Every now and then I come across an Instagram account that really catches my attention. Usually because the pictures all have the same filter, or their food pics look extra delicious. But this account was different. Alicia Baker, the owner of @GirlOnAHike, is living the life we only dream of. Accompanied by her adorable pup, Alicia posts scenic selfies and landscapes of most the amazing adventures that inspire the most wonderful story books. Let's join her!
Alix: Your adventures are so beautiful! How often do you get to go on these awesome trips?
Alicia: Thank you! I try to schedule one camping/adventure trip a month, and I like to hike almost every weekend. People always ask, “How do you afford to do that?!” I make it a priority, save up money when I can and put it in my savings fund labeled “Travel” (so I don’t spend it), and travel with friends so that everyone splits the costs of campgrounds and gas.
Alix: Can you take me with you? LOL.
Alicia: Of course! I love to bring friends along to show them cool places.
Alix: I feel like “hiking” is one of those things that girls say they like to do to impress guys. But you seem to really love it! How did you get into hiking?
Alicia: I’ve always been a doer, not a say-er. I hike and get outside for a few reasons: 1) free entertainment! 2) Either free or really affordable (there are entrance fees here and there plus gas and snacks) 3) it’s a great total body workout 4) I get to spend time with my dog and friends and 5) being outdoors leads to some of the most beautiful places on earth!
Growing up in seven states, I have done my fair share of traveling and exploring. As a kid, I remember my parents taking us kids hiking and camping, and have always loved those memories and adventures. It wasn't until I was in college that I started adventuring on my own. I lived in Northern Virginia at the time, and there aren't many hikes in that area. However, I made the most of it, and frequently hiked at Great Falls National Park. In 2006-2008, when I lived in Northern Virginia, Great Falls NP had a total of 7 miles. So, after school or on weekends I would go out by myself and hike all 7 miles. I found some other small, local "hikes" (more of a walking path) that I would do, but I tended to get bored doing those.
It wasn't until I moved to Montana in 2008, that I really got into the outdoors. Let me tell you - the hiking in Montana was amazing! The mountains, the fresh air, the Montana "Big Sky", clean air, tons of trails - it had it all! I had transferred from a community college in VA to Montana State University, and started classes in the Fall of 2008. I had lived in an all girls dorm, and was excited to finally have girlfriends say they were all into hiking. I thought, "Perfect! I will finally have some company on my adventures." It didn't quite work that way....
I always made sure I got my homework and reports done during the week, so that I could explore on the weekends. I quickly found out that most people don't operate that way, and was back to square one and hiking alone. This time for up to 14 miles in one day. I really wanted company, but since I was also new to the area & didn't have any other people to ask to come along. It wasn't until after I had graduated, and lived in a town home, that I had an idea. "What would be better company than a dog?!" Sure, a dog couldn't talk with me, but I loved the idea of having a buddy to tag along, to share my adventures with, to train to be an outdoors dog, to protect me from wildlife, and to snuggle up to at the end of the day. I guess you could say hiking and being outdoors has always been a way of life for me.
Alix: What has been your favorite hike/adventure so far?
Alicia: Every trip offers something different, whether I’m backpacking in the High Uintas or in Moab for a weekend getaway. I love that Utah’s landscape is so varied. One day I can be hiking on slick rock in red dirt, and the next day be in high alpine terrain. It’s so hard to choose! One of my favorite areas to backpack in Utah is Naturalist Basin in the High Uinta Mountains, about an hour East of Salt Lake City. I just love the views, the landscape, the clear blue water of the lakes, it’s not very popular, and in summer it is about 20 degrees cooler than the valley. A few of my favorite day hikes are White Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and Desolation Overlook in Millcreek Canyon. So many to choose from!
Alix: How long are your hikes? Do you go for multiple days/nights at a time?
Alicia: My day hikes range anywhere from 2-18 miles on one day. If I am backpacking over night, I like to hike no more than 8 miles per day, since carrying 30 lbs on my back can slow me down. My longest backpacking trip has only been 3 days so far. I am planning on doing a week long backpacking trip this year in Wyoming in August.
Alix: I backpacked through the most southern part of the Appalachian Trail one year for spring break. I’ve got to admit, the food wasn’t that delicious. What kind of things do you eat and drink to stay energized on the hikes?
Alicia: For my main meal, dinner, I rely on Mountain House Dehydrated meals. My favorite is the Lasagna! There is nothing better, easier, more convenient, and tasty than being able to boil some water, pour it into a pouch, and 10 minutes later get a hot, filling, meal. My breakfast options range from 2 packets of instant oatmeal, to a bagel with peanut butter, or a dehydrated breakfast meal such as Biscuits & Gravy from Mountain House. Lunch is usually cheese and crackers, trail mix, dried mango, granola bar, apples, Honey Stinger Waffles, ShotBloks, precooked bacon strips, or honey roasted nuts. Surprisingly, when I hike or backpack, I am not that hungry during the day, so I eat most of my calories in the evening.
Alix: What’s some of your favorite gear? The ones you can’t live without?
Alicia: Tough question! It really depends what season it is. In winter, my two must have items are Microspikes (an ice traction system to prevent slipping on ice and snow) and gaiters (knee high garments to protect and cover the ankle and calf. Gaiters help keep snow out of your shoes). In summer, my must have item is my Camelbak to keep hydrated on the trails.
I would say I can’t live without my Jack Black Lip Balm with SPF 25. Utah is dry year round, and this is the only lip balm that actually rehydrates my lips and protects them from the sun when I’m higher in elevation.
Alix: How do you choose which Fitness Fox Headband you’ll wear? Do you coordinate outfits or try to set the mood of the trip?
Alicia: Let’s be honest, I probably have like 15 Fitness Fox Headbands, all with varying colors and patterns! I usually wear the one that I haven’t worn in a while. Sometimes it matches my hiking clothes, sometimes not. I just like to make sure I wear them all evenly LOL! Every time I get outdoors, someone stops me and asks, “Where did you get that cute headband?” I can proudly tell them, Fitness Fox!
Alix: What do you like most about your FF Headbands?
Alicia: The main reason I love FF Headbands is because when I’m outside hiking, it soaks up the sweat and keeps hair out of my eyes. I have medium length hair, but it drives me nuts when those little flyway’s get in my face, and blocks my view of the trail of scenery. Plus, the designs are so cute! I also love how stretchy they are.
Alix: We all want to be your friend! How can we connect with you?