Hike to a Natural Retreat
It's worth it. After a day on the trail, food tastes better, air seems fresher, and the rustic bunks feel like beds at The Ritz-Carlton. "People always come up the hill with smiles on their faces," says volunteer staffer Mary Sproat.
Len Foote Hike Inn: www.hike-inn.com or 1-800-581-8032.
Volunteer and Stay for Free
Join the Friends of the Hike Inn volunteer program ($15 per year) to trade service for a free stay. Tasks include kitchen prep and cleanup, garden work, and housekeeping. An overnight stay for two adults, including breakfast and dinner, usually costs $140.
Help control your blood glucose levels with physical activity.
Improve your mood by getting outside. Research shows that being in natural settings reduces stress.
Open windows and a gentle breeze cool rooms--no need for AC.
Rainwater streams off the roof into barrels, where it's saved for watering plants.
A passive solar water heater on a south-facing roof warms water 20 to 30 degrees (propane gas does the rest). This reduces gas use by 60%.
Plenty of windows illuminate the common rooms with natural light.
Twenty-four photovoltaic solar panels supplement electricity supplied by the grid. In the summer, it saves about $300 per month.
Composting and vermiculture create rich plant fertilizer and reduce waste.
Energy-efficient radiant heat panels warm rooms with less power.