By Dr. Ed Katcher

Health and Wellness vacations are all the craze right now. These getaways consist of well-organized group activities suitable for all ages and fitness levels and they claim you’ll return home rejuvenated. But what if you’re not a group activity type of guy or gal? Have you considered going hiking? Whether you are looking for a quick getaway or you are jet-setting to Europe, keep an eye out for the local hiking trails and explore the natural beauty of the land.

Pro tip! While hiking in the Swabian Alps in Germany, I noticed everyone had trekking poles. The Europeans love these poles. When I first saw them, I thought they were silly; now I own a pair and don’t go anywhere without them!

On a recent trip, I went to the NaPali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii. It is considered one of the ten best hikes in the world. The cost to hike it without a guide is nothing; it is free! In fact, in Hawaii, charging for private beaches and access to natural wonders is illegal. You can simply walk up to the most expensive hotel on the island, down to the beach, and start hiking.

Another beautiful trekking spot in the U.S. is the Hulls Gulch Interpretive Trail in Boise, Idaho. It serves up a big dose of nature and serenity without a long drive from town. The track leads down into a canyon and follows the creek high into the upper foothills. This trail is open only to foot traffic, so you don’t have to keep an eye out for bikes.

If you’re not looking to travel right now, don’t worry! Missouri has some beautiful hiking trails. My first suggestion is to grab your trekking poles and head to Buford Mountain. Buford Mountain is just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of St. Louis. Hiking the trail counterclockwise gets you the best views in the state, as this peak is just 10 yards lower than the state’s high-point of 1,772’ Taum Sauk.

So, what are you waiting for? Get some trekking poles and take off on your next fitness adventure!


Dr. Ed Katcher is presently Vice President of ABC Parenting, an active educational consultant and a motivational speaker.  He can be reached at or 636-751-9695.