14 Hacks To Ensure the Best Travel/Trek Experience Ever

geisha in a yellow field holding a paper craneWhen Mountain Trek visited Peru last Spring, we found the following list in one of the beautiful lodges we stayed at. It includes 14 tips for ensuring you have the best travel and trekking experience ever. We thought there was some good wisdom in it that should be shared, especially now that we’re offering pre-registration for our 2014 Spring Hiking Vacation in Japan. On that trip we’ll be exploring the Tokaido (the traditional path of the Shogun), the Shikoku Temples, the world-famous vine bridges and we’ll be relaxing in Onsens every night. (An Onsen is a traditional hot spring accommodation.) Click here and tick the box at the bottom of the page if you would like more information regarding our Japan adventure in 2014.

In the meantime, enjoy these poignant pieces of advice and think of them when you pack your bags to explore the beauties of your own country or to travel around the world.

Travel lightly

You are not travelling for people to see you

Travel slowly

Jet planes are for getting places, not seeing places: take time to absorb the beauty and inspiration of a mountain or temple.

Travel expectantly

Every place you visit is like a surprise package to be opened. Untie the strings with an expectation of high adventure.

Travel hopefully

“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson.

Travel humbly

Visit people and places with reverence and respect for their traditions and ways of life.

Travel courteously

Consideration for your fellow travellers and your hosts will smooth the way through the most difficult days

Peru Adventure Trek

Peru Adventure Trek

Travel gratefully

Show appreciation for the many things that are being done by others for your enjoyment and comfort.

Travel with an open mind

Leave your prejudices at home.

Travel with curiosity

It is not how far you go, but how deeply you go that mines the gold of experience. Remember that Thoreau wrote a big book about the very tiny Walden Pond.

Travel with imagination

As the Spanish proverb goes, “He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.”

Travel fearlessly

Banish worry and timidity; the world and its people belong to you just as you belong to the world.

Travel relaxed

Make up your mind to have a good time and let go.

Travel patiently

It takes time to understand others, especially when there are barriers of language and custom. Keep flexible and adaptable to all situations.

Travel with the spirit of a world citizen

You’ll discover that people are basically much the same the world around. Be an ambassador of good will to all people.

Cherry Blossoms in Japan+ 6 Bonus Tips:

  • Always pause, at least for 15 seconds and take it all in. The destination is only as beautiful as the journey.
  • Make an effort to associate your feelings of peace and tranquility with a landmark on the trip. This will come in handy when you are back home.
  • Think about your loved ones. If you are with them, share and bond. If they are not with you, lend them your senses.
  • Learn with every footstep, every word, every sense.
  • Look up at the sky at night at least once. Try to understand how ancient civilizations guided themselves by this.
  • Let go, at least once during your trip. Do something you would not normally do.

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

Recently 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.

“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.

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

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 or reach out below:

Your votes are in – we’re going to JAPAN!

Cherry Blossoms in JapanRecently Mountain Trek asked our alumni and Facebook fans to vote on where we should go for our overseas hiking adventure in 2014: Japan or Italy?

The voting was heated at times with people making great cases for both locations. “Japan? Seriously? How could I NOT do that? You got my vote,” wrote Gina. But Penny wasn’t convinced, saying: “Italia…naturalmente!” There were even a few comments, including one by Giorgio that said, “Just do both!” Ultimately, though, the numbers began favouring one destination over the other and, finally, with just a 7% lead in votes, Japan was chosen as the location of our Spring 2014 adventure.

Thank you to everyone who voted. We’ve now started looking into various possibilities for hiking adventures in the “land of the rising sun.” For more information, please visit our Japan 2014 page.

Incidentally, for those who may not know, every Spring Mountain Trek offers off-the-beaten-path adventure treks, rich in cultural and historical significance. 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 three different sessions, suited to three 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 regions in the world: in 2011 we hiked up to Everest Base Camp in Nepal; in 2012 we hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain; and earlier this year we explored The Peruvian Andes. For 2014, join us in the fascinating and beautiful island nation of Japan.

A Daily Account of the Mountain Trek Program


Jenna and Rob at Fry Creek on a Thursday, the 5th day of the Mountain Trek program, when they were feeling “great,” “light,” and “energized.”

Recently we asked two visitors who attended Mountain Trek Health Retreat in B.C. to document their daily revelations, pains, challenges, and successes. Each was given the same list of questions over the six-day program and their responses are an excellent snapshot of how people change throughout the week.

The reasons we chose to feature Jenna and Rob are they’re relatively close in age, they both lead busy lives in Vancouver (they hadn’t met before), they’re at similar fitness levels and they both came to Mountain Trek to “destress” and “rejuvenate” in a beautiful setting. Jenna is a hard-working partner at a marketing and Web development studio and Rob is a writer and musician whose lifestyle can get a little “Rock’nRoll” at times.

Below are honest accounts of their experiences, in their own words. Sum up how you feel right now in 20 words or less.

  1. Where did you hike today and what stood out to you?
  2. What was the highlight of your day?
  3. What was the most challenging part of your day?
  4. What are you craving at this moment?

Day 1


  1. Today’s been very long but amazing.
  2. We hiked from the lodge to Cedar Creek and then to the old Ainsworth cemetery.
  3. My highlight is how i feel right now! I was anxious to come here but everyone is amazing and there’s a friendly communal feeling.
  4. Facing my reality. The weigh in and body mass composition was definitely the low point in my day.
  5. Food in general.


  1. I feel good but a little hungry and a bit anxious about how my muscles will feel for tomorrow’s hike.
  2. The old cemetery was cool with the tall larch trees growing from within the white fencing.
  3. I loved soaking in the caves at Ainsworth Hot Springs (114°F).
  4. 45 minutes of endurance training at the end of a long day.
  5. I’m craving a burrito, chips and salsa. (Cruel of you to even ask.)

Day 2


  1. I feel really good. Very tired, very sore but good.
  2. I’m in Group #2. We went up the Galena trail today and saw a moose on the way to the hike!
  3. I really like it here. I might not want to go back to work
  4. Getting to the night class is a challenge. But once I’m in it, it’s amazing.
  5. Nothing specific. Just food.


  1. My hips are sore and I’ve developed a blister on my heel.
  2. I’m in Group #1. We hiked along the old K&S railway line near the deserted mining town of Sandon.
  3. A highlight was Payne’s Bluff– a narrow, cliff-side portion of the old railway cut out of a sheer rock face a thousand feet above the valley.
  4. Climbing 1000 ft of steep vertical in about 45 minutes.
  5. I’m craving chocolate and potato chips.

Day 3


  1. I feel tired and very sore but really great! I had a great day today!
  2. We hiked the Height of Land trail in Pilot Bay, which is about 17km. Krista was our guide again today. She’s amazing.
  3. My highlight was finishing the hike. I have NEVER gone that far.
  4. The mosquitos on the trail were annoying.
  5. I’m craving chips, coffee, and sleep. I’m exhausted.


  1. I haven’t felt this exhausted since some friends and I did a 9-hr Grouse Grind/Haynes Valley hike 10 years ago.
  2. We took the free ferry to the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. The mist hanging over the glassy water at sunrise was beautiful.
  3. Spotting secluded bays while we hiked through a mossy, sun-dappled forest.
  4. Climbing up a grueling 1,400 feet with sore legs and hip muscles.
  5. I want a Skor bar and ice cream, any flavor.


MT jenna photo2

Jenna and Rob are in the back row of this group shot. Rob’s wearing blue. Jenna is in black.

Day 4


  1. Today was my low day. I almost cried at breakfast. Twice.
  2. We hiked the fire access on Buchanan Mountain in Kaslo. It was beautiful.
  3. It’s so amazing the care that is put into the menu here. Guests’ dislikes, sensitivities and allergies are all considered. I have not worried once about cross-contamination or if something might have nuts in it. All my meals are either labeled with my name or brought to me directly. I feel very safe.
  4. Getting up the mountain. My legs and arms felt weighted. It was a serious mind-over-matter day for me. I’m glad I had a massage tonight.
  5. I’m not craving anything. We ate really well today.


  1. Today was an easier day than “Toxic Tuesday.” It’s 7pm and I’m feeling good, even energized.
  2. I woke up with a sore hip and hamstring muscles and was told if I pushed any harder it could result in injury. So I missed the hike and instead did two hours of cardio, core and strength training in the gym.
  3. Having the fully-stocked gym and yoga centre, with the stunning view of Kootenay Lake and snow-capped mountains, all to myself.
  4. Staying behind from the rest of the group and finding the willpower to push myself in the gym as hard as I could without further aggravating certain leg muscles.
  5. I can honestly say I’m not craving anything from the “outside” world at this moment.

Day 5


  1. I feel so good. I am never leaving.
  2. We hiked Fry Creek today. It was neat to be on the hike that I have seen so many photos of.
  3. Everything. Absolutely everything. We had an amazing yoga class this morning, all of the food was really good, the hike was beautiful, the drive to the hike was lovely and the evening workout was super fun.
  4. I became anxious when I learned I’d be hiking with Group 1 tomorrow. Nerve racking!
  5. Again, nothing. We ate really well today.


  1. I feel great. Light and energized.
  2. Hiking the narrow, cliff-side trail sections along the powerful and fast-moving Fry Creek.
  3. We saw a foot-long Rubber Boa snake (harmless) on our path that we stopped to examine.
  4. It was a challenge not dropping my iPhone into the water as I tried to snap shots of the beautiful scenery.
  5. An ice-cold beer.

Day 6


  1. I feel really proud of the work I put into this week. I am so happy to have met some really amazing people and to spend a week in the mountains.
  2. We hiked Slocan-Evans Trail and while driving to Slocan City we saw a black bear on the side of the road.
  3. At dinner tonight we all talked about keeping in touch – it’s nice to form such a strong bond in 7 days with strangers.
  4. The hike today was definitely challenging. It was really hard to keep going with Group #1 but everyone supported me and encouraged me and I did it!
  5. The only thing I’m craving at this moment is more Mountain trek!


  1. I feel great but it’s also bittersweet to be leaving. Friends were made, weight was shed, toxins were purged, lessons learned and eyes opened. But at the same time, I’m looking forward to getting back to my routine and tackling life in the outside world with an altered perspective.
  2. We did the Slocan-Evans Trail and Jenna moved into Group #1 with us, which was great. I’d look back, and there she’d be, right behind me.
  3. The conversations we had with each other on the trail were a highlight. Humorous, intimate, and insightful stories were shared.
  4. It was challenging keeping up with head guide Kirkland Shave.
  5. I’m craving nothing. (Because I know I’m going for Mexican food and a beer tomorrow in Nelson. Yeehaw!)

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you 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 or reach out below:

CNN features Mountain Trek

CNN travel

It seems the biggest of the big media corporations in the U.S. are taking an interest in Mountain Trek lately.

First there was Kirkland Shave’s presentation at Google headquarters in New York City  a month ago. In it the head guide at Mountain Trek spoke about the “Muffin Top” and how modern lifestyle plays a big factor in weight loss.

Then Atlanta-based CNN posted an article about how Mountain Trek is one of the best get-fit retreats in the Americas. In it, Kirkland is quoted as saying: “People are tired of sitting on the beach with a Mai Tai…A week without hearing a car can blow someone’s mind.”

Read more about Kirkland and the Mountain Trek experience on the CNN web site.












Hiking On BC Trail

People are tired of sitting on the beach with a Mai Tai.



Q&A with client Debra Fordham

Mountain Lodge in Britsh Columbia

Welcome to the first of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each came to our fitness retreat for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. In this inaugural piece we speak with Debra Fordham, a television writer living in Los Angeles, California, who visited Mountain Trek for a week in May 2012. Since that time she has lost almost 70 pounds and is training to run a half-marathon again. This is Debra’s story.

Q&A with Mountain Trek Alumni Debra

Debra Fordham (second from left) on her visit to Mountain Trek.

Hi Debra. Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with us. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?

I was feeling low one day and sitting at the computer googling generic topics like “fitness retreats” and “weight loss” when the Mountain Trek link popped up. I checked out the Trip Advisor comments and most of them included the words “life changing.” It struck me as a bit expensive so I called my friend to ask advice. She said, “How much would you spend to change your life?” I booked the next day.

Tell us about your expectations?

Well, I went in 80 pounds overweight and out of shape. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it was. I knew we’d get good food and go on hikes but I was surprised by the raw physical challenge and the evening lessons regarding healthy living. That said, the experience literally did change my life. After six days of eating healthy foods, exercising and detoxing my entire physiology changed. When I got home I no longer craved soda or Oreos.

What was the highlight of your experience at Mountain Trek?

I wanted to buy a house in the Kootenay region. It’s just so beautiful there. I also really enjoyed Kirkland’s lectures in the evening – they gave me not only an understanding of what I was going through in terms of physiology but I was also given tools to use when I returned home.

What was the low-light of your experience at Mountain Trek?

I wanted to physically give up at one point. I was thinking of myself as this fat girl who doesn’t exercise and it was all too much but the wonderful thing is the staff wouldn’t let me give up – they just inspired me to keep going. I was amazed at how motivated I was around the guides, most especially Kirkland, Cathy and Krista.

Q&A Success Story

Debra, over 50 pounds lighter

What was it like when you returned home?

When I got home I craved healthy foods. I also craved exercise and I continued hiking around my area. And I acted on Kirk’s lectures – I started cooking for myself. I made bliss balls and Mt Trek soups and I stopped eating processed food.

What were some of the challenges you faced when you returned home?

I was doing really well until the holidays when I got together with my family. We have such a wacked idea of food – we eat like crazy. I had people at my house at Christmas and so we started baking and because of the family dynamics – well, you just don’t want to eat tofu salad while someone you love is eating something unhealthy. It’s kind of a social statement not joining in.

How did you overcome those challenges?

Mountain Trek staff kept stressing “Have more good days than bad” and that really is the key. Sometimes you just have to eat the snacks on the airplane and it’s important you not beat yourself up about it. I don’t let it derail me. I’ll enjoy a “no limits” great meal but the next morning I’m back on the pony eating foods from the local farmer’s market.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?

Go!!!! With five exclamation points! For some people it may seem expensive but like my friend says, “How much would you pay to change your life?” You have to take it seriously – you’ll be challenged but it really will be the launching pad to changing your life.

Anything else you want to tell our readers about your experience?

I can’t wait to come back! I’m coordinating with someone who I met there last May and we’re going to return together. That was another benefit of the experience – the alumni are an amazing resource and they become your friends.


9 Reasons Why You Need a Mountain Trek Health Retreat

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 support you with delicious, nutritious meals that will revitalize your brain and body activity.

7. 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 to 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 breathtaking 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, increase lean muscle, eat good food, 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.

Mountain Trek British Columbia, Canada Lodge porch at Dusk

1. Invest in You

We are so often wrapped up in taking care of others. Whether you are supporting your colleagues, partner, parents, and children, we rarely take time for ourselves. Retreating to the lush mountains of British Columbia will offer you a chance to completely reset your health, and focus on yourself; so that you may return home feeling more balanced and recharged.

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 or reach out below:

Travel + Leisure Recommends Mountain Trek

travel escapeTravel + Escape has listed Mountain Trek with some esteemed company in its recent story “5 Wellness Getaways For Mind, Body and Soul.”

In the article Kat Tancock writes, “There are times when you just want a getaway that makes you feel good. Wellness retreats…are an excellent way to reboot mind, body and soul with the added convenience of not having to plan meals and activities. Here are five we’d be happy to call home for a week.”

She then goes on to list retreats in Maui, Mexico, New Zealand and, of course, Mountain Trek calling us a “combination spa, vacation and boot camp.”

To read the full article, log on to Travel + Escape.