Why I think everyone should get out and hike

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.

Ashley on a hikeHiking in neon? Always a good choice for blending in to your surroundings.

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.

Pretty view at Briones ParkTo top it off, here’s what we found at the end of the trail. A gorgeous scenic vista overlooking the East Bay.

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.

Backpack for a hikeGuess who usually carries the backpack on our hikes? Not me! So I don’t mind loading it up.

A usual packing list looks like this …

  • A reusable water bottle full of water (extra points for fruit-infused water)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • 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 …

Ricola dropsJust a gal and her Ricola herb drops, hanging out on a sunny Sunday in the hills of the East Bay.

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?

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41 Comments

  1. Ricolaaaa! I love their commercials and agree they really are very tasty and soothing. I loved the picture you took with the package in front of your face, too cute!

    Last hike we went on was last weekend and I agree with loving my weekend time outdoors. Nothing clears the mind better than a blue sky and fresh air! Glad you were able to enjoy some nice hiking weather last weekend! Have a great day 🙂

    1. Hi Jenna! hahah! I totally think of that commercial too:) And oh yes, especially after spending so much time behind a computer or in the gym (both of our lives!) we need to get away from it all in the wilderness sometimes. Happy Thursday, lady!

    1. You don’t even need mountains to hike! How about a flat nature trail at a park? heheh! But yes, I bet Colorado was a better spot for that. Happy Thursday, Sue! 🙂

  2. I love getting out for a hike! We just need some good and warmer weather I can’t wait to get out to the local trails! So many places hiding I wasn’t aware of as well, I can’t wait to explore them this spring!

    1. Hi Hilary! That’s great you have places you want to explore. Spring weather is heading your way soon I hope! Have an awesome day, lady!

    1. Walking outside in the city sometimes has to do! hehehe! Maybe a weekend excursion when Alex is off? Hope all is well, Susie! Happy Thursday!

  3. One of the biggest thing I miss about LA is all the hiking spots! I love getting away from traffic and lots of people every once in awhile. The hiking options are not the same here in Dallas (ha) but there are lots of little parks to walk around near where we live.

    1. Hi Marielle! Yes, there seems to be a big hiking craze in LA … but I bet it’s HOT HOT HOT! At least you have some parks in Dallas! 🙂

  4. I’d go crazy if I didn’t get out in nature every weekend 🙂 I’m luck to live near lots of great trails, so I’m in the trees at least once a week!

    1. Hhhahah Bri! In the trees once a week? That’s awesome! You go girl! We need that nature sometimes. But it sounds like you’re a regular, so I don’t need to tell you! 🙂 Have a great day!

  5. I absolutely love hiking, my favorite pastime. We have a great greenbelt system here in Austin, and we have taken up backpacking the last few years. Extreme hiking~!

    1. Hi Carissa! A greenbelt system? Cool! I’ve never been to Austin and always wanted to go. Extreme hiking? Woohoo! I’ve only done treacherous hikes a handful of times. Good for you though! Have a great Thursday, lady!

  6. When my sister moved to California few years ago she started hiking ALL the time, and all her pictures always look so amazing! I wish there were more hiking trails in my area, but I’ll take my running paths instead! I used to hike a lot in college at Penn State because there were lots of trails nearby and it was a great stress relief 🙂

    1. Hi Gretchen, Yes, even just getting outside along a path counts for something! But yes, there is a lot of hiking here in California, and I didn’t do it until I lived here either. Where does your sis live?

  7. When I have a cold, I always reach for Ricola cough drops because I find they are more gentle on my stomach than other cough drops and they taste yummy. I had never thought about using them when my allergies act up in the spring & fall so now I’ll be sure to reach for them during other times as well.

    My husband and I like taking long walks but around my neck of the woods there are not many hiking spots. My husband and I love hiking when we’re on vacation. Our most memorable hike was on our honeymoon in Hawaii when we hiked the Koko Head Crater. Since you live on the West Coast it’s easier for you to get to Hawaii and I would highly recommend getting there for a visit … can not say enough good things about it. I pretty much cried when we had to leave!!

    Have a great day 🙂

    1. Hi Catherine! Ohhh that sounds amazing! We SOOO want to get to Hawaii, since we’re only a five-hour flight away, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve heard of the Koko Head Center and would really enjoy experiencing that same hike. How cool you went on your honeymoon in Hawaii. It will always hold great memories for you I guess!! I’d cry when leaving too heheheh! Thank you for sharing, my friend! Let’s hope you get back there and I get there one day!

  8. I love getting outside as well! Nothing like a long walk outside on a trail with a friend to enjoy nature 🙂

  9. I love going for hikes! It’s been a while since my husband and I actually took a hike, but we do love to walk in the park on a regular basis. I completely agree about getting out in the sunshine, away from technology, and just enjoying the fresh air and nature!

    1. Hi Carrie! Happy Thursday to you and thanks for stopping by to say hello. Walking in the park is still getting out into nature away from technology, so it’s great you and your hubby have been doing that at least. Hope you get a chance for a good hike again soon! 🙂

    1. Hi Megan! We could do a lot of things together if we lived closer, lady!! hehhee But nice job on the running outside. Hope you feel better soon! 🙁

  10. I’m so excited to find your page through Carrots N’ Cake! I also moved to SF (from North Carolina) 3 years ago. Where did you go hiking in the East Bay? I’m always looking for more trails!

    1. Hi Amanda! So glad you found me too! I moved to SF from Orlando, Florida 2.5 years ago and just relocated out to the East Bay about 2 months ago. I was in Nob Hill before that. Some of my favorite places in the East Bay thus far are Briones Regional Park and the Lafayette Reservoir. However, I’ve heard Mount Diablo is the best, but we haven’t made it there yet! Where in SF are you? 🙂 Happy Thursday!

      1. Oh, I have heard of Mount Diablo too! I will have to check the others out for sure. I live in Noe Valley and work down in the Fidi. I bet you are glad to escape these SF rent prices. 😉 Happy Friday-eve to you too!

        1. Hi Amanda! Yes, we LOVED living in Nob Hill, but when we decided it was time for more space, the East Bay came calling. It’s warmer out here too, and I have a car now! Woohoo! I’ve written a bunch about SF stuff, so check this page out if you want some more city reviews: https://aladygoeswest.com/san-francisco/ Have an awesome night, new friend! 🙂

  11. Great post! Hiking is my favorite thing EVER! Which is a big reason we moved to Anchorage! We try to do at least one hike every weekend for the same reasons you do. It’s the best way to spend time 🙂

    1. Hi Kristen! I bet there is so much to see in Anchorage! Nice work on a hiking weekly! Hope you have a wonderful day and weekend! 🙂

  12. Great post. Hiking was one of the cheapest hobbies I found back when I was really tight on the budget. I quite thankful now I found it because it lets me get away and relax.

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