When planning my year, choosing how to spend my valuable OOO days is a decision I don’t take lightly. Recently, I’ve been yearning for an active, balanced, and indulgent escape—one that challenges me and revitalizes me for my return to reality. Mountain Trek, a luxurious hiking and wellness retreat in British Columbia, is the hidden gem I’ve been searching for.

Going into this experience, admittedly, I was nervous. A city-girl at heart, my fitness tracker and I burn just the right number of calories in a Beyonce-themed spin class to perfectly offset my mimosa brunch dates. I had never hiked before, let alone shopped for fashionable trail running shoes. But Mountain Trek blew me away in all the best ways. Here’s why:

Priya Kaliandasani

It gave me structure

Within hours of arrival, I was reminded of the pillars of balanced health: nutrition, sleep, detoxification, movement, mindfulness and nature. I was able to focus on the things that tend to end up on the backburner when dealing with day-to-day responsibilities. The days operated on the circadian clock and were a lather, rinse, repeat formula: a 3-4 hour hike each morning, lectures in the afternoon, and lots of time for self-care, movement and complete recharge.

I learned how to hike (and loved it)

From learning how to prevent blisters, fit a backpack properly and use poles while hiking, Mountain Trek guides made sure we were well-equipped and comfortable, no matter our level of experience. Daily hikes explored different terrain and scenery, and small guided groups were determined based on athletic ability, energy and comfort levels. Connecting with nature for hours every single day was rejuvenating and humbling. No WIFI, no problem.

Priya Kaliandasani

I ate incredible food

If food is your love language, Mountain Trek is your soulmate. Delicious, satisfying and healthy menus were created by a certified nutritionist daily, and meals were tailored to each guest’s food preferences, allergies and fitness goals. Three meals and snacks were provided each day, and farm-to-table, organic ingredients were abundant.

I experienced self-care at its finest

Evenings at Mountain Trek were like a self-care Choose Your Own Adventure book, where everyone lands on the same page: deep REM sleep. Outside of the three personalized massages included in the experience, we could partake in several nervous system-regulating activities to help us drift off to dreamland. Whether I was in the mood for an intense post-dinner HIIT class, a soothing crystal bowl sound bath, restorative yoga class, water circuit, or just wanted to chill by the outdoor fire pit, relaxation was always around the corner.

Priya Kaliandasani

I accomplished my goals

On day 1 and day 7, we had the option to have our weight and BMI measurements recorded. With the assistance of a fitness coach, I was able to establish realistic, healthy goals to keep myself motivated throughout the week. I lost 3 pounds over the course of the week and gained 2% muscle mass, which made me feel strong and satisfied. The team’s experts shared practical nutrition and health advice that I could easily incorporate into my day-to-day life, including how to balance my hormones, burn fat and reduce cellular inflammation.

I met new people

Our group of 16 included a mix of solo travellers, couples and friend groups—a handful of whom were Mountain Trek alumni. Representing Canada, the USA and Europe, everyone from C-Suite level executives to former Olympians shared personal stories, motivations and experiences with one another. The deep connections and relationships I developed are ones that I intend to maintain for years to come.