My Favorite National Park Experiences

On a cool, crisp April afternoon my lovely family and I pulled up to Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. We were staying in Estes Park for a family vacation, and we had heard that the national park was simply majestic, so we knew we had to pay a visit.

As we rolled through the beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery, on our way to the park, we were already getting glimpses of life near the august mountain range. The flora and fauna seemed to be on full display, wrapped in the grandiose arms of the towering peaks.

I had no idea how much an entrance fee into a national park typically was, but we were pleasantly surprised when the park ranger at the front gate told us that it was National Park Week and entrance was free! When we drove through the entrance, we were immediately greeted by nearly a dozen elk, casually strolling through an adjacent field, like something from a nature film. Yes, we instinctively realized we were in a special place.

The Guel children at Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Guel children at Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

Thanks to National Park Week, we returned to Rocky Mountain National Park nearly every day. We trekked through trails, up the sides of mountains, and all around the beautiful, nearly-frozen lakes. It was an experience none of us have been able to forget – our first true experience in a national park.

Then came another mountain range, another sublime park experience, another adventure. Last November my wife, Brandi, and I had the opportunity to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. While not as imposingly majestic as the Rockies, the Smoky Mountains had an undeniable charm that was reflected all the more by the dazzling fall colors and dense, smoky fog around the mountain range.

At the Great Smoky Mountains.
At the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park experience hit a little closer to home, bringing back feelings of woodworking and finely crafted walking sticks. While hiking through the many trails available in the park, we came across numerous saplings with familiar-sounding names like sassafras, ironwood, and sweet gum. The names were familiar because some of Brazos Walking Sticks’ top-selling walking sticks are crafted from sustainably harvested sassafras, ironwood, and sweet gum saplings. Seeing the saplings out in nature made me appreciative of what Brazos is about, bringing The Feel of Nature to so many people across the country.

My two favorite experiences at national parks – at the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – revolved around nature and family. Those two things we hold dear at Brazos Walking Sticks.


Improve Your Workout with a Walking Stick (or Two)!

Whether you like to walk your neighborhood streets, forest preserve trails or along the beach, a walking stick is not only a great way to keep your balance, but used in the right way, it can increase the value of your workout.

Virtually any walking stick will boost your walk’s energy-burning efficiency, since you’re using otherwise sedentary parts of your body (arm, forearm, and shoulder) to move a walking aid that weighs anywhere from one to two pounds. However, the health benefits of using walking sticks is amplified when two walking sticks are used, because at that point, the entire walking experience transforms into a full body workout.

oak fitness walker
The Brazos FitnessWalker

Walking with two walking sticks (also called Nordic walking and pole walking) involves using all-limb motion with each stride. As you walk, and your feet move in stride, your arms also swing with the weight of each walking stick, providing exercise for the upper part of your body that would normally not receive much benefit from walking. Pole walking burns more calories than regular walking, since several core upper body muscles get stimulated and worked out through two-pole walking.

Key benefits of two-stick walking include:

• Increased aerobic capacity
• Greater muscle strength
• Overall full-body fitness

Pole walking with two Brazos Walking Sticks.
Pole walking with two Brazos Walking Sticks.

In order to make walking for fitness a fun and enjoyable experience, Brazos walking sticks has developed our FitnessWalker Walking Stick. The stylish FitnessWalker empowers you to exercise confidently as you walk briskly through your neighborhood, favorite trail or walking track. This oak fitness pole is created by hand from a single piece of wood, making it superior to other fitness walkers that may have moving parts or breakable pieces. This strong and attractive walking stick gives you rock-solid stability and assurance, wherever your fitness walking may take you. While perfectly suitable as a single stick, the FitnessWalker was designed to be used in pairs, in order to offer the entire range of benefits available with pole walking. Like all of our walking sticks and canes, the FitnessWalker is American-made by our local artisans in Waco, TX.

Get healthy. Get fit. Get started with Brazos Walking Sticks and the Brazos FitnessWalker!