We’re in the middle of the January doldrums here in the Pacific northwest. The Christmas season is over, the foot of snow we got in December has melted, and we’re now being hit by a relentless series of rainstorms. I’m sure I’m not alone in dreaming about warm, sunny days on trail.
Something I’ve been thinking about so far this January is how to get out and hike more. I thought I’d share some of my ideas and inspirations, knowing that there are others who have similar ambitions and yet challenges with the execution.
Find a variety of partners or a hiking group
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a partner who is as ambitious to hike regularly. Share your hiking tales with everyone you know and start building up a little black book of friends who express interest in joining you. There are also many hiking groups out there, often found through sites like MeetUp or Facebook (Girls Who Hike is a great Facebook community example!) REI can also help connect you with group hikes, as can many local trail organizations. A Google search of “hike community” or “trail association” may bring up some resources in your community.
A foggy morning along the Northern California coastline.
Gear up and go out in any weather
Don’t let a drizzly day keep you from getting out! Keep a list of cloudy and rainy day hikes. Think forest walks, valley wanders or seaside strolls. Even a familiar hike can feel completely different on a grey day. Just be sure to wear layers, have a good raincoat and of course to pack along the 10 Essentials.
Challenge yourself to get out every week, no matter the conditions!
Join a challenge to keep yourself going
While hiking is certainly a very personal activity, there are some who have figured out ways to make it a bit more competitive. The 52 Hike Challenge is a great example of this! It’s a global movement hoping to inspire and connect people to get out for a hike a week. Another great example I’ve seen is SoCal Hiker’s Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge. I really love the idea of this and encourage you to develop your own Six-Pack of Peaks challenge in your local area!
Urban hikes count too!
Have a look around your neighbourhood. Are there any city or county parks nearby? Even 30 to 60 minutes wandering in an urban park can make you feel better. Once I really started paying attention, I realised that there are nearly a dozen parks with great walking trails within about a 20-minute drive. Pull up Google Maps and have a look, or check the Parks & Rec listings on your city and county websites.
ChatSelfie from this week’s #ParkChat on Twitter
Connect and get inspired
Sometimes we just can’t make it out to the trails. For those in-between times, find ways to connect with other hikers. For the past few months I’ve been participating semi-regularly in #ParkChat, a Twitter discussion every Wednesday evening about our National Parks. Or on Fridays you can join #HikerChat, the biggest outdoor chat on Twitter. If you’re more visually inspired, then wander through some Instagram or Flickr hashtags, like #optoutside or #hike.
Whatever your inspiration and however you manage, what matters is that you get outside. Challenge your mental self and get out on a rainy day, or opt for an urban solo wander through a nearby park. As REI has been telling us for the past year, #OptOutside and you’ll feel better!
Please feel free to share in the comments below what inspires you to get out and hike more regularly.