Since I’ve lived out west (3+ years in Colorado, and now living in Oregon), I’ve noticed a lot of hikes and runs are geared towards something: a peak, a vista, a waterfall. I haven’t trained for a race where I aim for mileage in my runs for years but I’ve found that my various outings frequently are “better” when I have a goal. When I have something I’m aiming to reach, I can push myself past discomfort, laziness, wishing I’d stayed in bed. There’s a sense of accomplishment you get when you get to the proverbial top! (Side benefit: you don’t have to make the decision of when to turn around…)
Sometimes I absolutely love to run and wander aimlessly. I love to run, even get lost, in a new city to get my bearings and see a side of the place I’m visiting that I maybe otherwise wouldn’t have. Exercise is also a form of therapy for me. When I’m upset, anxious, stressed, or sad, I love to swim laps, run, hike, cycle until my thoughts and emotions calm. It’s cathartic.
Running in CO during an emotional move
Exploring San Diego
Sometimes I’ll just go out for a run without a plan, and it’ll feel SO good! I just keep running and running and running. “I just felt like running.”
I LOVE beach running! Oregon Coast
Birthday meanderings in Oregonian forests
But sometimes there’s nothing quite so motivating as that view, or that waterfall, or that peak. When you’re tired, and your feet are hurting, and you’re craving a burger, and your pack feels like a million pounds, the goal of the hike can help you push through all that to make it!
Hanging Lake, CO
Top of Quandary Peak (over 14,000′ elevation)
Mohawk Lakes, CO
Backpacking to Conundrum Hot Springs, CO
Wahclella Falls, OR
Angel’s Rest, OR
Multnomah Falls, OR
Loops can actually be pretty awesome because once you pass a certain point, it just makes sense to keep going and finish it rather than to turn around. Plus, you don’t have to go back the same way to get back to the car. You keep getting to see new stuff the whole way! Bonus!
My favorite loop around the lake at my aunt’s house in MA
10-mile “loop” over the resort in Breck
6-mile loop between Multnomah and Wahkeena Falls, OR
Even when I was skinning (skiing uphill) daily, I liked having a point I was aiming for rather than turning around whenever I got tired. (I was skiing uphill with heavy gear at high altitude; I got tired crossing the street to the trailhead.) I figured that I’d made the effort to go out in the cold to hike my butt up a mountain, so I might as well make the most of it.
Hiking up Breck before I got skins
Top of Baldy Mountain
Fresh powder tracks going up AND coming down
Skinning up Baldy Mountain on a powder day
Yesterday’s goal was to see Mt Hood two ways: reflected in Mirror Lake, and from the top of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. Mission accomplished!
Can’t wait to see what the next pot of gold has to offer!
Note the actual rainbow behind us!