Hiking is the basis of Mountain Trek’s program. Find out the best ways to hike, learn about the vacations and check out some of the hikes we guide visitors on.

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Better Homes & Gardens Features Mountain Trek

Better Homes & Gardens Features Mountain Trek

One of the most popular magazines in North America has just featured Mountain Trek in its most recent issue. The August 2016 edition of Better Homes & Gardens has a story called "Gear Up" in which Mountain Trek's head guide Cathy Grierson is asked to provide her choices for what will help keep you comfortable and safe on the hiking trail. 

In the article, which appears in the "Better Family Travel" section of the magazine, Cathy (who used to be a park ranger before becoming a fitness guide at Mountain Trek) offers six tips for both those interested in getting into hiking and established trekkers.

#1. Dress in Layers

"The termparature can change drastically depedning on elevation and time of day, so check the weather and be ready with three layers," Cathy offers in the piece. She then goes on to describe the three different layers every hiker needs. 

#2. Travel Light

Aside from explaining the difference between a daypack and a full-on backpack, Cathy explains how to put one on: "Put the pack on so the weight is distributed evenly, loosen all straps, the tighten the waist belt and shoulder straps." 

#3. Wear the Right Shoes and Socks

"For day hikes, lightweight and flexible 'light hiker' shoes are best," Cathy says. She then goes on to describe what type of shoes to look for. To learn about how to properly fit a pair of hiking shoes, read here.

#4. Carry Enough Water

In the story Cathy explains the best way to carry H20: "A water bladder holds more than a bottle (up to 3 litres) and it nestles in your pack so you can hydrate hands-free."

#5. Buy Poles if Hiking Regularly

"The give you better balance and footing, reduce stress on your joints, and can help you feel like you're not working so hard," Cathy says. The article then goes on to describe some more benefits of poles including the fact you burn more calories when using them.

#6. Carry a First Aid Kit

Cathy finishes her recommendations with some items to include in your first aid kit on every hike such as moleskin, cloth tape, Band-aids and antibiotic ointment.

To read the Better Homes & Gardens article in its entirety, download the PDF of it here: August 2016_Better Homes & Gardens

Whether you're new to hiking, or have been doing it for years, we recommend you book Mountain Trek and enjoy world-class trails, supportive guides and all the amenities our all-inclusive resort offers:

  • complimentary massages
  • delicious boutique spa cuisine
  • natural hot springs
  • infrared sauna, outdoor hot tub and cold plunge pool
  • luxurious lodge in a natural setting far away from urban stressors

You're also guaranteed to reach your fitness goals with our program that's tailored to each individual. You can keep to your own pace but we'll make sure you get results. We hope to see you soon!

How To Care For Your Feet This Summer

The summer months are perfect for getting outside and having fun but they can definitely take a toll on our feet. Whether we’re walking, dancing, hiking or relaxing at the beach or cottage, here are our recommendations for the perfect footwear to take with you and the best ways to pamper those tootsies.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR

hiking-boots

HIKING – If fitness hiking or trekking is part of your plans this summer then we definitely recommend light hikers (unless you’re planning on crossing the Andes, in which case get a pair of proper mountaineering boots). Light-weight hikers provide ankle support but if your ankles are relatively strong, then we suggest a light hiker running shoe. Here are some more tips for finding the perfect hiking shoe and read our tips below to learn about foot care.

WALKING – You’re footwear will depend on the intensity of your walking but typically a pair of good trainers should suffice. These differ from light hikers in that they are lighter but provide less ankle support.

high heels

DANCING – We know you absolutely love that pair of 6-inch stilettos but before you plan to wear them all night long at that exotic night club, consider what they’re doing to your body. Wearing heels forces your ankles to bend forward, a movement that restricts circulation in your lower limbs. They also stiffen your Achilles tendons, put additional stress on the inner sides of your knees and force your back to sway unnaturally, a process that taxes your lumbar erector spinae muscle, leaving you with a sore lower back. Save your spikes for that special night out and only walk around in them for no more than a few hours. One idea is to wear them to the nightclub and then change into comfortable flats or sandals.

RELAXING – These include everything from slippers to flip flops to sandals and, well, barefoot actually. Obviously these are reserved for lounging poolside or at the beach or in your hotel room. (We do not recommend going on a 5-km hike through town wearing flip flops.) These types of footwear typically do not have any support so they should be reserved for lounging. However, it’s a good idea after spending a day in them, to enjoy a foot soak (see below).

CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOT CARE

The first thing you want to do before embarking on a city walk, forest hike, beach stroll or all-night dance party this summer is to prepare your feet properly. Remember to cut your toenails back, because if they’re too long they’re going to hammer against the toe box of your shoe and you’re going to lose a nail. Make sure the corners of your nails are rounded nicely so that your toes fit in your shoe, and, when they’re continually moving for balance, they don’t dig in and scrape each other.

Depending on the structure of your feet, you may also want to invest in orthotics, which will help counteract fallen arches, over-pronation or excessive supination. Consult with your doctor before purchasing any orthotics as the wrong kind will end up doing more damage.

Unless you’re a hardcore hiker chances are your feet are going to be negatively affected by a long march through a forest, on a beach or through a city. And the last thing you want during your summer vacation is painful blisters. If you’re planning a long walk or hike we recommend the first thing you do before putting on socks is apply Friar’s Balsam, or Tincture of Benzoin, to the heel of your foot. At Mountain Trek, that’s the colourful potion we dip Q-tips into and swab on the heels of your feet to anchor bandages on. You can find these at any pharmacy.

Our second recommendation is to use a tape called Mefix (we no longer use MoleSkin at Mountain Trek). Mefix is much thinner than MoleSkin and takes up barely any room in your shoe. We cut this tape to a 2 ½ inch length, round the corners so your sock doesn’t peel it off, and then stick that from the sole of your foot over your heel bone, working up the achilles. Any friction that occurs as your foot goes up and down gets aborbed by the tape rather than your skin.

footcare

Another product we use at Mountain Trek is called Molefoam. It’s a fuzzy foam pad that protects from pressure in our shoe: we cut little donuts out of it and place it over bone spurs, bunions, callus points, any place you’re worried about pressure that you normally feel in any shoe.

In extreme cases, you might also want to invest in Lamb’s Wool. At Mountain Trek we use this product for some guests that get blisters because their toes are overworking for balance. We simply weave the wool in between the toes so the there’s something to alleviate the friction and absorb moisture so the skin doesn’t get too soft and rub or peel off. Lamb’s wool can also be purchased at your local pharmacy.

Finally, whether you’ve just gone on an all-day hike or have lounged on the beach with your feet in the sand, there’s nothing better than a foot soak at the end of the day. Fill a basin with hot water, add a teaspoon or two of Himalayan bath salts and then slowly immerse your feet. (Better yet, fill an entire bathtub with water and a 1/4 cup of bath salts and immerse your whole body.) Then all you have to do is relax, enjoy the warm sensation and let the salts go to work on your body. These are just a few of the benefits of Himalayan bath salts:

  • Detoxifies the body by balancing systemic pH
  • Improves hydration by providing trace minerals
  • Improves mineral status of the body
  • Reduces muscle cramps by improving minerals and hydration
  • Helps balance blood sugar
  • Supports hormone balance for everyone, no matter what hormonal issues you face
  • Helps balance blood pressure because it provides unrefined, mineral-rich salt in an ionic solution
  • Improves sleep by supporting blood sugar and hormone balance
  • Acts as a powerful antihistamine
  • Supports weight loss by balancing hormones and improving energy
  • Supports thyroid and adrenal function
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Why Mountain Trek Is The Perfect Girls Getaway

Girls-Get-Away-2

Mountain Trek is just starting its season and what an incredible one it has been. The weather has been absolutely stunning: we’ve enjoyed lots of sunshine with clear blue skies and stunning views of the mountains, lakes and rivers in this beautiful area of British Columbia.

This is an excellent time of year for you to visit Mountain Trek because it’s a chance to really launch into recreation, relaxation and retreat. You work hard all year and now it’s time to consider taking some space for yourself: start thinking about leaving behind the stresses and worries of your job, your child-rearing, or whatever it is that occupies so much of your time, if even for a little while. It’s a great thing to reward yourself with a healthy vacation but imaging bringing along your girlfriends so you can all help support and encourage each other to get in shape and have fun!

Here are four reasons why you and your girlfriends should book a Girls Getaway to Mountain Trek:

#1. The kids are away. Time to play

Leave the children at home and enjoy this perfect opportunity to get away from your day-to-day and spend some much-needed time with your friends getting fit during the day and getting pampered at night with our massages, saunas and world-famous hot springs.

Girls-Get-Away-1

#2. Have the outdoors all to yourself

Can you imagine having the mountains all to yourself? The south-central region of B.C. is perfect because unlike areas such as Banff, Whistler and every national park in the United States there are fewer tourists around. We’ll go on such iconic hikes as Idaho Peak and Fry Creek and it will be just you, your friends and some of the most stunning mountainous views in the world.

Girls-Get-Away-3
#3. Get on track for the year

Take time out for yourself to learn healthy routines and indulge. What better way to get into a healthy mindset than to visit Mountain Trek and disover all the ways to shed stress and be healthy. Come to Mountain Trek, eat delicious meals, boost your vitality and metabolism, become more active and get your year back on track with all your closest friends by your side.

Girl's Get Away at Mountain Trek

#4. Have a guaranteed support network when you get home

Sometimes the hardest part about attending Mountain Trek is leaving. It can be difficult to incorporate the healthy aspects of the program when you get back to your day-to-day but if you and your friends all return from the fitness retreat at the same time, you’ll be there for each other and help each other through those moments when it’s tough to stay on track. You’ll have a fitness friend, a confidante and someone to share recipes with.

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21 Reasons To Visit Mountain Trek This June – A Pictorial

What a Spring this has been! We can’t remember the last time we’ve had such a beautiful, sunny and warm start to the season here at our lodge in British Columbia. The days have been averaging +18°C (64°F), wildflowers are blooming and the rest of the environment is fresh, green and revitalizing.

BC is so incredible this time of year but don’t just take our word for it. We’ve compiled 21 photographs into one article about all the reasons why the Kootenay Rocky Mountains are one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Do yourself a favour and come visit us this June to enjoy all the things listed below – we’ll still be savouring the mild Spring weather and you’ll be inspired to kickstart a healthy and happy summer. We look forward to seeing you and we’re sure you’re looking forward to enjoying these wonderful activities that make up the Mountain Trek program in BC:

Enjoy perfect weather and temperatures

Perfect-weather-temperatures

Lounge on beaches

Lounging-on-beaches

Soak in natural hot springs

Hotsprings

Savour locally-grown food prepared by a master chef

Locally-grown-food

Take in the unbelievable mountain scenery

Mountain-Scenery

Spot baby wildlife

Wildlife-spotting (1)

Breathe in the fresh clean air

Clean,-fresh-air

Spend time on the many beautiful lakes here

Canoeing-lakes

Visit some of the many local streams and rivers

exploring-streams

Enjoy bird watching

Bird-Watching

Explore historic towns

Historic-Towns

Swim in an alpine lake

alpine-swim

Stop to smell the wildflowers

Flowers on the hiking trail

Watch unbelievable sunsets

Stunning-sunsets

Be invigorated by an inspiring environment

Invigorating-environment

Connect with friendly people

Friendly-People

Hike a mountain then rest on a beach

You-can-hike-a-mountain-in-the-morning-and-sit-on-a-beach-in-the-afternoon-

View beautiful waterfalls

Viewing waterfalls

Meditate and find inner peace

Meditate

Practice your photography

practice-photography

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14 Ways To Pamper Yourself This Valentine’s Day + How to Balance Work & Play

[wps_social_buttons] Happy Valentine's Day!

14 Ways To Pamper Yourself This Valentine’s Day

For some February 14 is an opportunity to prove to your significant other just how much you love them. For others, Valentine’s Day is more of a manufactured holiday that’s about selling cards and chocolates. For very few, however, the day is about celebrating themselves. This year, we invite you to pamper yourself on February 14th and reinvigorate your love of you. In the past we’ve talked about Self Soothing to Replace Emotional Eating and Christmas Holidays Gifts for Yourself but we’ve never really touched on ways to offer loving gestures to yourself on Valentine’s Day. So, without further ado, here are fourteen ways to pamper yourself this Valentine’s Day.

#1. Take a bubble bath

Take a bubble bath

#2. Buy yourself a colourful plant or flowers

Buy yourself colorful flowers

#3. Better yet, take a walk outside and enjoy some outdoor foliage

Take a walk outside

#4. Set aside time to read that good book or magazine

Read a good book

#5. Write a letter to yourself stipulating the things you love about you

Writer yourself a love letter

#6. Schedule a massage

Schedule a massage

#7. Enrol in a yoga, fitness or any type of class that offers a subject you’re interested in

Enroll in a yoga class

#8. Detoxify your body (see here for more details)

Detox

#9. Go to your favourite restaurant by yourself and order anything you want

Take yourself out for dinner

#10. Take a nap

Enjoy a restful nap

#11. Spend time with a puppy, kitten or pet, whether it’s yours or someone else’s

Play with a puppy or kitten

#12. Give yourself a facial, manicure, pedicure or foot bath

Pamper yourself with a pedicure

#13. Make a delicious meal just for you (we suggest it includes our Vegan Chocolate Mousse)

Spa Cuisine

#14. Book yourself a vacation

GeneratedHDR_Tonemapped


How to Balance Your Work and Play

balance work and play

About 50 years ago many of us moved from work that involved standing and moving to desk jobs that require more sitting. Not only that, but our work hours have increased and, for some of us, we spend two-thirds of our day connected to our job in some capacity. This can make for an incredibly stressful lifestyle, one in which we spend all our time either working or sleeping (poorly) to recover from the work. This can take a toll not only on the mind but also on the body. After all, our system is designed to run after gazelles on the African savannah – it doesn’t feel good when we sit in front of a computer or TB screen for 14 hours a day. The good news is there are some easy things that you can do in order to better balance your work and play. In our opinion, the latter doesn’t get emphasized enough in our current work-obsessed society but it’s just as important (if not more so) for personal health and happiness.

The key to a good balance is not biting off more than you can chew at first. Remember, “Inch by inch is a cinch but yard by yard is hard.” The first thing you want to do is make a list of things that you consider fun and make you happy – even if the list is only one activity long. Perhaps you were a cross-country running champion in college but since starting in the workforce you haven’t found the time to get outside. The key is to not expect to get out everyday for a few hours right off the bat. But you can get outside, even if it’s just walking from your car to your office. For the first few days, park further away than you normally would and as your striding along, take deep breaths and remember what it was like to run freely through nature. Before entering your building, look up at the sky for 30 seconds and just enjoy the view. Then, when you’re in the office, follow these five steps:

  • Take 10 minutes out of your work day and relax, sit down and just clear your mind. (Recently we’ve been playing with the Buddhify app to achieve this and it’s very good.)
  • Drink lots of water. Not only will it cleanse your system but it will force you to get up and move when you need bathroom breaks. It will also allow you to step out of your work mode for a few moments to give you time to think of other activities.
  • Occasionally get up from your desk and stretch in a doorway or stare out the window at the sky. While you’re doing that, think about what makes you happy.
  • The next time you’re perusing Facebook or on some other social media site, stop what you’re doing and instead Google classes, courses, groups or apps that are related to the activity you love. Bookmark relevant sites. Even if you don’t sign up right then and there, it will be beneficial to have your mind dwell on it.
  • Mention to a friend or co-worker about your desire for better work/play balance and the activity you would like to get involved in. By putting it out there, you’ll enlist the help of acquaintances and it will become “real” as opposed to a “wish” that only exists in your mind.

Try and do the above things everyday and eventually you’ll find yourself setting aside more and more time for the activity you love.


Endurance Crackers Recipe

Endurance Cracker Recipe These crackers are a great alternative to bread when enjoying such dips as hummus or our famous Afterglow Almond Butter Dressing. The seeds in this recipe are packed full of protein (there’s a total of 2 ounces or 56 grams in one batch of these crackers) so they’ll provide longer-term energy for whatever activity you’re involved in. These amounts make enough for 22 large crackers but it can easily be doubled.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup chia seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lage garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp grated sweet onion
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • Herbamare/kelp or herbs of your choice

Directions:

Combine seeds together in a large bowl. In another bowl mix together water, garlic and onion. Pour water mixture into seeds and stir until thick. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes as the chia seeds will swell and this will help to bind the cracker. Add seasoning. Drop from teaspoon onto prepared baking sheet then spread with the back of a spoon until less than 1⁄4 inch thick. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip over carefully. Bake for another 30 minutes.


Suffering Some New Year Resolution Setbacks?

Not to Worry! Here’s How to Cope and Change

How are you doing with your resolutions?

How are those New Year’s Resolutions of yours going? Still on track or are you mired in self defeat? If it’s the latter then we’re here to help. Setbacks are just part of the process when we make big changes. Perhaps you vowed you’d eat breakfast 30 minutes after you wake up every morning and then fell back into the routine of consuming only three coffees before lunch. Or maybe you said you’d exercise three days a week and have only managed to go twice or once. Fear not! You are not failing! You’re doing everything right by just deciding to make the positive change in the first place.

Here are a six tips to prevent you from becoming discouraged and to help keep you on track with your changes in the coming months. Remember, it can take upwards of three months to create a healthy habit so continue to stick with it, even through the setbacks, and you’ll be increasing your overall vitality in no time!

  1. Firstly, if you’ve suffered a setback the key is don’t beat yourself up over it. Just acknowledge it, try to discern why you slipped and then immediately get back on track again.
  2. If you find yourself continually encountering setbacks, maybe the change you’re trying to implement is too big? Is it possible to make a smaller change that will lead to a healthier path. For example, if you wanted to hit the gym three times a week but are struggling to make it there even once, then just change the playing field, so to speak. Resolve to go to the gym once a week at the start and then work your way up from there.
  3. If you keep lapsing into a bad habit (such as snacking on potato chips and drinking soda pop throughout your workday) then simply swap out the context of the bad habit. Instead of potato chips, snack on baked kale chips and enjoy an herbal ice tea instead of pop.
  4. Get outside! There’s no better tonic than a walk through nature in the fresh air. If you find yourself lapsing into self-judgement and despair, just take a step outside and breath deeply. It seems like such a simple solution but you’ll be shocked at how it clears your mind and puts you in a better mood.
  5. Phone a friend! You are not in this alone. Engage a family member or friend and tell them about where you’re having difficulty. You’ll be amazed at how just talking about it to a good listener will help put you back on track.
  6. Travel! Nothing helps you break a bad habit faster than completely changing your environment. It’s so much easier to reinvent yourself when you’re not surrounded by the same-old, same-old. The trip doesn’t have to be an epic cross-country adventure – you could simply book a room at a local hotel, take a good book and relax away from the stresses of your regular life. That said, we believe joining us on our trip to the Amalfi Coast would definitely help reset your batteries and put you on a path to overall wellness!
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Mountain Trek featured in Canada’s Largest Newspaper

globeandmail mt imageMountain Trek  was featured on the front cover of the Travel section of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper, this month:

“7 hours a day of  exercise…Welcome to your vacation.”

The Globe feature was written by Amy Rosen who found “bliss in a boot camp getaway.” She chronicled her experience in a diary-format and spoke of each day and what she ate, experienced, and witnessed from “halibut fish steaks with pineapple mango salsa” to “vibrant green old-growth forests.” This is an excerpt:

“Mountain Trek’s spa and fitness studio have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the 100-kilometre Kootenay Lake. There are gardens and wildflowers, mountains and blue skies. Meals are local, organic, plated – and mostly delicious, enjoyed by guests around family-style tables. So that’s the good news. Back at my weigh-in, the excuses fly: “I’ve been travelling a lot, no time for exercise. It’s summertime … and those gin and tonics aren’t going to drink themselves!” Until, finally, acceptance: I’ve gained a few on the rump. Let’s. Do. This.”

Click here to read Amy’s entire article, and to experience a similar personal transformation to what she did, contact Mountain Trek and we’ll let you know about what program would best suit your needs.

 

7 Reasons to Come to Mountain Trek

1. Beat the heat

-It’s not yet too hot! Spring offers some of the best weather for hitting the trail, since we’ve warmed up from winter, and are still cool before summer. Some of the most comfortable hiking temperatures available.

2. Our new spa

is just waiting for you to come try it out. We’ve been very busy over the winter and are proud to present our brand new, state of the art spa facility including an expanded infrared sauna, a deep, 8 person hot tub and cold plunge pool. Did we mention it overlooks stunning views of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell mountains? After a day of hiking, there’s no better way to totally and completely relax then to soak in the heat, and that view.

3. Freshest and greenest landscapes

that our alpine environment has to offer. Creeks and rivers are running their wildest, providing more uplifting negative ions than any other time of year. Nature is revitalized with spring and is literally bubbling over with vitality – and the same will be true for you!

4. Lose weight for bathing suit season

With summer just around the corner, look and feel your best to hit the beach. Not only are you guaranteed to lose weight while with us, but take home valuable strategies for life-long healthy nutritional and fitness habits.

5. Feel your absolute best

According to Scientific American, 75% of all Americans are deficient in the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. There are also numerous studies that demonstrate the health benefits that being out in nature brings. Up your relaxation quotient and vitamin D with a week hiking in some of nature’s most spectacular landscapes!

6. We’re selling out – weeks are filling up fast!

With recent publicity in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Muscle & Fitness, among others,  Mountain Trek is on everyone lips, and minds. Don’t delay if you have a particular week or two that you’d love to come out. We’d love to have you, but with maximum guest numbers of only 16 per week, spots are filling up as we speak!

7. Save your airfare

Last but not least, the savings! This week only, we are offering our congratulations to all the grads out there, and to the loved ones who supported them on their academic journey, with a graduation week promotion of a $500 discount! This essentially means your airfare is on us. Take advantage of this rare promotion, and book for the week of June 7 today!

Your retreat is waiting for you! Call 1-800-661-5161 for more information, or to book now!

Happy Hikes: Choosing and fitting your backpack

Fitting the right backpack for youOne of the keys to a happy hike is a having a well-fitting backpack. Its hard to enjoy breath-taking views and outdoor activity if you feel like you’re hunched over giving a piggyback ride, or at all in pain. Storing your water, healthy snack, an extra layer or the room to store that extra layer, and maybe even a guide book of flora or bird life in the area, among other things, a good pack is absolutely essential hiking gear. And as the spring and summer season are gearing up, so should we be with all the right gear for our outdoor pursuits.

But the choices for this essential bit of kit can be absolutely overwhelming. How do we choose what size, design and suspension system of pack, and how do we ensure it fits correctly? In beginning this important deciding process, consider what terrain you’ll be visiting, your activity, the volume of what you’ll be carrying, and approximate weight. Here is a guide to help out when selecting your travel partner for the trails.

Sizes of Pack

Different volumes (measured in Litres) of pack are available for different activities and body sizes.

The day pack (15-35 Litres) as the name suggests, is perfect for the small outing or day hike. With little structure or frame if any, your load is supported by shoulder straps. A waist belt helps to keep everything centered. The alpine pack (35-55 Litres) is the perfect size for overnight jaunts, or day trips where you may need a little more equipment. Weight here is beared a little more on the hipbelt. A backpacking pack (55 – 75 Litres) is designed for multi-day trips, these packs have an internal structure to help with support, and do take some of the weight off the shoulders/back and onto the hips. The expedition packs (75 Litres +) are again, as the name suggests, designed for serious expeditions.

Pack Construction

Your backpacks take a lot of abuse on the trail, being thrown down, hoisted up, and possibly even being used as a seat. You need to make sure your pack will stand up to the stress and will last a long while. Check for durable material, especially in high use areas on the pack; chunky, good quality zippers; and tightly stitched seams that are bar-tacked at stress points.

Suspension

The purpose of pack suspension is to comfortably transfer weight to the hips, and is comprised of several aspects of the pack. Shoulder straps should be designed to bear around 30% of your pack weight, and should be relatively firm, yet padded. In no way should the shoulder straps pinch or chafe. Your hipbelt stabilizes the whole weight of your pack by keeping it in place, and for larger packs is the main weight bearing area. Adjusting the suspension system to your body is imperative for a good fit. So how to fit your pack?

How to fit your pack

The first step to fitting your pack is determining your back or torso length. The size of pack is based, on this, and not the overall size or height of the person. Find your c7 vertebra, or the bump at the top of the spine/back of the neck. Tilting your head forward will allow you to find your c7 more easily. This is the top point of your measurement. Next, place your hands on your hips, fingers forward and thumbs back. This is the shelf upon which your pack will rest. Measure between these two points for your torso length, thereby determining your pack size; XS, S, M, L, etc. Keep in mind that each manufacturer’s sizing is different, so you want to use your torso length, not pack size after one measurement.

After determining your size of pack, put a bit of weight in the pack for sizing, maybe 10 – 20 pounds. Putting the straps on, settle the pack on your back, then secure the hipbelt directly over your hip ‘shelf’. The hipbelt pads should be snug enough that they are secure over the hip bones. Next, adjust your shoulder straps so that they are not touching your armpits, and are not pinching your neck. Secure your sternum strap. Last, have a walk around with your pack and adjust anything that feels unbalanced. A well-fitted pack will feel simply like you are a little heavier, like an extension of your own body, rather than something ‘on’ you. Keep in mind, if it doesn’t feel good in the initial stages, it definitely won’t feel good after hours on the trail. If in doubt; feel free to use the help of the knowledgeable staff at your local outdoor store!

How to pack your pack

Where weight is distributed in your pack will be huge for your body’s overall comfort and ability to last on the trail. Heaviest items should be placed closest to the back, with bulkier, lighter items on the bottom, outside, and top of the pack. Having a bottom-heavy pack will make you feel like you’re being dragged down, and a top heavy pack may make you feel like you’re about to topple over. Having those heavier items the closest to you will feel the most natural for your centre of gravity. Distributing weight evenly over the right and left sides will help a lot with your comfort too.

With these tips in mind, we hope you’ve found it helpful and motivating to get out there and hit the trail with your most important piece of equipment. Happy fitting and happy packing!

Trekking Poles: How to choose the right poles for you

hiking pools

Days are getting longer, sunnier and warmer, buds are shooting up from the Earth, the smell of Spring is in the air – it’s time to dust off your day pack, get the bikes out of the garage, buy some sunscreen…and get ready for the warm weather activities that spring and summer bring!

As we enter the upcoming hiking season, it’s important to have all the right gear to support you in having the most fun, safe, and effective workout possible. At Mountain Trek, we include trekking poles in necessary hiking gear, as do many avid hikers around the world. But like any good gear, it is so important to find what works best for you. Here, we’ll help you to choose the best hiking pole for you, by covering what features to look for in a good hiking pole. But first; why bother using them?

 

Why use hiking poles?

Why use hiking poles?

Using walking/hiking poles offers several benefits:

  • Poles provide better balance and footing, especially over slippery or uneven terrain, like when crossing streams, over loose rocks, etc.
  • During ascent, poles can add thrust, while taking pressure off the lower body, and onto the shoulders and upper back.
  • During descent, poles can significantly reduce the amount of stress on legs, hips, and joints, and reduce the possibility of injury by adding stability. Although this is particularly beneficial to those with weaker or compromised knees/ankles, reducing stress and impact to the body is certainly beneficial for everyone.
  • Poles can be used to clear away loose hanging vegetation, or can be used to scope out swampy patches or possible holes before venturing forwards.
  • In the unlikely event of an injury, a pole can be used in wilderness first aid as a splint or crutch.
  • And last but not least, using hiking poles not only reduces your perceived exertion rate by taking strain off the legs and into the arms, but increases calories burned. In a study by the Cooper Institute of Dallas, they found that using trekking poles burned up to 20% more calories compared to the same walk or hike without poles.

What to look for in hiking poles?

What features should I look for in a hiking pole?

When shopping for a hiking pole, consider the kind of terrain you will be traversing, how much weight you will have in your pack, as well as the health of your knees, ankles, hips, and joints. With this determined, you can decide if you would like to get ‘regular’ or ‘anti-shock’ poles. Anti-shock poles have a shaft that contains an anti-shock spring mechanism, softening any impact while travelling downhill. Anti-shock technology is particularly beneficial for those with sensitive knees, ankles, joints, etc., and the anti-shock mechanism can be turned off when it is not needed (for example when traveling uphill). Regular or standard poles have a simple shaft, and are a little bit lighter than antishock poles since they do not contain that mechanism. They of course are unable to provide the same level of shock absorption as an anti-shock model, but do provide the same stability.

The parts of a pole include the tip, basket, shaft (which includes or does not include the anti-shock device), locking mechanism, grip, and wrist strap. When choosing a hiking pole, consider each of these components.

The shaft’s make up will likely be either high-grade aluminum or carbon fibre. A pair of high-grade aluminum poles will weigh around 20 ounces, and are very durable and flexible, only breaking very rarely. Carbon fibre poles will weigh less on average, about 15 ounces, and are also very durable, but when under extreme stress, can shatter. Keep in mind that both the length and the circumference of the shaft varies as well.

Pole tips are usually made out of carbide or steel, and additionally, one has the option of getting a rubber tip cover. These protect the life of the tips, as well as protecting your pack when the poles are stowed, and are better for harder surfaces, like pavement.

Locking mechanisms allow you to determine the length of your pole, whether you’re using them out on the trail, or have them stowed in your luggage en route to your hiking destination. Two or three interlocking sections make up your pole, and if you’re very tall or short, it’s important to check the full extension /compression length of the pole. Most poles have a ‘twist and lock’ system, like a form of clamp. Whatever the mechanism, ensure it’s durable and dependable – you’d hate to have this fail on you at a critical moment. Regular maintenance through cleaning and drying of the separate components of your hiking poles can help with your locking mechanism’s life span and reliability.

Both the grip shape and material vary, so this is a very important reason to test drive your poles before buying, and see what angle and density is most comfortable to you. Grips can be angled forward or completely upright, and some can even extend down the shaft, known as an ‘extended grip’, useful for brief uphill portions. Materials for the grip can include but are not limited to: cork (absorbs vibration well, doesn’t slip with sweat, conforms well to hand shape), foam (absorbs sweat, most malleable) and rubber (can chafe hands in warm weather but insulates from cold, good shock absorption).

Now that you’ve chosen your hiking poles, please ensure you have the correct technique to keep you safe and supported (or come to Mountain Trek and we’ll show you how! You’ll also get lots of practice!) Have fun out there on the trail – supported, less prone to injury, and burning more calories – with your new hiking poles!

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Nordic Fitness Trekking

Nordic Fitness Trekking


Nordic Fitness Trekking
There are a few resorts and programs around North America that offer hiking as a small compenent of their fitness regimens but what differentiates Mountain Trek is the fact our main activity is so much more than just hiking: it’s Nordic Fitness Trekking!

A fun, off-road cousin to Nordic Walking, Nordic Fitness Trekking not only gets you outside and enjoying the best gym in the world, it also helps to engage 90 percent of your body’s muscles. It’s the perfect sport for those who want to see beautiful sites, burn calories, get fit and work off the kinks from sitting for so long everyday. Here are some other benefits from Nordic Fitness Trekking:

  • We employ Postural Ergonomic instruction to maximize muscle power while avoiding joint injury
  • We utilize Nordic Trekking Poles to ensure a full body workout, increased cardio output and to protect knees on the downhills
  • Your core stabilizer muscles are strengthened by trekking on varying terrain
  • Everyone’s stress hormone Cortisol is lowered (research proves that 50 minutes in “complex” nature lowers Cortisol and raises “feel good” hormones Serotonin and Oxcytocin)
  • Detoxification is encouraged via deep breathing clean, oxygenated air and releasing toxins through the lungs
  • You’ll sleep better and deeper thanks to the physical exertion coupled with fresh, clean air.

Have a look at the image above which depicts our program director Kirkland Shave participating in the style of Nordic Fitness Trekking promoted at Mountain Trek. You’ll notice his back is straight, knees are bent and his arms are fully engaged: they’re bent at a 90-degree-angle and when he plants his poles he uses his triceps to drive the poles down into the earth.

Another main benefit of our Nordic Fitness Hiking activity includes an increased sense of personal accomplishment! After all, nothing beats the empowered feeling of getting to the top of a mountain!

Health & Fitness Retreat in Canada’s Mountains

With the current state of the Canadian dollar, many people are rethinking their vacation plans this year. Gone are the days of affordable retreats in the United States and abroad. Luckily there’s Mountain Trek, the only health and fitness retreat in Canada’s beautiful BC mountains. If losing belly fat, increasing your fitness level and reducing stress is important to you, and you don’t want to spend expensive US dollars, then call Holly or Lori in our Guest Services department and enjoy our special Canadian rate.


Mountain Trek’s lodge and spa is the most luxurious retreat you’ll ever visit!

It’s immersed in one of the most beautiful environments in Canada. Snow-capped peaks and beautiful lakes abound and the best part is there aren’t any crowds. Other tourist areas are overrun with people but the trails we hike are practically deserted and, because we only host a maximum of 16 guests per week, you’re guaranteed calming serenity.

As the only health and fitness retreat in Canada’s mountains, Mountain Trek ensures every guest is well taken care of with complimentary massages, delicious spa cuisine and a low guide-to-guest ratio. Our hiking program is specifically tailored to you and no matter what your fitness level, you’re guaranteed the most spectacular views and vistas in Canada.

Hiking Vacations

Hiking Vacations

Every Spring Mountain Trek offers its alumni the opportunity to go on hiking vacations that explore some the most celebrated, culturally rich trekking routes in the world. After you kick start your fitness and weight loss at Mountain Trek, we invite you to treat yourself to annual hiking vacations that include treks in Europe, Asia and South America.


Join Mountain Trek for once-in-a-lifetime hiking vacations offered around the world. These hiking vacations, although not part of our regular fitness and weight loss program, involve hiking every day, which will always help to increase your fitness level and boost your metabolism. With two to three different sessions, suited to different fitness levels, you’ll always trek at a pace that is comfortable and perfect for your ability. After you kickstart your fitness and weight loss at Mountain Trek, treat yourself to an adventure vacation and explore some of the most celebrated treks in the world.

Bhutan

In 2016 we visit the “land of the Thunder Dragon” and discover why Bhutan is the happiest place on earth. It’s a land of beauty, mystery and deeply held beliefs and the hiking is some of the best on the planet.

Italy

Italy’s Amalfi Coast boasts centuries-old cathedrals, multi-hued houses on steep cliffs and a variety of walking experiences from medieval lanes to rugged pathways in pine forests – all of which we enjoyed in 2015!

Japan

The land of the rising sun called to us in 2014. We explored the culture, visited temples and hiked the world-famous trails of Japan during the day. Then we relaxed in traditional hot spring onsens every night.

Nepal

There is no mistaking the allure of the tallest mountains in the world. The hiking in Nepal was spectacular and making it up to the Everest base camp was a highlight, literally. It was probably the highest most of us will ever go.

Peru

In 2014 we hiked the Inca Trail, wandered through mountain villages, met the Quechua people and eventually made it to Machu Picchu, the famous Incan site built on a 8,000-foot peak.

Spain

We followed the legendary Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in 2012 and finished our journey at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, in the northwestern part of the country.

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