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Photo of couple walking in woods from Roman Purtov on Unsplash.

Winter Gardens Offer Outdoor Opportunities for All

The outdoors have been a source of solace for many people in the Pacific Northwest throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re just looking for an excuse to get out of the house or want to meet friends or family in a safe environment, the many trails scattered throughout Washington state offer an opportunity to get some exercise in a peaceful setting.

In the winter months, traveling long distances or planning lengthy hikes can be a challenge for some, but local gardens can be an ideal compromise that get you outside and can accommodate most levels of physical activity.

In the article 18 Gardens to Wander in this Winter, the Washington Trails Association features gardens from around the state that offer beauty throughout the year. With little to no elevation gain and usually snow-free, they are also accessible for the whole family.

Looking for a longer hike to enjoy this winter? Check out the Washington Trails Association’s website, wta.org, which includes sections on Winter Destinations, recent trip reports by fellow hikers that you can filter by location, and much more to help you get outside and enjoy the outdoors.

Man looking at smart watch and holding smart phone.

ALLtech Motivates Members with Enhanced Fitness Tracking, Discounts and More

Need a little motivation to get started on your well-being journey? Just in time for the holidays, ALLtech is enhancing its Regence Empower* member rewards program with a new partnership that includes deep discounts on Fitbit products.

It’s easy to get started with Regence Empower: Just download the app and create an account, then you can start tracking your activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep while engaging in personal challenges and self-guided programs to support your goals. Make the most of the program by syncing your health and fitness apps so you can see all your data — including steps, calories, activity time and distance — in one convenient place.

In the market for a fitness tracking device? Fitbit is the newest addition to the Advantages member discount program, offering up to 30 percent savings on Fitbit devices, accessories and Premium membership.

Learn more about the Activities & Fitness discounts available to ALLtech members. Not an ALLtech member yet? Contact us to learn more about the health plan.

*For members of Asuris Northwest Health, a subsidiary of Regence BlueShield that services the Asotin, Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, and Whitman counties, please see the Asuris Motivate member rewards program flyer and accompanying information on how to sync your fitness device.

Video: 3 Trails to Get Away in Nature from ALLtech Trustee Ken Myer

Looking for an outdoor escape this fall? Ken Myer, the Trustee for ALLtech, teamed up with partners Regence BlueShield at the GeekWire Summit last month to share some tips in the above video to help attendees “get out, get away in nature.”

Especially with the new statewide COVID-19 restrictions that are giving some Washingtonians cabin fever, hitting the trails is a great way to get you out of the house safely.

“I just wanted to encourage all of you to consider getting out on our trails,” Myer says in the video. “It’s great for your mind and your body and fall is just a wonderful time to get out hiking.”

A few trails he recommends:

“Whatever trail you choose, I encourage you to get out, get away in nature,” Myer adds. “This is a wonderful time to explore our fantastic trail system.”

Looking for something closer to you? Myer recommends the Washington Trails Association to search for a hike and for important hiking safety tips.

Video: 3 Parks for Getting Out in Nature from ALLtech Trustee Ken Myer

As a sponsor of the GeekWire Summit from October 13-29, 2020, ALLtech Trustee Ken Myer took advantage of his time in front of the camera to share resources that truly embody the value ALLtech places on wellness.

“Getting out in nature, and hiking and walking, is just so good for the soul and for our physical condition,” he says in the video from ALLtech medical providers Regence BlueShield, also a sponsor of the GeekWire Summit. “We’ve got a beautiful place to do that, especially in the fall.”

If you’re looking to get out and enjoy the outdoors while avoiding some of the more crowded parks, Myer recommends three parks in the Puget Sound area:

“I encourage you all to take advantage of our wonderful trails,” Myer adds, “and if you need more information, check out the Washington Trails Association.”

Hiker standing in autumn forest photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Get Outside with Fall Hikes for Vibrant Color

Whether you are willing to travel far to enjoy autumn leaves or prefer to stay close to home, we have gathered a few ideas to help you get outdoors and enjoy the season with help from the Washington Trails Association, whose list of fall hikes includes:

  • Golden Hikes for Fall: “Autumn hiking is golden in more ways than one. Besides the leaves and larches burning brightly on alpine slopes, the shorter days mean you’ll catch more sunrises and sunsets.”
  • Late Fall Hikes for Vibrant Red: “Hyper-bright huckleberries and vibrant vine maples; fall is when the mountains of Washington shed their green reputation in favor of multi-color displays. Winter may be right around the corner, but there is still time to savor the flaming colors of the leaves.”

Before planning your trip, take heed in the WTA’s advice to pack the 10 essentials and check conditions before you head out, including their Hiking in the Time of Coronavirus page with updates on trail and facility closures, along with tips on how to #RecreateResponsibly. To find the area with the most color, you might also want to check the Fall Foliage Prediction Map.

And because we care about your wellness first, be sure to bring the doctor with you by registering in advance for telehealth, which is offered through MDLIVE for members enrolled in ALLtech.

Hikers at Discovery Park in Seattle.

Geeks on Trails Team Named Top Fundraisers for WTA Hike‑a‑Thon 2020

Geeks on Trails logoThroughout August 2020, the eight dedicated members of the Geeks on Trails team raised funds to help support the Washington Trails Association (WTA) in its annual Hike-a-Thon event.

Geeks on Trails, a team created jointly by GeekWire and ALLtech, is proud to announce that it has been named the top fundraising team for the second year in a row, raising a total of $8,575 to support Hike-a-Thon 2020.

“As a team, we believe that connecting with nature is critical to everyone’s mental and physical health,” says Geeks on Trails Captain Ken Myer, “and we know that supporting Washington Trails Association will help ensure they achieve their vision of  trails for everyone, forever.”

GeekWire and ALLtech, which offers health benefits through GeekWire’s membership program, would like to thank all of its donors for their contributions, including the following ALLtech partners:

  • Delta Dental of Washington, with a $2,500 donation
  • Regence BlueShield/Asuris Northwest Health, with a $1,000 donation
  • Wellspring EAP, with a $300 donation

This year’s Hike-a-Thon had the highest participation ever, with 743 hikers who raised a record $176,854 to support trails throughout Washington state – the highest total ever for the event.

The Washington Trails Association is a nonprofit that mobilizes hikers and everyone who loves the outdoors to explore, steward and champion trails and public lands.

If you missed your chance to donate during Hike-a-Thon, you can still give to help protect Washington trails at wta.org.