By: Dr. Mike Olpin
I love to bike, hike, and run in the hills and mountains of northern and southern Utah. I love the workout of going up. I love the thrill and speed of coming down. Best of all, I love the views I get when I reach the tops of the trails.
I particularly enjoy one trail that happens to be located only a few short minutes from where I live. Within minutes from home, I can find myself on a path where it immediately feels like no city exists anywhere nearby. I disappear into undeveloped terrain.
As I ride, walk, or run along this trail, I head to the top that is only about 3 miles up the hill. However, it is a rise in elevation of about 1000 feet. It is a terrific workout by bike or on foot.
Even more wonderful is the adventure I get each time I travel up the hill. The journey is varied and changing. On occasion, it winds through forests; other parts are more like the desert. A brief bit of the trail near the top even feels very tropical. I also travel through a couple streams when the snow is still melting from high up the mountain during the spring and early summer. Most of the path is an eager reminder that I live in the Rocky Mountains – lots of rocks of all shapes and sizes.
At the top of this trek I always come upon the most magnificent scenery, the most beautiful rocks, and the air that is so clean and fresh. It is a place that is peaceful and serene.
When I first began hiking and biking this trail, I would find myself getting lost. There are many side trails that lead to places other than the top of the hill. Sometimes they lead to other sidetracked trails, winding here and there sometimes even coming to dead ends where dense forest makes the path impossible to continue. When I take these side paths, I inevitably find myself doubling back to the original trail toward the top.
One of the items that I noticed along this wonderful trail was stacked rocks. At first, I wasn’t sure why they were there, but it soon became clear that they had been placed by previous hikers to show that I am on the right path. They were trail markers telling me to continue along this specific trail if I wanted to reach the top. When the trail came to a fork, a quick look up either trail would show me the one with the stacked rocks. That was the fork to take.
Someone has gone before me, has found the best trails, and has placed the stacked stones intermittently along the way so when I come along, I don’t have to guess which way to go. I simply enjoy the thrill and magnificence of the journey to the top. When I’m not sure I’m headed to the top, I look down, I see the stacked stones, and I trust that I am still on the right path.
That is what we hope this website will be for you, a trail marker, something that will help keep you on the right path of less stress, and optimum levels of health and wellness.