Now I’m rapidly becoming an old lady whose children have their own activities I get to ramble all I want — but this time, I’m doing it with a little more purpose following some basic rules.
- Prepare. Every weekend is a “destination hike.” I pick a new location I want to check out and prepare for that particular location. You always need water and dry socks. Some hikes are paved trails great for running shoes and some are root-bound climbs for hiking boots.
- Spend time not money. Whenever possible, I plan to spend zero so I don’t have to budget a hike. I bring extra water, snacks, and in addition to the gear in my bag, I have dry clean clothes in the car. Unless you need to kick into a kitty for a privately maintained property, most town and state parks should allow you to do your thing for free.
- Take only pictures. My apartment doesn’t need more branches, skulls, leaves or pretty rocks.
- Bring someone new. I know the trails will be safer for women when “outdoorsy” looks like someone who doesn’t appear in an LLBean catalog. And before you pick a fight, I don’t think I have to defend the rights of white men to be outdoors. They’re already encouraged to be out there. Let’s encourage everyone else to come out too. (OK, now discuss.)
I can happily cover miles with these four rules and sleep at night, happy and exhausted. What you won’t see me arguing about is how much money I can spend on gear and how fast a pace I need to keep. This isn’t a competition. This is about figuring out how far I can go, and the only thing I want to beat are my own expectations.