Written on September 23, 2011 at 9:32 am , by Karla Walsh
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to spend an active weekend in Aspen, Colorado—basically the epicenter for the healthiest lifestyles in America. As I was reading a city magazine in my hotel room when I first arrived, it was clear that this place was different. (A resident detailed his daily routine, which started with a hike, followed by a few hours in the office, a ski break at lunch, catching up on a bit of work and wrapping it all up with a run.) So I knew I was in for a load of fun during the next few days!
The adventure crew at The Little Nell, the gorgeous hotel that hosted our group in Aspen, kicked things off right with a morning of fly fishing. While I’m no pro, the guides helped me taste a little victory—I caught two fish! (Although I have to admit, they were both less than six inches long. And don’t worry, we just released my little Nemos back into the pond.) After fueling up with a gourmet picnic lunch, I got the rest of my activity in by shopping the afternoon away.
Later on during the weekend, we hit the skies during a paragliding outing. I wasn’t nervous one bit until our Land Rover kept climbing, and climbing, and climbing up Aspen Mountain. We reached about 11,000 feet (more than 3,000 feet higher than our landing spot) and saw our parachutes and pros waiting for us. I started to get what you might call “Sweaty Palm Syndrome” when I saw the steep hill we’d be jumping off while strapped to a person we’d known for five minutes!
For the conclusion of my paragliding escapade and more fit trip details, click below.
Luckily, I didn’t have much time to think about it, because shortly after being harnessed in and given the safety rundown, my designated pro and I were sprinting off the ledge and flying high above the awe-inspiring, lush landscape. My discomfort faded away as I felt the wind rush against my face and simply enjoyed the freeing feeling. The most invigorating part of the experience (and my Oprah “Aha! Moment” for the trip) was realizing that I will be just fine if I surrender control sometimes.
We made a perfect landing—I was able to run it in and stay on my feet the whole time!—and celebrated with fresh peach mimosas. Then I switched from jeans to a wetsuit for two hours of stand up paddleboarding, which was an awesome balance, shoulder and core workout, not to mention a lot of fun to experience a feeling similar to walking on water.
I rounded out the weekend with a six-mile hike with a guide from The Little Nell who has hiked across the country not once but three times, and a delicious, healthy dinner at Pyramid Bistro.
It’s clear why Colorado has the lowest percentage of overweight or obese residents—it was simply the norm to wake up, head outdoors and keep moving until the sun sets!
Now tell us: Do you prefer your vacations to be action-packed or restful? What is the best fit vacation you’ve ever taken?