I came to Mountain Trek for a week in mid May and it was one of the best experiences I have had!
I am currently living in the middle east but had just left my job and have a few months before I start my new role. I was keen to spend the time trying to get back the fitness I have lost over the last few years, lose the weight I gained as a result of various health issues (despite being fairly active and sporty and eating healthily), travel and see friends and family.
Being British, I started by looking at fitness retreats in Europe. None however quite fitted the bill. They were either yoga or treatment based so not active, or army style bootcamps with lots of strapping men shouting at you whilst you crawl around on the floor! I love sports but I much prefer being outdoors to the gym and I wanted exercise that I would actually enjoy. I can truly say that whilst it was really hard work I absolutely loved Mountain Trek.
On the exercise front the week comprised of yoga for an hour in the morning overlooking the beautiful lake, 4-5hours of nordic hiking at speeds I never knew were possible and in absolutely stunning scenery around lakes and mountains, and a gym based class in the evening - either weights based or high intensity. All the classes and hikes were fabulous and run by amazing and enthusiastic staff. Despite playing lots of sports, running and hiking I had never really done yoga before or weights but everything was set up to deal with people who were totally inflexible or new to these types of classes right through to those who are regulars. walking was split into 3/4 groups based on speed with each group being pushed to the right level for their fitness. I moved up and down groups afew times depending on how I was feeling on the day. Because the number of guests is so limited they really can offer a personalised service and assist each individual.
But Mountain trek wasnt just about the exercise - it really is a fully body and mind reset.
The lectures on nutrition, stress, sleeping, metabolism etc were incredibly interesting and really based around science and research and taught even those who were nurses, drs and return visitors something new.
The spa services form the jacuzzi to sauna and steam room were actively encouraged every day to assist with detoxifying and relaxing. The massages were absolutely the best I have had anywhere in the world from Dubai to Thailand to UK etc.
They also really assist in trying to ensure you dont just gain from your week there but can take it forward with manageable goals rather than unachieveable ones. You continue to receive advice and newsletters once you leave and if you have booked any of the additional medical tests then you will also receive phone consultations with your results afterwards.
And last but certainly not least I couldn't finish without mentioning the outstanding food. Everything tasted truly fabulous. Fish and meat are on the menu - locally sourced and organic, but I dont believe we had wheat. Other potential food allergies or intolerances were all dealt with on a person by person basis. From 6.15am smoothies, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack to dinner around 5.30pm (very early for me but you'll understand why after the lectures!) the regular timed food ensured despite the limited calories that you were never hungry.
Its not cheap and as a result many of the guests are high flyers, but even though it took a while for me to save for it, and is on the other side of the world, I can say without a shadow of a doubt I will be saving up to return again! There were guests there returning for their 17th year and I fully understand why. Now I'm just waiting for a second site to be opened in Europe ;-)
It is human nature, Unfortunately, to focus on the negative. We all do it, whether it's when people point out that one little flaw or we keep watching something horrible on TV. Reviews are no different we gravitate to the negative reviews and we skim through the good ones. SO I feel bad telling you that I would never give this place less than 5 stars but I really wanted you to read this and I dont think this will effect their star ratings. Mountain Trek can be life changing and while everyone will have different levels of what to expect, if your main goal is to change your life, even if it's just a little bit, MT is the most well rounded place to do it. You will probably not find a place that will satisfy every person and I truly believe if YOU are focused on Change and not the size of rooms or if there is chair out side of the steam room, this is the place. MT, offers well educated, passionate, hardworking, friendly staff. Educational classes are easy to follow, Food was fabulous, abundant and not redundant. Hikes were challenging, beautiful and not repetitive. Fitness classes were well thought out, fun and challenging. Schedules were timed well and everything ran smoothly but remember what makes their program work well is the people who are participating in it so each group can change the dynamics. My group was fabulous and everything ran great. A big heartfelt thank you to MT for helping me change my life. Cathy, you are truly amazing and all the little extra things you do did not go unnoticed. I hope you will continue to inspire people you meet and inspire your fabulous team.
This "REALLY" is the best you will
Mountain Trek is the best gift I've ever given myself. I've done the program twice - once for one week, once for two full weeks. I will go back for the third time in the fall. There is simply no better place to clear the cobwebs and reconnect with the real you. It's not just a spa or a luxury retreat or a fitness program - it's a place to reset, learn, grow, heal and have fun in a breathtaking setting, free and clear of daily distractions. Thanks to an exceptionally talented, kind staff and the array of resources available to support you, you leave feeling rejuvenated and armed with practical tools to tackle life AND live it. Yes, it's a splurge and yes, it's a bit of a hike to get to (pun intended), but how much is your future worth? MT reminds you that you deserve to invest in yourself and why 'putting the oxygen mask on first' makes you a better family member, employee, employer, friend, etc. back home. Please feel free to message me with questions or if you are on the fence.
A few specific notes:
- *MT attracts a wide range of guests, men and woman, of all ages, with completely different, individual goals.* My last group had two couples, two single retirees, a pregnant woman, a colon cancer survivor, someone mourning the loss of a spouse, former athletes, several solo travelers who came w/o their significant others or kids, and a bunch of other out-of-shape professionals hoping to break habits and shed a few pounds. The one thing trekkers have in common is the desire detox from the stress of daily life and to support each other on that journey. I leave each trip with a few new friends.
- *No expertise or technical skills required.* Many people come to MT never having hiked or used hiking poles before. You don't need to bring any equipment other than the right shoes. They provide everything else and teach you what you need to know.
- *Huge premium on safety.* There are four groups to accommodate a variety of fitness levels, each with its own professional guide. No hiker is left behind. No hiker is out of the sight of a guide at any time.
- *The food is delicious, and they accommodate all dietary needs.* They also generously share any and all recipes on request.
- Onsite infrared sauna, steam room, hot tub, cold plunge and 24-hr gym. The local hot springs are just down the hill and a cool cultural experience.
- In addition to the included massages, there are numerous services available at additional cost to support your goals: acupuncture, cranial sacral work, private nutrition sessions, private counseling, private yoga sessions, naturopathic/food sensitivity testing, etc. I'd put some of the services in the 'outstanding' category on par with or superior to anything you can get in NYC.
- *Go to the classes.* You may think you've heard it all until you sit through one of Kirkland's talks. I have learned so much both in class and on the trail.
- Save up and make the commitment to go to MT. You are worth it!
From the moment you arrive to the day you leave, you receive one on one personal attention throughout your stay. Many of the guests during my week had been there several times already. The hikes were beautiful and a great workout, the food was great, even the laundry service was spectacularly. Hot tub, steam room, sauna, massages - they have thought of everything. Great job Mountain Trek. I’ll be back in the fall. My only regret was not booking a two week stay.
My husband and I went for two weeks to Mountain Trek at the end of August 2017. Our main goal in going was for the hiking in an attempt to improve our fitness. We both work out with a weight trainer on a regular basis and considered ourselves in reasonable shape. I wanted to lose about 5-7 lbs that I couldn't shake over the past 2 years. We have our own business and spend most of our time on computers or reading or traveling globally on business, but we never had the time we wanted for challenging exercise. So rather than another wonderful vacation at the beach or somewhere exotic we decided to try a fitness program in a beautiful part of North America we'd never been to before. This was our chance. We were not disappointed!
I will be honest and say it wasn't easy for us to get up at 6a.m. every morning. But we sometimes still fondly say to each other "It's 6 o'clock. Time to get up" which was the wake up "call" we got every morning along with a knock on the door from the guide for the day. Sunrise yoga was wonderful as we stretched and used muscles we didn't know we had. It was also a challenge and we love a challenge! The food was healthy and very attractive to me. My husband had a harder time as he grew up not eating a lot of vegetables in his diet and getting used to a large plate with lots of salad and small portion of protein was not easy. Sometimes he'd try to skip a meal but the staff would chase him down to make sure he ate. He hadn't aimed to lose weight as we didn't think at 162 lbs he needed to but at the end of the two weeks we both had lost 10 lbs!! We are feeling more energetic and youthful than we have in many years so I guess we didn't need those 10 lbs. And I have my figure back that I had when I was in my 30s. We loved the steam room and sauna facilities which along with the 3 massages a week kept us from getting stiff and sore with all the hiking. Your body is put to the test, then pampered and looked after. A great combination.
Two months later we are still appreciating the life changing experience we had at Mountain Trek. I didn't miss the caffeine while there but have added one cup of coffee a day back into my life since we returned home. I love wine and find I can live quite nicely having a glass 3-4 times a week rather than every night with dinner. I learned a lot about diet there too and now make much healthier meals with less red meat and more vegetables (yes I know the staff will be happy to read this:) But walking and exercise is still an important part of our week even if it's not in such beautiful mountain scenery.
Finally I have to mention the fantastic staff. Every one of them are dedicated to this lifestyle not just to their jobs. I found out that the guides go through the program when they are hired to make sure they understand just what the guests are experiencing. Of course the guides are very experienced hikers and some were park rangers or staff in their former careers. I would begin to mention names but there are so many that it would take a long time. But Kirk and Cathy are the main two managers and Kirk's son, Simon, is a trip! Kirk and Simon love to hike barefoot at least once a week on some of the less rocky trails. But honestly you feel like each one of them is a friend and part of your family by the time you leave. They also know so much about you and your diet, whether you have trouble sleeping or relaxing and also teach how to manage stress. The lectures are definitely worth attending and I learnt more in them than in any biology class I ever was enrolled in.
So will we go back? You bet. Even if we keep our weight where it is now we want to do those amazing and heart-rate level raising hikes in the mountains again and do them better than last time. There is always a new level challenge at Mountain Trek and it's the best money we ever spent on a vacation!! Without doubt! Thanks to you all there and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.