Just this year, I've been trying to find new ways to be outside and stay active so my boyfriend Jim and I began hiking. Though we have aspirations to become 46ers (climb all 46 of the Adirondack high peaks), we're just not at that level. If you're like us, just starting out, here are two great places to go hiking and you don't even have to drive very far north.

Plotter Kill Preserve is just a quick drive through Schenectady to Rotterdam on Route 159. The trail itself is pretty easy, I just wore regular sneakers- didn't even have hiking boots yet. The best part about this place is that it's a beautiful stroll through a hidden area in the Capital Region. Most of it is flat as you follow the trails, so if you're looking for a beautiful picture on the summit, you're not going to get it here. What you do get, though, are great views of huge waterfalls which are a great break if you're hiking in the strong heat wave we've been having.

My second favorite hidden hiking gem is the Christman Sanctuary Trail in Delanson, New York. Again, it's a pretty easy 2.2-mile trail with some great picturesque moments. I have to admit, I got lost briefly following these trail markers but it's not hard to find the trail again since it's not that big. Like Plotter Kill, the beauty on this trail are the various waterfalls. It's strange living in Schenectady proper, driving only a short distance away from that and not even realizing this beautiful nature is basically around the corner.

The best part of these trails is that you don't have to be an expert hiker but still can experience the beauty of nature and step away from technology for a bit. If you're looking for a quick trip and something you can finish in a few hours, I recommend these two. Sure, there's no summit but the waterfalls are just as amazing!

This is the second post in a weekly series we’re calling ‘Fresh and Healthy’ a series about living well in the Capital Region. You will be able to find a new story about everything from staying active, to great food, to outdoor activities and more every Thursday morning.

‘Fresh and Healthy’ is sponsored by Ellis Medicine. Every week on Thursday mornings, visit their Facebook page to find their companion post to this series to get more information on the best ways to stay healthy from the experts.