I like hiking and yet I don't always have it. I grew up watching TV and eating microwave meals. I had been raised by a mom who worked long hours to make sure I could wear warm clothes and our heat would be activated during the winter months.
Little did I know, we were living in one of the largest parts of the world to explore on foot, the Pacific Northwest. I didn't know it until today four years ago.
I decided I wanted to learn more about hiking and adventure. I looked around for a little insight into how someone like my – with zero outdoor experience, new to exercise, and the kind of girl you would go to get started.
I found tons of useful information, tons of not-so-useful information, and learned many lessons along the way. Most of the time I spent outside of wanting to set up a hiking group in my community focused on inclusion and respect for the body.
My area has no shortage of hiking groups for people who are already comfortable outdoors, fellow climbers, and even beginners who are already athletic in other arenas.
What I wanted to start with was a group of people like me and my friends: people with little or no training experience who needed some support to get started and build their confidence outside. And I did it!
1. Be safe and be prepared
The most important thing to know when starting out is to make sure you are safe. In this spirit, the main issues to be considered are:
- Having enough food and water.
- Knowing where you are going.
As for water, always Bring more than you need if there is no water source on the trail. Dehydration is not a joke and something that can be easily avoided by planning ahead.
Before you get started, read as much as you can about the trail online. Download maps, directions, and any applications you may need to navigate your journey before leaving home. Bring your smartphone fully charged because even if you are out of cellular range, your GPS will still work! And you can take some amazing photos!
2. Wear smart (doesn't mean fancy)
When I started, every time I looked at pictures of hiking people, they always had great fancy gear. Being young to the whole idea of the dumb, I thought it needed to be, that there must be something really special about these things, and I couldn't get out unless I had things that cost a lot of money.
This is not true! Over the years I've slowly accumulated the tool that works for me, some expensive, but I certainly didn't start with anything high end.
Remember that safety is number one, followed by comfort. Depending on your climate, you may only need a few essentials to be safe.
You can spend a lot of money on mattresses or you can make sure you don't wear cotton. It's really that simple. I usually wear a synthetic base layer (think long sleeved shirt), a bit thicker for a mid-layer and then a coat or outer layer that will keep me dry. Antenna.
3. Know that you belong
Although changing, the dominant image of outdoor farming is white, thin, cisgender, weak hikers.
Just because you do not see yourself being represented in external culture does not mean that you do not belong.
Many peoples are part of a movement that is changing the way diversity is represented in external culture. It may still be a while before you see someone like you represented in books and digital advertising. Don't let that stop you!
Know that you belong wherever you are. You belong to your body, you belong to the path and you deserve to be here.
4. Find the right people
In my experience that has led to group hikes over the last four years, I have heard numerous stories of people expressing their anxiety about hiking with others for fear of falling behind or feeling intimidated by the experience or level of fitness.
Hiking with people who are supportive and patient, interested in sticking with you or agreeing to convene regularly on the trail.
That being said, if you only enjoy time, do not avoid solo hiking. Spending your precious time traveling trying to keep up with people and losing the beauty of the journey is a big storm. I often spend alone with my puppy for this very reason. I love solitude and love being able to go at my own pace and stop and enjoy the scenery anytime I want.
5. Serving on earth
If you've ever been in the field of outdoor recreation, you've probably heard one of the most announced outdoor adventure directions: Leave no trace.
Let no trace be summarized in seven principles:
- Plan and prepare.
- Stay on trails and camp on sturdy surfaces.
- Pack your trash and pick up the rest of your trash.
- Leave everything as you find it.
- Watch out with the fire.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be careful of other visitors.
These seven principles are guidelines on how to respect the earth. I like to think of "serving" rather than respecting it because it helps me relate to the environment, such as living breathing.
I often believe that the earth is violated when we forget that the countryside is not an object to be consumed. He's really alive and constantly evolving and changing just like us. It responds to the conditions below.
If it is abused by wastes and meadows, it will get worse. If it is respected and leaves the way we find it, it will have more opportunities to bloom.
Another way I learn that it is important to respect the earth is by bringing awareness to the indigenous peoples who have lived and lived here for years. Before the white settlement, the land on which we currently live and look at our national forests or parks was a thriving and sustainable ecosystem in which indigenous peoples lived reciprocally on the land.
There is much more we can say about this, but for now, I would like to encourage you to learn about the history of the land you are in. Read and hear the stories of the indigenous peoples. Spend a few minutes on your hike imagining what the earth has been like for 200 years and what impact it has had on this precious permanent planet.
6. Do not rush and enjoy the journey
Although I often look for time in nature to calm my anxiety, I still forget to slow down and get everything done. This is one of my biggest lessons of all: there is no rush at the top.
Sometimes I come across my self-proclaimed gremlins when hiking, especially when I'm on a popular trail for a weekend and constantly crossing other hikers. It's not uncommon for me to meet hikers running on a mountain when I'm hanging out like a sweaty glass at spring break.
Even when my self-talk is not polite, the path is always kind to me. I try to use every step as an opportunity to make friends with whatever critique I can last.
At the end of a break, press and take as many breaths as you need. Look how far you come. You can literally look at your upside and see your progress in a very tangible way.
In our daily lives, our little worries and problems can feel so complete. Nature is always there to remind us how small we really are. No matter how important you think you are, you can look anywhere and see yourself smell from trees or rocks. Enjoy the magic of everyone.
The following smartphone apps can enhance your hiking experience:
- Avena Maps
- Parent land
- Google Maps
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