Going on Deer Valley’s guided historical hike with mountain host Michael O’Malley was a great experience! In my last post, I shared a little of the history he taught us and a lot about the host himself. There are a few more things you might want to know, however. Here you go:
We gathered at Sterling Express Lift and then hiked on a narrow trail through two amazingly beautiful aspen groves. Just when I started to notice my heart pounding and lungs burning, we stopped for a mining history lesson and a chance to catch our breath. I listened intently as Michael explained there were literally a thousand mining tunnels beneath us. He passed around black and white photos of how Deer Valley looked during those mining days. Guess what? Silver Lake was actually a lake at one time! I did not know that. I always wondered…
Wildlife was everywhere. We spotted two mule deer does on the hillside across from our trail. Then a few minutes later we saw three elk cows in the same area. They slowly came into a clearing and then moved past. I had never seen an elk, much less three and so close. Magical.
We also met some interesting people – there was a mix of locals and out-of-towners which included some hard core hikers who you’d want to saddle up to in a windstorm or if you were hungry – they had all kinds of supplies in their packs. One guy had bear repellant spray which of course we didn’t need but would come in handy in a variety of circumstances. We met a mountain bike instructor, a tourist from San Francisco, a family from Connecticut and Jennifer the helpful mountain host.
When we regrouped at the end, my friend informed me we hiked 5.5 miles in 3.5 hours to an elevation of 9100 ft. which was about a 1000 ft. climb. She wore her heart rate monitor the whole time and told me that we had burned 900 calories and the guys had burned 1600. What? Are you kidding me? I was having such a good time, I never noticed that we were working out. Do you know how hard it is to burn 900 calories? In case you don’t know, here are some examples:
Two hours on the rowing machine burns about 900 calories. I love the rowing machine but I am seriously bored to death after 20 minutes.
About two hours on a treadmill burns 900 calories — utter torture. Will never happen in my lifetime.
Five hours of yoga burns about 900 calories – I did a class once called Yin Yoga where you twist into a pretzel and then the instructor tells you to relax into the pose (really?) and you stay in that position for like 20 minutes or so to release the tension. Push ups are easier than that. Seriously.
An hour and a half of cardio boxing burns 900 calories- I actually took a cardio boxing class at my gym a couple of months ago. Don’t ask me why I thought I was in good enough shape to take this class. I made it through the class but when I got home, I couldn’t lift my arms even to feed myself and believe me I was starving. Two days later the real pain hit. Every muscle in my torso and upper body felt like it was being attacked by ice picks. A friend of mine who boxes told me to go back right away and work through it. Right.
So imagine my surprise that hiking in the most beautiful place in the world, learning all kinds of interesting history, meeting some really cool people, and seeing majestic animals burned up a boatload of calories …. with out feeling the burn. Somehow it feels like everything is right with the universe. The historical hike is one experience I definitely plan on repeating.