I’m teaming up with Ricola® Herb & Throat drops, as part of a campaign with Socialstars, to bring you this sponsored post all about nature and getting outside in honor of “Earth Month.” These words and thoughts are all my own.
Hi friends! And a very happy Thursday going out to you!
Since I moved to the Bay Area more than two-and-a-half years ago, I started this new thing on the weekends that’s ultimately relaxing — getting outside just to enjoy the great outdoors. Sometimes it involves hiking, sometimes it involves a picnic, but mostly it involves taking in nature, clearing my mind and getting away from the hustle and bustle of life.
The benefits of getting outside to hike
With busy days and nights, up until this past weekend, it had been a while since Dave and I were able to get out for a good hike. But we finally made it into the wilderness on Sunday at a big park in the East Bay. And during this little outing, I was reminded of why I love hiking so much. Here are just a few of the reasons …
- You get to breathe in fresh and natural air, which always smells so good
- You soak up some Vitamin D from the sunshine
- You get to look at trees, flowers, nature paths and sometimes even wildlife (we saw lizards and cows on our most recent trek!)
- You get a chance to give your body active recovery from tough workouts, by loosening up the muscles as you leisurely walk up and down hills
- You get away from computers, TVs and phones for a few hours and rely on talking or thinking to pass the time
- You can usually enjoy nearly complete silence, void of traffic or city noises
- You get to see other like-minded people in their element, hiking and soaking up nature and those neighborly people always smile and wave at you
- You sometimes discover amazing views of your area that you’ve never seen before
- You have a chance to talk with your hiking partner, completely undistracted and get into great conversations
- It’s a cost-effective way to get yourself out of the house for a few quality hours
- It’s a natural stress reliever and tends to soothe the soul
And yes, all of these things presented themselves on Sunday as Dave and I were out.
In the early afternoon, we suited up in sneakers and workout wear, packed up a bag and stopped by Trader Joe’s for a few supplies before driving about 20 minutes to a new-to-us regional park. We hiked up the trail for about 45 minutes and found a great spot in the shade to set up camp. We enjoyed a lovely lunch, then sat back and relaxed for a bit before hiking back down the trail.
While we went hiking with the intention of getting some fresh air, we got a whole lot more than that. We spent some time talking about a few big things coming up for us and had a chance to collect our thoughts before this week began. It was natural medicine right there, folks. Thoughts collected, mind cleared. And something you can easily replicate …
What to pack for a short day-time hike
We’ve gotten pretty good at preparing what we need to take to make it through a several-hour adventure. In addition to wearing the right shoes and athletic attire, we’re always sure we pack one or two backpacks full of supplies.
A usual packing list looks like this …
- A reusable water bottle full of water (extra points for fruit-infused water)
- A hat
- An extra sweater in case it’s cold in the tree-shaded areas
- A blanket or mat to sit on
- A portable speaker to listen to some tunes (not too loud!)
- A reusable bag to store and take away all of your trash
- A healthy lunch (we usually pick-up a couple of to-go salads from Trader Joe’s)
- Snacks like trail mix, nuts, protein bars or crackers
- Reusable silverware, plates and cups
- A mini lunch-box-sized cooler to store perishables
- A card game or book for entertainment
On our most recent hike, Dave and I packed something new with us. We brought a bag of Ricola Revitalizing Herb Drops, which of course, were so kindly sent to me by the folks at Ricola. Full of B vitamins and ginseng, these drops help restore your energy, which is something you need when you’re actively exploring and hiking. They’re pretty soothing too, much like being in the great outdoors. And they’re a natural allergy remedy too, which is helpful when you’re out among tons of plants and greenery.
Outside of enjoying the natural herbs in these drops while out in a natural setting, I actually spent some time explaining to Dave what I had learned about Ricola as a company from some research, before we headed off for our hike that morning. And here’s what I found …
The Ricola history and difference
The name Ricola comes from Richterich and Co. Laufen, which is the last name of the inventor of the company (Emil Richterich) and the city where he founded the business (Laufen, Switzerland). Today, more than 80 years after Emil created the first blend of medicinal herbs, Ricola is still family-owned and headquartered in it’s original spot in Laufen. And the drops? They’re pretty awesome …
What makes Ricola drops stand out is the 10-herb blend called the “Chrüterchraft” or secret recipe, which is made up of herbs cultivated in the Swiss mountains using natural farming methods. It’s cool that these natural herbs have healing abilities and are packaged and sold by Ricola all over the world. I love how portable they are too. Perfect, of course, for something like a hike.
Get out there and explore
If you’re in need of a stress-relieving romp in nature or something to do this weekend, may I suggest you head out for a hike?
While some regions may not have as many scenic vistas as the Bay Area does, there are usually local parks with trails available for walking in every town. I’ve found that city and county government websites and even Yelp can be great resources when you’re looking for ideas on where to hike and what to expect. So get out there and start walking!
That’s it friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little stroll in the woods. Have a lovely Thursday, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for “Friday Favorites.”
* Disclaimer: As part of a Socialstars campaign, this post in sponsored by Ricola. However, all the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. For more information on the brand, you can visit Ricola on Facebook or on Twitter.
Questions of the day
When was the last time you went outside for a hike?
What’s your favorite way to clear your mind?
Anything exciting going on in your week?