May 5, 2015

Southern Utah: A Haven for Hikers

By Movara Fitness Resort Staff

Southern Utah and hiking go hand in hand. But there are a few important details to keep in mind before lacing up those hiking boots. Carie Koch, Hiking Manager at Movara Fitness Resort, has been an avid hiker for close to 26 years. As a professional hiking guide, she has spent much of her free time exploring the Southern Utah trails and guiding others safely through the terrain.

Since 2007, Carie has been the hiking manager for Movara Fitness Resort (formerly Fitness Ridge) where she has guided guests of all ages, abilities and fitness levels through terrains both breathtaking and challenging.  Her extensive knowledge of the climate and terrain have prepared her to offer some great advice for local hikers to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the natural beauty of Southern Utah.

“This is the perfect place to go hiking.” Says Carie, “Number one, hiking doesn’t require any equipment really; everyone has a pair of tennis-shoes and some water bottles and that’s really all you need! There are hundreds of great trails right here in Southern Utah.”

At Movara Fitness Resort, hiking is one of the most attractive features, as many guests come specifically to hike the majestic red rocks of Southern Utah. Movara’s guests participate in daily hikes, and can also schedule private hikes led by experienced hiking guides. Hiking is considered an integral part of the fitness program because hiking is an excellent calorie burn and a fun way to exercise – not to mention the feelings of accomplishment and euphoria when guests complete the daily challenge.

“As opposed to spending hours inside of a building working out in a gym, you can be outside enjoying the fresh air and breathtaking scenery.” Says Carie. “Your workout takes less time and is truly enjoyable.”

Fortunately, for St. George natives, the climate is mild almost all year long and some of the most beautiful state parks in the world are just miles away. Before hitting the trails, however, Carie says there are a few things all hikers should be aware of to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Hikers can run into dangerous situations that can affect their stability and cause injury if they do not properly hydrate. The high summer-time temperatures present real risks, and hikers should be very cautious during the hotter months.

“It does get very hot, and that can be dangerous. Temperatures usually reach dangerous heights after 9:30 a.m. and it is suggested to avoid doing any strenuous hiking after that time,” says Carie. “Not only can you get heat stroke or exhaustion, but you can run into an issue called hyponatremia where you are drinking so much water and sweating so much that your electrolyte levels drop too low.” Avoiding the heat, drinking plenty of water, and snacking on food such as granola or lightly salted nuts can keep you in the safe zone.

Know the Terrain
It is important to do some research into a trail before embarking. “Unless you have been on a certain trail before or have prior knowledge of the area, it is important to do some research online or talk to a local hiker so you know how far the trail is and how much water you need to pack with you.”

Play it Safe
In addition to water, snacks and knowing your terrain, Carie always advises that a first aid kit and compass or smart phone are included in your packing list. Most smart phones have a compass or navigation app that have maps of the trails in Southern Utah, and can be quite helpful. Better to be on the safe side than lost in the hot mountains.

This summer, set that alarm clock for the early, cooler hours  – and get out on those rocks! Hiking in the morning can invigorate body and soul, providing mental clarity that carries through your whole day. Interested in a private hike at Movara? Just call (435) 673-6600 to schedule!

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