Words by Laci McGee
The current situation sucks. There is no reason to sugar coat it. We are all in a bad way but things won’t stay like this forever. With this down time we can do things one of two ways. One, we can be lazy, we can binge and eat badly. A little bit of that may not be all bad but it should not be everything. Two, we can use this time to better ourselves and prep for when the world is open again. Here are some things you can do to be ready for that next adventure.
I know working out is on all the list of things to do while sheltering-in-place but it is probably the most important. Staying active keeps the mind sharp and the body in shape. There are tons of workout videos online and a lot of them are free right now. While your city is still allowing you to get out and go for a run around the neighborhood - do it. Take that lunchtime walk with your dog, partner, or kids. Or maybe go by yourself to get a moment of quiet. Make sure to get up and stretch during the day - maybe dare yourself to start a push-up challenge. Stay active or that next day hike might be tougher than it should be.
Depending on what your preferred outdoor activities are we all probably have a lot of gear. Now is the time to go through it; to organize, fix, and find out what can be gotten rid of - maybe given to someone else. Check your hydro-packs, how are those o-rings looking? Make sure there is no rust on your camp stoves from those camping trips where it sat out and was covered in dew the next morning. Are the first-aid kits full or do you need to replace something? Even something as simple as ensuring that all your flashlights have good batteries is a good plan. Do you have old gear? Donate it if it is still in good shape, there is always someone who needs it - maybe to that person that is just getting started.
After going through all of your current equipment you may realize that there are some things that you need or things that need to be replaced. If you are in a position to buy them this is the time to do so. Many small outdoor companies need the support and are running sales or are offering free shipping. My fiance and I only had one set of trekking poles and so I took advantage of Hiker Hunger’s sale and bought myself my own set. Again, this option may not be for everyone but is a way to get good gear at a price that won’t break the bank.
This pandemic will end and we will all want to go outside. When it does end, have the trip planned that you want. Plan a year in advance if you have to to create the adventure you need: the right trails, the right camping spots, the best places to watch the sunrise. Make your dreams a reality. Now is the time to research, to read up on all those unknown things about the places you have always wanted to go. It may be difficult to book right now but do it if you can. Let those businesses know that you support them - from state parks to b&b’s. Look to the future.
Please feel free to post any comments or questions below. We would love to know where you plan to travel once the world is open once more. Until then, stay safe and thank you to those on the front lines.
To read more from Laci McGee, visit her blog - McGeeTravelTales.com
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Hiking in winter offered me the feeling of being truly alone without feeling lonely: a feeling a lot of people can identify with right now.
Seasonal depression is real and practicing self-care is important now more than ever. Going on a hike in the winter is a great way to get endorphins flowing and get out of the house. Not to mention there’s no bugs, no crowds, and more views on trail; don’t let the winter scare you away, rather, embrace it and have a good story to tell.
Covering those four miles an hour seemed like a distant dream. I moved at a pace dictated by the desert. The quicker you moved, the more you slipped about. It could be agonizing. This was a discomfort unique to the desert, one that I knew well from previous sandy sojourns in the Mojave and White Sands. My twisted mind invited the discomfort in. Let’s tango, desert.
My pack was stocked to survive three days in the backcountry. Though there were a good amount of clouds in the sky, the sun somehow found a way to shine through. And my skin found a way to chafe in the only place the sun don’t shine. My feet felt the burning heat from the sand through my lightweight trail runners. My calves punished me for subjecting them to such a rigorous sandy workout.