- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) - There’s nothing unusual about proud hotel owners such as Jeff and Patty Baird getting excited about showing visitors around. But what’s unusual about this couple is their excitement is as much, if not more, about hiking the trails in the surrounding Sierra Nevada than the luxury property they built together in 2006.

“You just sort of show up, we’ll show you the way,” Cedar House co-owner Patty Baird, said not long after the couple insisted a visitor joining them for a hike use a set of trekking poles from their gear stash.

Jeff Baird, 68, described the goal of the couple, first time hotel owners, as an attempt to share what they love about mountains with as many people as possible. Not only does Cedar House employ a desk clerk who is also author of a published guidebook and a restaurant server who is an avid rock climber, they stock up on ultra-light hiking gear so there’s no excuse for guests to lounge too long in their rooms.

“We’ll put them on the trail with the best equipment, with the best GPS tracking, so they can’t get lost,” said Jeff Baird, who was a contractor before building and opening the hotel with his wife.

The two also know quite a bit about traveling by foot, they’ve recently traveled to Peru and Japan for trekking adventures and hike as much as 300 miles per month around the Sierra Nevada, depending on the season.

With summer, prime hiking season in the area, right around the corner, they’re hoping their experience on the trail and guiding from the hotel can help other people be ready to push themselves.

Not surprisingly, much of the advice from the seasoned couple is about preparing before a hike in order to have as much fun as possible when the time comes to explore.

One of the aspects of hiking or trekking they emphasized is that, unlike lots of sports, nearly anyone can do it without much money, long distance travel or expertise.

“We can’t all climb Mt. Everest,” Patty Baird said. “But I do think a lot of a lot of us like to challenge ourselves and trekking is an attainable challenge.”

She says preparation starts with getting body. More specifically she tells prospective guests planning to visit to Cedar House, especially if the plan includes a guided hike, to be ready.

“We do try to prep them in advance, by walking,” she said. “Just to build up your mileage, build up your endurance.”

She said a good first step is to get into a routine that includes not only intense walking but some hill climbs as well. Gradually push the distance and intensity to the level it will take to comfortably join a long day hike.

“If you are going to do it you can’t expect to feel good if you just got off the couch,” she said. “You need to stress the body a little bit, the whole leisurely stroll is not going to get it done.”

Jeff Baird had his own list of hiking preparations for people, in addition to his wife’s conditioning advice.

“The biggest bulk of people can walk and they can build themselves up from zero to almost anything we can do around here in a very short time,” he said.

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