Epic Treks: 7 Hikes That Left Us Breathless (in a good way)

Kalalau Trail in Kauai, HI

Kalalau Trail in Kauai, HI

The idea for this post was not mine! All credit goes to someone Mr. Frugalwoods and I revere: Mr. 1500 from 1500 Days to Freedom. He proposed we both write about our favorite hikes today because, well, hiking is amazing. I’m grateful to Mr. 1500 for suggesting this as it gave me the opportunity to post a lot of hiking photos reflect on the highlights of my favorite hobby. Make sure to check out Mr. 1500’s My Favorite Hikes (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reset My Brain) post today!

Since our name is Frugalwoods, it’s probably a good thing that we like hiking so much. It is, after all, the clearest distillation of our name: it’s frugal and it takes place in the woods. I wrote a whole post about why hiking is the perfect frugal day, which I think pretty clearly illustrates that WE LOVE TO HIKE. I hope that Mr. 1500 and I will inspire you to hike too! Unless of course you already hike, in which case you can go to town commenting on the pros & cons of our top hikes :).

Sidenote: What is it with Mr. FW and I doing yoga on mountain tops?!

The Frugalwoods Top 7 Hikes Of All Time (that we’ve taken so far and that we remember):

The Na’Pali Coast Kalalau Trail

  • Location: Kauai, Hawaii (trailhead is at Keʻe Beach)

    Kalalau-trail-9

    Near the Kalalau trailhead

  • Distance: 8 miles roundtrip, 2,000 ft. elevation gain
  • Unique features: Everything. I’m really not exaggerating, this hike exceeded our wildest hike-related dreams. Laundry list includes a HUGE waterfall, ocean views with dolphins, a beach stop mid-hike, jungle plants, and did I mention a waterfall?!
  • The secluded Hanakapiai Beach

    The secluded Hanakapiai Beach

    Warnings: Don’t take this hike lightly. We saw a number of folks who stumbled up the trail from Keʻe Beach in flip flops and promptly sprained ankles, wrists, etc. It’s not an easy ascent. Much of the hike is in blazing sun, so be prepared with hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Don’t swim under the waterfall unless you’re a competent swimmer. DO NOT FORGET YOUR CAMERA.

  • Frugal Hound rating: No way. Even if she had gone to Hawaii with us, this hike was WAY out of her league. Although she would’ve loved the dolphins. We didn’t see any hounds on this trail.

Description: 

Hanakapiai Falls

Hanakapiai Falls

A hallucinatory journey of everything we ever hoped a tropical hike would be. The first 2 miles is a fairly strenuous climb. The upside? You’re on a cliff overlooking the ocean and there are DOLPHINS jumping around (in the water, that is, not on the trail). After 2 miles, you arrive at the secluded Hanakapiai Beach, which while too dangerous for swimming, boasts stunning white sands and formidable crashing waves. At this point, the trail narrows and we climbed on hands and knees to scramble over tropical rocks and roots.

Me doing yoga after swimming under Hanakapiai Falls

Me doing yoga after swimming under Hanakapiai Falls

The dense thicket parted and we emerged from the jungle into a bowl-shaped valley where we encountered the glorious waterfall, Hanakapiai FallsWe swam underneath the falls, which felt like being pounded with a million garden hoses of ice water. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt such wonder and awe at the natural world.  We kissed under the falls and quickly swam ashore since our teeth were beginning to chatter. The pool is surrounded by huge boulders so we made like lizards and basked in the Hawaiian sun while lazily eating our lunch. This hike is not a loop, so our descent was just a reverse re-play of our hike in.

Franconia Ridge

Mr. FW on the Mt. Lincoln ascent

Mr. FW on the Mt. Lincoln ascent

  • Location: White Mountains of New Hampshire (140 miles from Boston, MA)
  • Distance: 8.9 miles, 3,900 ft elevation gain
  • Maps and Other Info: NE 4k Footers
  • Unique features: The ability to hit three summits, waterfalls, streams, views, Lord of the Rings movie set look-alike.
  • Warnings: A challenging day hike, even for seasoned hikers. The initial climb is taxing and the ridge walk is perilous at times. Don’t hike this as a beginner. Take an insulating layer, a wind shell, hats, gloves, sunglasses, and sunscreen–we were very exposed on the ridge walk and were happy for this protective gear!
  • Frugal Hound rating: There were a few hearty, experienced hiking dogs on this trail, but not many. Frugal Hound was much happier snoozing at home.

Description:

Me gazing back at Little Haystack

Me gazing back at Little Haystack

This hike is rated Arrrr for arduous. Case in point: as I write this, I’m icing my knee from hiking it on Sunday. The first three miles of summit climb are some of the most formidable miles I’ve ever hiked. However, it’s also one of the most beautiful ascents. Streams and waterfalls accompanied us on our journey, the allure of which propelled us forward (not to mention we had to step lively to avoid getting soaked). After a rather dulcet walk through some pine forest and the crossings of aforementioned streams, the grade pitched rapidly and we found ourselves climbing up a seemingly-endless incline of boulders.

We summited the first of three peaks–Little Haystack (nothing “little” about it) and were greeted by incredible panoramic views accompanied by very windy and cold weather (in September). We then began the ridge walk to the next peak, Mt. Lincoln. After taking 546,879 photos, we continued to our final summit, Mt. Lafayette. While the ridge walk between Little Haystack and Mt. Lincoln isn’t much to sneeze at, the ascent to Mt. Lafayette is grueling. We were exposed to sun and wind for the duration of the ridge walk and were grateful we had our protective gear. After summiting Mt. Lincoln, we snuggled into the side of the mountain under a rock outcropping and munched on our homemade bread, peanut butter, and honey sandwiches.

Mr. FW climbing towards Mt. Lafayette

Mr. FW climbing towards Mt. Lafayette

From Mt. Lincoln, we hiked down a rocky-faced mountainside and back into the tree line. The descent was nearly as herculean as the ascent and we were glad we had our hiking polls in hand.

Old Rag Mountain

  • Location: Northern Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (90 miles from Washington, DC)
  • Distance: 8-10 miles depending on where you park, 2,500 ft elevation gain
  • Maps and other info: Hiking Upward

    Old Rag view mid-way up

    Old Rag view mid-way up

  • Unique features: views, boulders, views!
  • Warnings: The National Park Service describes Old Rag as “the most popular and most dangerous hike [in Shenandoah National Park].” They are not kidding. The rock climbing elements are not for the faint of heart and I honestly wouldn’t have made it up without Mr. FW’s help. I recall one particular crevasse where he single-arm lifted me up. Thanks, love!
  • Frugal Hound rating: Absolutely not. We didn’t see many dogs on this trail since there’s so much rock climbing involved. But if you have a mountain goat, by all means, let it go wild on Old Rag. On a leash, of course.

Description:

The view from the Old Rag summit

The view from the Old Rag summit

Old Rag is a must-hike if you’re in the DC metro area. The only problem is that everyone seems to agree and thus, it can be a crowded trail. To combat this, we took a day off work so we could make the ascent on a weekday. There were still plenty-o-folks, but it wasn’t disastrously packed.

Old Rag is just plain fun. There are tons of boulders and much of the hike is a hands-n-knees scrabble. There are also several crevasses you have to pull yourself through using only your upper-body strength. This was a bit challenging for me, and Mr. FW had to boost me up a few times. And I am a lady who lifts weights every week! The view at the summit is a fabulous, A+, number 1 view and you will not be sorry!

Mt. Cardigan and Mt. Firescrew

Mr. FW halfway up to Mt. Cardigan

Mr. FW halfway up to Mt. Cardigan

  • Location: Southern White Mountains of New Hampshire (120 miles from Boston, MA)
  • Distance: 5.5 miles, 2,200 ft. elevation gain
  • Map and other info: NH Department of Forests and Lands (pdf)
  • Unique features: Double summits! Views, views, views!
  • Warnings: The short distance of this hike belies its difficulty. This is no easy hike, but the rewards are well worth the challenge. Loved the views and can’t wait to hike it again in a different season.

Description:

Mr. FW on the ridge walk between Mt. Cardigan and Mt. Firescrew

Mr. FW descending Mt. Firescrew

A downright rugged little hike. I love the diverse topography on this hike–everything from dense woods to a completely treeless rock summit, to a gorgeous ridge walk with a pond. The final 1/2 mile to the Mt. Cardigan summit is sheer rock face, which was somewhat treacherous. The summit was windy and cold (and this was in August), so be forewarned and bring your winter togs. 360-degree views of the White Mountains greet you at the summit and it is breathtaking (plus we were out of breath from the climb).

Mr. FW doing yoga on the Mt. Firescrew summit, facing Mt. Cardigan

Mr. FW doing yoga on the Mt. Firescrew summit, facing Mt. Cardigan

We didn’t eat lunch right at the summit–it was far too windy and cold. We trekked down towards the ridge walk just a bit and tucked ourselves into a little cranny of rocks. After lunch, we continued along the ridge to the summit of Mt. Firescrew, which had a charming and slightly out of place seeming little pond. At this point, storm clouds were amassing at the summit and we thought rain imminent. So, we hightailed it down! But, no rain came and we slowed our descent to enjoy the first few leaves of fall. I LOVE FALL!

Mt. Bierstadt

View from Mt. Bierstadt

View from Mt. Bierstadt

  • Location: Rocky Mountains of Colorado (60 miles from downtown Denver, CO)
  • Distance: 7 miles, 2,850 ft elevation gain
  • Maps and Other Info: 14ers.com
  • Unique features: Proximity to Denver, amazing views!
  • Warnings: For us flatlanders, it’s always good to remember that at 14,000 feet, there isn’t much of a summer nor is there much oxygen. I climbed this in mid-August last year and there were patches of snow at the summit along with a biting cold wind. I also had to slow down dramatically due to shortness of breath from the altitude.
  • Frugal Hound rating: Several hardy hiking dogs were on the peak. Frugal Hound would’ve passed out in the parking lot.

Description:

Mr. FW (pre-beard!) doing yoga on Mt. Bierstadt

Mr. FW (pre-beard!) doing yoga on Mt. Bierstadt

Mr. FW here. I managed to hike Mt. Beirstadt in the morning and attend a wedding in Denver that evening. I got up at 4am and was back at our hotel by 2pm, leaving plenty of time to get all dappered up. I was tempted to wear my hiking gear to the ceremony (this is CO after all!) but was vetoed by Mrs. FW. She’s so sensible! She wishes for me to add that she would’ve hiked this with me but was a bridesmaid in aforementioned wedding and so had bride-related duties to attend to.

The entire hike is above tree-line so you can see whole route from the trailhead. This is both fun (wow, look where I’m headed!) and tough (wow, I still have a long way to go!). The trail is mostly steep switchbacks up the shoulder of the mountain through fields of wildflowers. The final climb to the summit is an entertaining free-for-all rock scramble lacking a trail. The views from the top are absolutely wild!

The sunrise over Mt. Bierstadt

The sunrise over Mt. Bierstadt

This is definitely a hike I plan to hit again the next time I’m in Denver for work. There were tons of people, but most of them seemed to arrive later in the day. Hitting the trailhead at 6am avoided the crowds and allowed for a dramatic sunrise over the mountain (pictured above)!

The Middlesex Fells

Mr. FW at The Fells

Mr. FW at The Fells

  • Location: Greater Boston Metro Area (15 minutes from Cambridge and the Frugalwoods home)
  • Distance: 7 miles for the Skyline Trail, many shorter options available; 1,000 ft. elevation gain
  • Maps and other info: Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Resources
  • Unique features: proximity to Boston, MA
  • Warnings: The Fells can get crowded on the weekends, so we always aim to hit the trail early in the morning to avoid the rush.
  • Frugal Hound rating: Frugal Hound can manage this hike! We have to walk more slowly and allow for dog bowl water breaks, but she can do it (grudgingly).

Description:

Mr. FW in the pine forest at The Fells

Mr. FW in the pine forest at The Fells

This hike is no great shakes in the canon of epic hikes, BUT, it is a 15 minute drive from our house! For weekends where we can’t devote an entire day to driving several hours to an awesome trailhead, The Fells is our perfect escape. It boasts a plethora of beautifully wooded trails and you can lose yourself in the forest just a few minutes outside of Boston. The primary view is of the city itself, which is not exactly my ideal hiking view, but, it’s satisfactory. This is an A+ option if you have just a few hours but still want to squeeze in a lil’ hike.

Shenandoah National Park Little Devils Stairs with Piney Branch Trail loop

Little Devil Stairs in autumn

Little Devil Stairs in autumn

  • Location: Shenandoah National Park (80 miles from Washington, DC)
  • Distance: 9 miles, 1,500 ft. elevation gain
  • Maps and other info: Hiking Upwards
  • Unique features: Streams! Waterfalls! A canyon! Unbelievable fall foliage!
  • Warnings: Your feet and lower legs will get wet. The ascent is grueling. Hiking poles are recommended by the Frugalwoods fam!
  • Frugal Hound rating: Not gonna happen. In addition to being too exhausting, Frugal Hound does not enjoy getting her dainty paws damp.

Description:

Looking up from the canyon of Little Devil Stairs

Looking up from the canyon of Little Devil Stairs

If it’s autumn and you live anywhere near Washington, DC, stop what you’re doing immediately and go on this hike. It is a chromatic assemblage of every autumnal hue you’ve ever seen in picture books. Mr. FW and I nearly emerged with double sprained ankles from gawking at the leaves and not minding our feet. And if the colors aren’t enough–you’re hiking astride a picturesque babbling mountain stream for the entire ascent. The first half of the hike is in the valley of a narrow canyon in which you criss-cross the stream. You look up at sheer cliffs from which trees jut out at seemingly impossible angles and waterfalls cascade like, well, waterfalls. There are many stream crossings and at one point, you have no choice but to walk in the stream. Make sure to pack extra socks! There isn’t a show-stopping summit view, but the uncommonly gorgeous nature of the terrain more than makes up for it.

For the descent, there are two options–the longer, more winding Piney Branch trail (which we took) or the shorter Keyser Run Fire Road. The descent is pretty simple and straightforward–the name of the trail (Little Devil Stairs) is an homage to the ascent. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty laborious.

I highly recommend the longer Piney Branch Trail descent because it winds past an Edward Gorey-esque ancient cemetery deep in the woods. Again, you really want to do this hike in the fall. Crisp leaves, candy corn in your pack, and a haunted cemetery…what could be better. And, for what it’s worth, I recall Mr. Frugalwoods and I had one of those pivotal, marriage-enriching conversations during this hike. Something about the unprecedented beauty we were surrounded in, and the relative seclusion of the trail (very few other hikers), served as the perfect incubator for deep and loving discourse.

Final Thoughts From The Trail

For Mr. FW and me, hiking is the embodiment of goal-setting, achieving, and journeying. Each hike presents challenges, unexpected difficulties, and unimagined rewards. The sense of accomplishment we feel after a hike can’t be replicated–we are proud of each other, at peace with the world, and dog tired.

Mr. FW on Mt. Cardigan

Mr. FW on Mt. Cardigan

Hiking is a lifelong pursuit. We see young children and folks in their eighties on the trail regularly. What an incredibly frugal and meditative hobby to sustain for a lifetime! Hiking is also a time of deep connection for Mr. FW and I. We rely on each other completely on the trail and we consider ourselves to be on an adventure together. I’m telling you, if you want to connect with your partner on a new level, take a hike together.

Now, if you haven’t already, go read Mr. 1500’s My Favorite Hikes (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reset My Brain)!

What about you, dear readers, what are your favorite hikes?

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63 Responses

  1. Autumn says:

    These pictures are amazing! We have some of our best talks out on the trails too. For me, those distraction-free chats are even better than the views.

    I always feel guilty leaving the dogs behind, but dachshunds really are not the best hiking companions. There are some really easy and flat trails nearby that they can do, but the girl dog usually ends up being carried at least part of the way. It helps with the upper body workout I suppose.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! Trail talks really are the best. Aww, dachshunds on the trail! Yeah, greyhounds are similarly not very skilled hikers 🙂

  2. Mrs. PoP says:

    Due to proximity, I end up doing a lot more beach runs than mountain or canyon hikes (those happen on vacations – the most recent was the Blue Mtns outside of Sydney, which was really nice), but the idea is the same. Exert myself a bit, and clear my mind while enjoying nature (and dolphins!) without too many other people around. And if I happen to do a few sun salutations as the sun rises on the beach, all the better.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Beach runs sound great! Although I’m the worst beach runner ever. I attempted it once and tripped on some kelp. Sun salutations on the beach, however, are my kinda thing!

  3. Wow!!! These are amazing and now I have new locations to add to my to-do lists. 3 years ago me and FB Hubby lost a bunch of weight and got into more athletic endeavors and we love hiking. I can’t even imagine, though, attempting any climb in flip flops. That is just crazy!

  4. Mr. 1500 says:

    Oh wow, thank you for the kind words. The pleasure was all mine though and thanks for agreeing to my idea!

    I’ve been to Shenandoah, but never to any of the other places (not even Beirstadt in my own backyard). Can’t wait to make it out to the East Coast to hit some of these trails.

    And never to Yosemite? You must go! We’re going again in June 2015 for the umpteenth time. You both doing anything in the beginning of June?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      No, thank YOU! June 2015… you are an advance planner! No clue what we’ll be doing, but I guarantee we’ll HOPE we’re hiking in Yosemite.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      I’ve always wanted to hike the John Muir Trail… will need to be retired first though! Soon enough!

  5. I think I’d really like the Hawaii hike, and I would love to do one in New Hampshire since I’ve never been there. Probably the most memorable has been Half Dome. I don’t hike as a regular hobby so I don’t have a ton to compare, but I loved some hikes I did in New Zealand, and there were some pretty ones in Seattle when I lived there, but it seemed to be foggy and damp a good majority of the time.

  6. What an awesome collection – you two have hiked all over! This was fun to read, especially Frugal Hound’s opinions. Awesome pictures, too. We have never done any of the “standard” hikes by where we live… and REALLY ought to!

  7. Jake says:

    Being above the tree line in the Rockies is something everyone needs to experience at least once. In some ways it’s eerie, like being on another planet. I’m amazed every time I see wildlife up there carrying on like it’s no big deal to live in such an extreme environment. If you make it back to Hawaii be sure to stop by the Big Island so you can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. All of the volcanic activity out there has made for a rather unique landscape.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      It really is something else. I always feel like humans are not supposed to be there… we only get to visit for short bits of time!

      I’d love to see some volcanos! Only downside to Kauai was no active volcanos, but that’s a good thing for them!

  8. Kirsten says:

    Ok, now I just feel lazy. We honeymooned in Kauai and I didn’t even KNOW there were hiking trails (that’s what I get for letting hubby plan everything out). Years and years and years ago I lived in the Boston metro and lived with a gal who liked to hike, so we went up into New Hampshire one weekend and had a blast.

    I love the outdoors, love seeing these sites, and I’m ashamed to say we haven’t been taking advantage of the tons of trails in our area. But maybe next year when the baby can do a bit of walking herself. You know, cause the snow is coming, like, tomorrow where I live.

  9. Kara says:

    Beautiful pictures! I especially love the yoga ones!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! I hadn’t realized how many yoga pics we had until we sifted through them all. Apparently it’s a thing we do… 🙂

  10. Oh my, your pictures are totally awesome! I love your yoga pose, btw!

  11. I agree with Kirsten- this post made me lazy! Beautiful pics!

  12. Pauline says:

    I love seaside and canyon hikes. You can never get bored when you walk by the sea. Sadly my boyfriend lasts about 10 minutes then gets bored. A few hikes he did (so must have been the best!) we hiked to North Cape, the northernmost point in Europe, about 6 miles return, beautiful cliffs and a midnight sun in Norway, and the Calanques near Marseille, France, by the Mediterranean. Guatemala has tons of volcanoes which are really cool to hike as well.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Cliffs and a midnight sun sound incredible. I’d love to do more hiking internationally! Mr. FW has climbed a few volcanoes in Guatemala, but alas I have not. I’ll have to add it to the list!

  13. What an epic compilation of hikes! I enjoyed the pictures, and your descriptions made me feel like I was there =). I’m going to show this post to the boyfriend when he gets home as I would love to start hiking on a small scale. Running is his main thing, but we both enjoy spending time in nature. The only thing is, we’re both a little afraid of heights. Also, waking up at 4am to fit a hike in before a wedding is awesome and makes me feel unproductive!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! I am also quite afraid of heights, but I’ve never been scared on a hike. You’re not usually on a very narrow ledge. Also, most summits don’t have sheer cliff drop-offs, it’s much more gradual. Mr. FW freaked me out before the Franconia Ridge hike by saying the ridge walk was “knife edge,” but in reality it was quite wide and I wasn’t concerned at all. Let me know if you convince R to hike!

  14. the payoff is huge as you put together through these photos! I rarely go hiking but the last time was last summer. I went hiking with some friends up the Laurentian Mountains about 2 hours drive outside of Montreal and the view from the summit was worth every step up the trail! In case you ever visit Quebec, here’s a link to what I’m referring to http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/canada/laurentian-mountains-quebec/

  15. Tawcan says:

    Cool post, love that both of you like hiking too. Have you come up to British Columbia or Alberta and hike around there? There are a lot of good hikes in these two provinces. I really like hiking as well but I like scrambling better. In case you don’t know, scrambling is something in between of hiking and rock climbing where you need to use your hands but not quite exposed enough to use a rope. Scrambling to get on top of a pointy peak is such a rewarding experience. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We haven’t been to BC or Alberta–I’d love to hike there though! I’m a fan of scrambling when necessary. Definitely had to scramble on the Franconia Ridge and Old Rage hikes!

  16. ThriftyD says:

    Awesome photos! I specifically credit your blog and Autum’s blog, ‘The Barefoot Budgeter,’ for helping me to realize that travel and frugality/financial independence can go hand in hand. Of course I’m sure there are other great frugal and travel blogs out there, but I read both of yours regularly so they tend to resonate more with me. On past road trips (in my pre frugal-minded tays), I treated hiking simply as a means to get to a scenic destination point or some other place. Now I emphasize the hike itself as my ‘destination activity.’ That said, the most memorable hike I did was in Arches National Park. Seeing Delicate Arch in person was one of the neatest things I had ever seen and certainly a Bucket List item I was able to accomplish. Thanks for the awesome posts!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words–I really appreciate it! I’m a fan of The Barefoot Budgeter too (Frugal Hound even interviewed the Barefoot Barker 🙂 ). I absolutely believe hiking and travel can be perfect frugal activities. And, it’s certainly the journey (and destination) with hiking–I love the ascent just as much as the summit. Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts.

      • ThriftyD says:

        Oh you’re quite welcome. In fact, I believe I discovered The Barefoot Budgeter from that very Frugal Hound’s sniff of the Barefoot Barker you mention above! Very creative way to introduce us readers to other blogs. :). Do you and Mr. F ever go biking on your travels? I have yet to bring a bicycle on any of my road trip travels but I feel that would also be a great way to explore wonderful scenery off the beaten path.

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          Glad you enjoy the Frugal Hound Sniffs :)! You know, we haven’t taken bikes traveling with us before. We mostly use our bikes for inter-city transit, not for recreation. But, I could certainly see us doing that in the future. Great idea!

  17. Tarynkay says:

    The summer before starting grad school, my husband and I decided not to renew our lease. We got a tent and a national parks pass, and traveled around the country instead. We had many amazing hikes that summer, but the very best was towards the end of the summer, hiking to Deer Lake in Olympic National Park. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

    It seemed like a really easy hike at the time, but looking back, we were both in the best shape of our lives at that point. After all, we had spent the whole summer hiking for 8-12 hours a day. Which we did in Tevas, by the way. Not flip flops, that is crazy talk, but still. We had hiking boots but never ended up wearing them.

    Now we mostly do very easy hikes around here. And we bring the toddler and the dog and then of course we have to bring the Ergo because the toddler inevitably runs out of steam and has to be carried back. Thankfully the dog has more stamina. But it is still good fun!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That sounds like an amazing summer–wow. Mr. FW and I would love to have the time off work to through-hike the AT or the Long Trail, but, not gonna happen ’til we’re FI. Just one more motivator! Glad to hear your dog doesn’t have to be carried :). Frugal Hound has very little stamina and would certainly need to be carried if we ever took her on a serious hike 🙂

  18. I’m not a rock climber and not much of a scrambler either.

    I love hiking, but more of the thru-hike or walking tour variety. Destination hikes and summits are like “oh, okay, I climbed x for this?” I tend to get much more out of incidental wildlife sightings and other serendipitous trail events than postcard shots.

    My favorite hiking spot is a state park about 40 minutes away. The trail loop we take is about 5 miles, with a lot of climbing up and down glacial bowls, which takes you through a few quite distinct micro-climates: deep forest, swamp, and even (briefly) through a wide-open prairie.

    Bonus: there’s a lake that I’m not too fond of, but the goblins love it. Dangling swimming in front of them is a great way to keep them motivated 😀

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That diversity of micro-climates sounds ideal. I really enjoy hikes that encompass a variety of different forest types. Streams are an especial favorite of mine too. I do miss the prairies of the midwest–we just don’t have them here!

  19. Ah man. I want to hike now. I haven’t hiked in years but before that I did a lot of smaller mountains and places across central Europe. Climbed a mountain in Germany that had a bar at the top!

    Jay

  20. cheapRN says:

    Great hiking pictures! You’ve covered a lot of ground with all of your hikes. My husband recently ran (that’s right, ran!) a part of the Appalachian Trail here in south central PA. I believe they covered around 40 miles and he did it in minimalist running shoes, too. That’s something he doesn’t recommend, but it looks like you Frugalwoods are good about wearing your hiking boots! Maybe the two of you could consider hiking the whole AT at some point, kind of like a bucket list thing. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh wow–a trail runner! That’s hardcore. I always feel like a slug when they sprint past us and I’m huffing and puffing just to walk up a mountain! We’d love to through-hike the AT; definitely on the post-retirement bucket list!!

  21. Tammy R says:

    Wow, what beautiful pictures and words to describe them. My husband and I let many years of silly work prevent us from hiking and various other healthy and fun activities, but no more! In the past few years, we’ve hiked in Estes Park, Colorado, Big Bend National Park, and just last week in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. You are so right when you say that it brings you so much closer as a couple. When you’re hiking 11 miles and only see one other person (who you think may have 4 wheeled it on the cheater road!), you have much time to talk, hoist each other up (literally), and depend on each other. We love hiking. I’m so glad Mr. 1500 pointed us here!

    Happy Hiking!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and saying hi! Sounds like you’ve hit some awesome hikes! You’re so right about the closeness that comes from hiking together–there’s just nothing else like it. Happy hiking to you too!

  22. Wow, you weren’t lying when you said you guys like to hike! I am headed to Hawaii this Winter and I hope to take at least one hike to a waterfall. You just can’t experience stuff like that here in Minnesota.

  23. Super hike through your hiking journeys Mr & Mrs FW! It is making me miss hiking a lot. Maybe we need to go through the woods near our home this weekend! We are sorry that we did not do the Kauai hike. We were with my BIL/SIL for the trip and they weren’t very interested. They didn’t like to snorkel either! Our last big hike was 3 years ago in Newfoundland – I think it was Woody Point – climbing up the mountain and seeing the Tablelands in the distance. I think it would have the rigour that you two would enjoy. I was beat! So windy up top too. Glad we did it though. I’ve got some pics I’ll have to post some day soon.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That sounds like a great hike–please do share the photos! I’m a bit obsessed with hiking photos… in case you couldn’t tell :).

  24. Kim says:

    Hiking is one of our absolute favorite family things to do. We did the Napali coast hike just this summer, not all the way to the falls, but enough so our daughter could take in the views. We also saw dolphins. Since we live in rural Colorado, we are pretty spoiled. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite, but I love the hikes that go through the old mining structures and then end up with a great view of what seems like the whole world. We also love, love, love Canyonlands and the whole Moab area. It’s a whole different scene and one of the things I love about where we live. If you don’t like the outdoors here, you’d be pretty miserable.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the Na Pali coast too! The dolphins truly made it other-worldly. Rural Colorado sounds ideal to me–I’m jealous of how many hiking spots you have there!

  25. Jon says:

    I’ve always wanted to do Kalalau Trail, it looks amazing!! Great pics, thanks for sharing!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It truly was amazing! I think it’s a great testament to that trail that Mr. 1500 and I both highlighted it out of all the hikes we’ve both done. Thanks so much for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the photos :)!

  26. chris says:

    I can’t believe I went 25 years without experiencing the gem that is the middlesex fells. Also for countless epic treks you must get to glacier national park!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I would love to go to Glacier National Park! There are so many parts of the country (and world) that we hope to some day hike :). The Fells are definitely a gem–for their proximity if nothing else. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. September 9, 2014

    […] also really enjoy hiking. So today, the Frugalwoods and I both present our favorite hikes. Please flip over to their site to read about some of their […]

  2. September 12, 2014

    […] continue the hiking theme we started earlier this week with Mr. 1500, I thought I’d regale you with a little […]

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    […] healthy habits come from Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods, who both love hiking in the mountains. Although I was disappointed by their post – although not really – because it lacked […]

  4. September 16, 2014

    […] a big fan of 1500 Days and Mr. 1500 and I actually wrote collaborative posts on hiking last week. If you haven’t read 1500 Days before, you’re in for a […]

  5. September 24, 2014

    […] biking, walking, picnics! Some of our fondest memories are of free, outdoor journeys. In Kauai, we hiked the Na’Pali coast to a waterfall that we swam under. One of the greatest experiences of our lives–and totally […]

  6. October 3, 2014

    […] is your fondest memory? Every hike we’ve ever hiked together. It’s our absolute favorite way to spend a day and we’re never more relaxed or at peace than […]

  7. October 6, 2014

    […] Higher than usual because we took a few lengthy trips in order to go hiking. The longest was the drive to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for our epic Franconia Ridge hike. […]

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