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The Importance of Digital Detox and How To Do It

How to Digital Detox

Recently we’ve had many journalists asking about our digital detox program at Mountain Trek. As many of us become addicted to our smart phones, tablets, wristbands and smart watches, laptops and anything else with a screen, it’s that much more important to remember to take time away from all things digital. That’s why it’s so great to visit Mountain Trek because we’re immersed in the most beautiful natural environment in North America – one in which it’s impossible to get cell coverage for large parts of the day because we’re hiking in mountain landscapes.

Why are we hearing so much about digital detox these days?

Why is digital detoxing important?

So why are we hearing more and more about digital detox lately? According to the latest polls conducted by research corporation Ipsos, 40% of adults feel the need to ‘disconnect” and 71% of respondents claim they’re spending less time connecting with people face-to-face due to gadgetry. Aside from the negative social ramifications, this digital dependence also comes with health costs: digital screens can contribute to visual fatigue, headaches, and strain of the body from being stationary for so long. Also the intense white-blue back light of our screens raise our “wake-up” and stress hormone Cortisol, often overriding our sleep inducing hormone Melatonin. Other studies have found that technology contributes to higher stress, strains on relationships and family and attention disorders.

Why are digital devices so addictive?

Why are devices so addictive?

If you can’t help but check your smart phone immediately after waking up and then continually throughout the day every few minutes, you’re not alone. Our bodies actually crave the results of shared information via our screened devices – we’re hard-wired for it! This is why: hundreds of thousands of years ago when the ancestors of homo sapiens walked the earth they developed physical reactions to information. When knowledge was shared (or the promise of knowledge) that could make life easier and ensure survival, their brains were flooded with dopamine, the feel-good hormone.

The same is true today. Research shows that our prehistoric brains still flood us with dopamine when our smart phones “ping” to let us know there’s potential knowledge or survival tools waiting for us to discover. Each tweet, text or email is a little gift-wrapped packet that might make a difference to our survival. At the same time our Limbic brains are reassured that we’re socially connected. It’s the perfect formula resulting in us feeling “good” every time we receive a notification through our digital device.

Why is this addiction so dangerous?

Why is a digital addiction so dangerous?

The problem with this scenario is that our brain is actually being fooled: very few of us receive survival tools via our Twitter or Facebook feeds and, overall, our social media interaction is incredibly shallow. This leads to “solitarism” – a buzzword you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the coming years as people suffer loneliness despite being “connected” via multiple social media streams.

How does Mountain Trek support digital detox?

While there is WiFi in the Mountain Trek lodge, we ensure guests do not use their smart phones and devices in the common areas and we do not have a television, radio, nor any news media on site. This is because our aim is to lower the stress hormone Cortisol in your body so you can reclaim the health benefits of a raised metabolism. In other words, we want our experience to be all about you and your own health and that means there isn’t a lot of external stimuli pulling you away from your goals.

Here are our top 6 ways to enjoy digital detox during the days when you’re not enrolled in the Mountain Trek program:

Plan with intent

Having a plan in place sets yourself up for success. Be clear about what you’ll give up, for how long, and when. If you’re agreeing not to check email in the evening, be clear about exactly what hours and what days this takes effect. Going into this with clear intention will also allow you to monitor very clearly your own reactions to digital breaks, and plan for responses of how to deal with any jonesing. Develop your plan, and stick to it. As you tally your victories, you can expand your goals.

Start slow

If you’re checking your email every 10 minutes, a week away without your Blackberry may induce heart palpitations. If you’re going to your son’s soccer game, for example, make a point and a plan to leave your cellphone in the car with the intention of not checking it for those 2 hours. Start slowly, and gradually, and this will be the key to breaking any dependence.

Tell friends and family

You don’t want them to think you’re MIA – to avoid unnecessary worry and to enlist support, let your friends and family in on your digital detox plan. And who knows, maybe they’ll even join you on that walk in your National Park, and you can both go tech free for the afternoon!

Learn from your detox

The goal of a detox isn’t to see how long you can go without doing something, only to breathe a sigh of relief at the end and jump back into old patterns wholeheartedly. Use the tech detox not only to see that you can live without your gadgets and the world won’t stop, but also to learn about yourself, what you like doing when monitors and screens aren’t involved, and with this, you can integrate new hobbies and patterns into your every day.

Plan alternatives

When you decide to stop or reduce online time, you will create a void in your time. Filling the void with enjoyable activities is key to beating any gadget addiction. This is where our helpful hints list “7 Fun Things you can do Instead of checking Your Email” can be helpful.

Create a tech-free zone

Pick a space in your home, preferably in a public area like your living room. This will encourage more ‘live’ conversation, more gadget-free activities, and less ‘auto-pilot’ of entering the room and turning on the computer or TV. Alternatively, have a family agreement to turn off the modem or WiFi at a certain time in the evening.

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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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Staff Picks: Mountain Trek’s Best Kootenay Hikes

Spring Hiking Health Program

One of the key features of the Mountain Trek experience is nature, pure and simple. Our beautiful lodge in Ainsworth, British Columbia, is surrounded by the the majestic, snow-capped peaks of the Purcell and Selkirk Mountain ranges replete with ghost towns, mossy trails and clear-flowing streams that feed the stunning, 100-kilometre-long Kootenay Lake.

When it comes to healthy living, our philosophies are rooted in nature as well – from our locally sourced, organic meals that nourish your body to the core content of our inspiring lectures, to the many stunning, butt-toning hikes we go on everyday.

So, as homage to the abundant nature that surrounds, inspires and feeds us, we offer up the favourite hikes that our expert, certified guides love taking you on. These hikes are meant to challenge and motivate you, get your heart rate up and set your spirit soaring.

Kirkland Shave @ mountain trekKirkland’s favourite: Monica Meadows

There are fewer trails in the world that offer such relatively easy access for such a great pay off. Monica Meadows, located in the Purcell Mountain Range, is one of the most stunning locations in southern British Columbia with its vast meadows, shallow lakes, vibrant larches, gorgeous alpine flowers and views of the surrounding peaks and ridges. It’s a haven of calm beauty encircled by rocky mountains and an eight-kilometre hike from the trailhead, through cool forests and along boulder-strewn pathways gets you there in no time so we can rest, enjoy the views and even go swimming before our return.

Jeannie Dwyer mountain trekJeanie’s pick: Idaho Peak

This is a moderate hike that takes you to some of the best views and most abundant wildflowers in southern British Columbia. We begin our hike at the old mining ghost town of Sandon, then wind our way up old mining trails and logging paths, before reaching the viewpoint. Once there you’ll enjoy gazing down at the town of New Denver on Slocan Lake below, as well as breathtaking views of the New Denver Glacier and the entire Valhalla Mountain range to the west, Kokanee Glacier to the southeast, and Mt. Cooper to the northeast.

Allen Rollin Mountain TrekAllen’s favourite: Evans Creek

From the trailhead at Slocan City (population 300) you’ll hike on the undulating, moss-lined trail along the shoreline of Slocan Lake, treating yourself to spectacular rocky vantage points, special pockets of flora, and prime swimming spots along the way. Round trip, the Evans hike is approximately 15 km (18 if we make it to Evans Lake) and includes a lot of Ponderosa pine, juniper, white cedar and fir trees befitting the drier climate zone. There are some fun rock ledges to clamber out onto and beautiful views up and down the lake. Knowing that the surrounding Valhalla Park and it’s majestic peaks were named after Norse Gods makes the Evans Creek hike that much more mythic.

Chris rodman @ mountain TrekChris’s choice: Galena Trail

This is one of the most popular hikes in the Slocan Valley. Dating back to the glory days of the Silvery Slocan, the Galena Trail follows the route of a railway line that once connected the silver mines of Sandon with sternwheeler service from Nakusp to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline at Revelstoke. The rail beds were abandoned over 100 years ago and Mother Nature has reclaimed much of the existing corridors. This historic trail takes us along this old railway line, past the ruins of abandoned mines and ghost towns like Alamo and, occasionally, we’ll take the two-person cable car crossing over Carpenter Creek along the way.

Cathy Grierson Mountain Trek2Cathy’s best bet: Kokanee Glacier Park

Located just west of the Mountain Trek Lodge, the beautiful Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park offers an incredible alpine experience with very little effort. The park is one of the oldest in the province and boasts no less than three glaciers, including Kokanee, Caribou, and Woodbury, which feed over 30 lakes and are the headwaters of many creeks. On one of our typical hikes we’ll visit two of those lakes, Gibson and Kaslo, with water so clear you’ll be able to watch Rainbow and Cutthrout trout swimming by. The trail is, round trip, about 14 kilometres and guests will enjoy views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, sub-alpine flower meadows and, depending on the season, we’ll see eagles, ptarmigan, pikas, marmots, mountain goats and feast on wild huckleberries.

KristaVanEe @mountain trekKrista’s Favourite: Pilot Peninsula

Pilot Peninsula Provincial Park is the safest harbour on Kootenay Lake and is perfect for swimming and hiking. The 12-kilometre trail we typically take skirts the shoreline of Kootenay Lake and offers multiple pebble beaches for relaxing and enjoying the views. In fact, Pilot Peninsula is a great start to our week as it’s very flat, with hardly any elevation gain or loss, and the woodland tracks are in excellent shape. We won’t bag any peaks on this trail but it’s still an incredible foray into some stunning BC wilderness that includes tall stands of aspen, colourful wildflowers, calm coves and, around every corner, views of the surrounding peaks.

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Metro Recommends Hiking to Health with Mountain Trek

metro storyToronto-based freelance writer Vawn Himmelsbach visited Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Resort this June and her story about rebooting her metabolism appeared last week in Metro, a publication that’s distributed in city centres around North America.

Mountain Trek is “a hiking-focused fitness retreat and health spa in the Selkirk and Purcell ranges of B.C.’s Rocky Mountains, set in a luxury alpine lodge overlooking Kootenay Lake. Once you get through the caffeine withdrawal, you might find it’s one of the best vacations you’ve ever taken,” writes the self-described coffee aficionado.

Vawn goes on to describe her experience at Mountain Trek as a “week in a serene, scenic setting, with a high guide-to-participant ratio to provide a personal and supportive environment.”

Click here to read Vawn’s entire story in Metro.

Toronto Cycling Club Recommends Mountain Trek

breakfastRecently Toronto journalist and road cycling aficionado Trish Synder attended Mountain Trek to write an article for Reader Digest‘s “Best Health” publication.

She was so taken with the program she decided to also do a blog post for her local biking club from the beaches area in Toronto that explained why even fit road cyclists should visit Mountain Trek. This is an excerpt from her piece, “I exercised for 34 hours over six days, which included 66 km and 6,000 vertical feet of hiking through the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains. One of the guides told us we were active for as many hours a day as Olympic athletes train. OK, not nearly at the same level, but this was intense, exhausting and totally invigorating—one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had.”

Trish goes on to explain how the highlights of her trip included the mountain scenery, spotting various wildlife such as moose, morning yoga classes, the massages and the “delicious” food, which included the breakfast creation shown here – so inspiring that Trish was compelled to photograph it. (“The creamy stuff was made by soaking cashews overnight and then creaming them in a Vitamix blender with a bit of orange juice. Beyond delicious,” she writes.)

To learn more about Trish’s stay at Mountain Trek, you can read her entire blog post here.

 

9 Reasons Why You Need To Book Mountain Trek Now

9. Change Your Routine

There’s no better way to boost your vitality and metabolism than by altering your routine and getting more active. When you change your environment, diet, and the people around you, your body responds. And Mountain Trek will ensure that response is entirely positive.

8. We’ll Watch What You Eat

A good rule of thumb is that if it has a label on it, it’s not food. Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, salmon – no food labels. Oreos? Different story. The minute you start putting real food into your system, it responds well but sometimes it’s easy to forget this. We’ll be sure to remind you with delicious, nutritious meals that will revitalize your brain and body activity.

Falafel recipe at mountain trek

6. Move It Or Lose It

Our bodies weren’t designed to sit at a desk all day. Without regular exercise our hips get tight, our core weakens and our mobility lessens. That’s why Mountain Trek offers yoga to help improve mobility and hiking to help strengthen the body’s full range of motion. Join us and keep moving forward the way our bodies were meant to.

6. Disconnect

Do you feel like you’re a slave to your phone, tablet or laptop? In order connect with ourselves again, we have to disconnect from the global village, even if it’s just for a little while. We’re not saying you need to go rogue, but the simple experience of hearing the wind, or river, or nothing at all, instead of your text-message notification, can make you feel connected to everything.

5. Reconnect

Are you the type to plug in ear-buds and go lone-wolf style in the gym or on the way to work? Studies have shown that the results of exercising in a group (whether it be weight training, cardio, or hiking) greatly exceed the results of exercising alone. Come to Mountain Trek and make lasting connections with people who aren’t part of your everyday route – we need each other to excite and motivate us. WomenHikingFryeCreek

4. Get Outside And Play

Remember playing outside as a kid? Your body craves that – it wants to be exposed to fresh oxygen and vitamin D from the purest sources. When you’re outside, your body responds in a positive way by burning more calories and releasing endorphins. Add to that clean mountain air and the exhilaration of being in one of the most breath-taking environments in the world, and your body, and spirit, will remember why playing outside is so important.

3. Objects In Motion Stay In Motion

We know that getting started in a fitness program is always the hardest part. This is why Mountain Trek is the ideal place to start: you’ll get away from the stressors and temptations in your life, and replace them with stimulating mental, physical and spiritual growth. We help you build new patterns that take the weight off, put the lean muscle on, put the good food in, keep the bad food out, and most importantly, keep things that way.

2. Change Your Body. Blow Your Mind

One thing that we often forget when considering changing our health is our brain, yet it is the most important organ in the body. These days, our brains can get bogged down in endless stacks of work and chores but one of the best ways to revitalize your mind is to change locations and do something different. Replace the high-rises with peaks and the traffic with trees. Give your brain something to really think about – happiness.

Health Spa Lodge

1. We’re Selling Out

Mountain Trek is experiencing its highest enrolment numbers in years. Now’s the time to sign up, confirm a space and join like-minded people at a resort that will change your life forever. Book now by calling 1-800-661-5161 or logging on to Mountain Trek’s booking page.

How to Properly Fit a Pair of Hiking Boots

There are two things you need to know to find the perfect pair of hiking boots:  the different types on the market and how to ensure proper fit. Here is the basic information necessary to find a pair of boots that will carry you through many a hike safely and in comfort.

1. Types of Boots

Hiking boots come in three styles: light hikers (AKA trail runners); light “over ankle” hikers; and full backpacking boots. The latter style is not recommended for guests of Mountain Trek as the trails we’re doing do not require them. Light hikers are the better option for short day hikes on maintained trails and, depending on the strength of your ankles, you can either get the “over ankle” supportive model or the low-rise version. Typically they are made of leather or a fabric combination and most have a durable waterproof finish. (A note about waterproofing: most hiking boots come with a DWR finish, depending on the quality of the boot and frequency of use, this can wear off after a short period of time. If you notice that water does not quickly bead and roll off a boot’s surface, it’s time to add a waterproofing treatment, which is a very simple process. First, clean the boot and then spray on or apply a waterproofing product such as Nikwax or Granger’s. Each company makes products specific to the material of your boot, weather it’s leather, suede, nubuck or a synthetic. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product’s label and once you’ve completed the application let the boot dry naturally – do not use a hair dryer.)

 

Why-use-hiking-poles

 

2. Ensuring Proper Fit

Any reputable outdoor gear store or shoe store will have trained boot fitters on hand to take you through the selection process. They will measure all aspects of your foot (from length to width to arch size) and then suggest a number of different pairs of shoes to try. Try on at least five different pairs of shoes and be sure to lace them while standing up and putting your full weight on your foot. (Your foot changes shape when it’s weighted and on the ground.) The right boot for you should feel comfortable right from the beginning. Here are some other tips to ensure the perfect fit:

  • Take the time you need – Budget the time needed to be fitted and make the proper choice. Don’t show up to buy boots near the store’s closing time and then rush a decision.
  • Wait until the afternoon to shop – Feet swell as the day progresses, and you want the boots to fit well when they’re at their “pudgiest.”
  • Bring or buy good socks – Bring your own merino wool or similar wicking-style socks to wear while trying shoes. (Don’t rely on the “loaners” provided by the store.) We can’t say enough about the necessity of wearing a quality sock whenever you hike. They can make the difference between all day comfort or misery, with the newer “hi-tech” socks offering exceptional padding and wicking capabilities. So many people pay top dollar for good boots, and then skimp when it comes to socks. Expect to pay a minimum of $15-$25 per pair. Merino wool is highly recommended brand, and there are many good synthetics in the market as well. Cotton socks hold moisture and create blisters.
  • Consider your foot’s measurements – Good shop attendants will measure everything about your foot before you even consider putting a shoe one. This includes length, width, volume and arch height.  Regarding length, when the boot is unlaced and the toes are pushed to the front of the boot there should be ¼ inch of space (you can slide a finger in) at the back of the boot. This small amount of space is necessary for some “give” when going up and down hills.
  • Note how they feel – The right boot for you should feel comfortable from the beginning. Do not purchase a boot thinking that the comfort level will rise after a break-in period. If something is “off” in the store, then time and wear could make it worse, not better. Take time in the store to put the boots through their paces, and then wear them for several days indoors to make sure that no trouble areas develop. If, during this trial time, a sore area is noted, return the boots to the store and try again. The perfect boot is out there, and this initial attention to detail will reward you with happy feet on the trail. Plan your first few hikes to be short ones, so that you and your new boots can gradually become acquainted.

 

Abandon the Heels for a Heath Spa Vacation

Enjoy Cynthia Dial’s blog about her spa health vacation experience at Mountain Trek last summer…

Full disclosure:  I was a daily walker, not a hiker.

Cynthia Dial Alpine LakeGive me a pair of Jimmy Choo’s with 4 ½ inch heels and the directive to cross Manhattan’s Midtown and consider it done.  But put me in a pair of hiking boots and I’m out of my element… would I be able to keep up, or would I be the “one” out of her league?

The bottom line is I needed a tune-up and was ready to graduate from morning walker to all-day hiker.  However, a statement on the spa’s site sealed the deal: “If you can climb four flights of stairs without stopping and walk on undulating ground for a minimum of two hours, you can do this program.” Sold.

Here, my friends, are the details…