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Urban Hiking: Adventure is just outside your front door

Have you ever sat around wondering what to do for the weekend?  Did you contemplate about taking a trip to this place or that?  Did you know there are adventures to be had right where you live?  

We've really tried to take our motto at the top of this blog to heart - "Every second is an adventure".   While thinking about this motto and contemplating what type of trip we might take this weekend, we thought "Why don't we just take a trip right here in our own town?"  So we decided to go "Urban Hiking" through the towns of Ivins and St. George Utah.  We packed a small bag with our typical "survival" items: -Granola -Trail mix -Sunscreen -The camera -The iPad and we ventured out into our rural town of Ivins.

So... you may be asking...

What is Urban Hiking?

Don't worry, we found ourselves asking the same question.  At first, we thought it was a term we came up with to describe our plans for the weekend.  After doing a bit of Googling, turns out other people have thought of it too.   In fact, there are a number of websites dedicated to it; most of which pertain to a particular city.  In many cities, there are groups that get together regularly and go on these urban hikes.  Who knows?  Maybe there's a group in your city...  you should totally look it up :)

With that being said, when we "came up" with the term urban hiking, this is what we had in mind:

Basically, you treat a walk through the city in the same way you would a hike through the mountains, forrest, hills or any other outdoor venue that suits your fancy.  There can be varying lengths, levels and difficulty to urban hikes, much the same as any hike in the wilderness.  We've found that when hiking, you tend to drift into a different state of mind.

In the past, we've done a lot of "no car days" and just walked around town and went exploring - many of which came as a result from a rough period in life when we didn't have a car.  During those days, we found that life felt a little different when we slowed things down a bit and took the time to walk from place to place.  We noticed much more detail in the sites, smells and sounds around us.  When you just drive from place to place, it's much easier just to turn up the music and "zone out" while driving.  When hiking, you can take in everything around you with the utmost appreciation, in part because you worked a bit harder to get there.  So... hopefully that gives you a bit of an idea about what urban hiking is, but ultimately, we decided the definition can be up to the person doing the hiking.

Where did we go? For our first leg of the hike, we decided to hike from our house in Ivins to the closest bus stop in St. George (a little over 5 miles). We enjoyed wandering through our little hometown of Ivins.  Ivins lies on the northwest outskirts of the St. George area (about a 20 minute drive from the heart of St. George).  The neighborhood roads in Ivins are in a bit of disrepair, which actually just adds to the whole experience of the city. Ivins is nestled right below "The Big Red Mountain".  We love living below this mountain and have found it almost seems to give off it's own genuine brand of energy.  It was a pleasure to be able to hike through town and just soak up and admire the mountain as we hiked. We then travelled down our area's major road - Snow Canyon Parkway, into St. George.  Below are a few of our highlights from our journey.  By the way, Meisha's pics are the black & whites (as she only sees in black and white) and Josh's are the colored pics:

Starting out our hike as we head through our Ivins neighborhood
This is looking down someone's driveway in Ivins.  There's a house down there somewhere.
Snow Canyon Parkway and the Red Mountain in the distance.
We decided this would be a great spot to take a little break...
And took this video:
Ivins and St. George have a lot of petroglyphs in the surrounding wilderness.  As a result, you'll see petroglyph-inspired designs all over.
As we hiked down Snow Canyon Parkway, we realized that we were going to miss our bus so we picked up the pace.  I turned on the camera and caught a bit of the action:
By the way, we get a lot of questions about whether it hurts to run/walk on rocks in our Five Fingers.  The answer is:  not really, sort of.  If it hurts you to run/walk on rock with bear feet, it might hurt in Five Fingers, but we've found our tolerance for rocks and pebbles has changed quite a bit over the last couple years.  The video above was not sped up and we didn't feel a bit of pain from the rocks you see us moving over.After almost a mile of jogging/running, we made it to our bus with just under 2 minutes to spare.
We took the bus the rest of the way into town, watched a movie, then made our way over to The Desert Rat as the backpack we had on order had finally come in:
 
The Desert Rat.  Seriously, the best place in St. George for outdoor gear.  Locally owned, great service and a wealth of knowledge regarding local area hikes, climbs, etc.
The newest addition to the family:  Josh's Osprey Aether 85.  Definitely too big for the purposes of our urban hike but hey, what better time to pick up a backpack than when on an urban hike?  Plus, it was a lot of fun seeing the looks we got (and some questions) while hiking around town with an enormous backpack.
That night, we met some friends for dinner and decided to make our urban hike an overnighter.  We were lucky enough to stay the night comfortably at a condo in St. George, owned by our Aunt and Uncle.The next morning, we got up and headed out for the hike home- 9.2 miles from St. George back into Ivins:
Immediately we found a little "urban hiking gem" (one of the cool things you're not likely to find when driving in a car):
I like to call her "Bendover Barbie"  ....and no, we didn't pose her that way.  That's how we found her and we left her undisturbed :)
Here I am, capturing the action.
Our view as we walked up Bluff Street.
Admiring our reflections at an intersection crossing.
Heading down the pedestrian trail on Snow Canyon Parkway
We stopped and took a much-needed break at Tawa Pond.
Some of the cool vegetation we got to admire as we walked down the parkway.
The view as we walked up to the Ivins Roundabout
The entrance to Ivins City
Looking over the riverbed near Snow Canyon State Park
Meisha workin' it down the trail (St. George is just over the far hill you see in the background).
After 17 miles of urban hiking, the familiar Red Mountain was a welcomed sight.
The last mile was definitely the hardest.  Here's Meisha trying her best not to look tired :)
Home sweet home.
So...  after a 17 mile "Urban Hike Adventure", would we do it again?  Absolutely!  We had a blast and would definitely encourage anybody to do it.  Just remember... you don't have to go far to find adventure.  Sometimes it's waiting just outside your door.
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