleep invocation. The circadian wake-up clocks which pulled guests out of sleep naturally were also well received.
On behalf of all our staff, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to each and every guest who made the journey to us this year and I wish you all an autumn of warmth and wellness with your loved ones.
What is Mountain Trek?
Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at email@example.com or reach out below: