Start Simple

As I have mentioned, my main goal here at 118 Degrees West is to inspire people to get outside.  An adventure doesn’t always have to be a strenuous hike to the top of a mountain.  An adventure can be as simple as going for a walk along a nearby stream or river (see image below).  Often times when thinking about getting out for a hike or planning a weekend camping trip we can get overwhelmed.  It can seem like a lot of work if you start to worry about every little detail.  Where will we camp?  What trails should we hike?  Will it be busy?  What should we bring to eat?  As we ask ourselves all these questions planning a trip can become it’s own mountain to climb.

Recent Friday evening walk in Fish Creek park in Calgary. After a long work week the short drive and fresh air was most welcome.

The idea is to start simple and to get comfortable with the gear you will bring on a hike.  If you have new boots make sure to wear them around the house or on short walks in the park to get them broken in.  Maybe try wearing the gear you would wear on a hike to the gym for a workout.  How does it hold up once you get sweaty?  Does it wick away the sweat and dry quickly? Does the clothing bind up if you are in a deep squat or lunge?  This is a good way to figure out what will work and what won’t in more strenuous situations. This is also a good way to remove some of the planning effort with weekend adventures. If you know what gear you will use for an activity and you have tested it out ahead of time then that is one less thing to worry about. Quick side note, I always pack clothes to change into after a strenuous activity. A pair of cotton boxers, dry socks and a nice light cotton t-shirt can be almost as satisfying at the post activity refreshments… almost.

When choosing a hike I always recommend you start simple.  Pick up a local guide book, or utilize one of many available apps, and do one of the lower rated hikes if you are an inexperienced hiker.  If you find it too easy then step up to the next difficulty level but plan accordingly.  If you want to start with the most difficult hike right away make sure you consider the safety precautions, pack appropriately and leave a trip plan with someone who will notify the right people in the case of an emergency.  When leaving a trip plan with someone it is a good idea to specify a window of time when you expect to return and allow a buffer so that if a hike is longer than you expect you don’t end up with people out looking for your while you’re enjoying a well earned treat from the local coffee shop.

Happy trails,

Dave T

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