Are You Getting Enough Vitamin N?

Coal Creak Trail and Falls in Lafayette, ColoradoVitamin N.  You may not have heard of it.  In fact, if you go to your local drug store, you won’t find a bottle of it on the shelf.   That’s because vitamin N is something we get for free just by going outside and admiring the grass, the trees, the clouds, and the sun.

Vitamin N is nature.  With more and more of the population living in cities and high-density apartment/condo buildings, nature is becoming more and more distant in our daily lives.  While humans have dominated the earth and learned to control fire, extract resources from the planet and make some pretty incredible things with those resources, we must not forget that we are part of nature.

Just like we bring plants into our shelters, we must also make it a point to step out into nature itself.  Here is how:

  • Seek out parks.  While hiking isn’t available, you can still sit under a tree and take in the sunshine, the rustle of the leaves, and the wind in your hair.
  • In the urban environment, seek out well landscaped areas.  Newer shopping areas typically have streets lined with trees.
  • Do a Google Search for trails near your house.  Even in urban areas like Denver, more natural recreation paths are available like the Speer Blvd aqueduct.
  • Plan a weekend in the mountains.  Get out and explore areas within a half day drive to a day’s drive from home.  Plan time hiking and exploring the area.
  • Sign up for a community garden plot.  Sites like Growing Gardens might have a plot in your area.  There is nothing like dirt under the fingernails and a fresh tomato!

Getting your vitamin N fix is easier than you think.  Experience the birds, the leaves, and the sun.  They are all a part of your soul.


A Wet Hike, Cold Spring Trail

When it rains, many people seek shelter. One certainly wouldn’t think of hiking up a steep mountain in the rain.

Well, a friend of mine and I decided to brave the latest winter storm swinging through Santa Barbara and go for a hike. Equally distant from both of us is the Cold Spring Trail, located along Mountain Drive in the foothills above Montecito. Even in dry conditions, our route climbs 1,300 feet over 1.6 miles and culminates at a man made stone BBQ. A BBQ? Yes.

We threw on our rain gear and headed up, up and up passing brown geckos, creeks and burn areas as we went. Tangerine Falls were not as impressive as previously, but given the dry conditions as of late, we were surprised to see as much water falling as we did.

Passing Tangerine and proceeding up the conditions became wetter and colder. The canyon behind the falls is remarkably untouched and presented some of the best hiking scenery I’ve had in a while.

At the trail end stands a wonderfully built BBQ hearth from stone situated under a tree. I can only imagine how it got there, but fear the chaos that would occur if a fire was ever lit in its hearth.

After regrouping, putting on dry clothes and noticing a size-able increase in the rainfall, we headed back down. The muscles that weren’t sore yet, quickly found themselves put to use as we descended 1,300 feet.

With many creek crossings, we had plenty of chances to practice our rock hopping skills. Crossing a creek relies on a few things: 1) how well you balance, 2) how well you can leverage momentum, 3) the distance of the crossing, and 4) the shape of the rock. So, it is no wonder that I got my feet a tad wet, slipping a few times and dunking my foot in the cold water. Even my friend was challenged at one particular crossing where the rocks were pointed, spaced apart, and he launched poorly off the shore.

Arriving back at the trail head, I was disappointed to see someone had put a road across the trail. 🙂 It was such an awesome hike and I was happy to see the rain had kept the fair weather hikers at bay. We live in such a beautiful place, we should always enjoy it, wet or dry.