Are you the one who decides where to hike and plans the details? If not, read on….
I’ve just returned from a weekend program called Becoming an Outdoor Woman in New Mexico where I’ve had the privilege of being one of many wonderful instructors for nearly twenty years. The program offers a number of subjects at an entry level designed for women who might not have had the opportunity to learn elsewhere.
My contribution the past two years has been “Hike Like a Girl”, an introduction to day hiking which doesn’t involve simply following someone else! To my astonishment, several other instructors sat in on my classes this year, admitting that although they spend a great deal of time outdoors they were seldom the ones who led the hiking and felt a little insecure about some of their skills.
In the workshop, we talk about planning, read some maps, try on different styles of day packs to check for fit (and a big backpack, just for fun), discuss footwear options and imagine various emergency items that might prove handy at some time.
Afterward, we make use of a “trail” on the property (which more resembles a faint game trail through the woods than a typical park or USFS trail) and take turns being “in charge”. Since the route is unmarked, we must use a topographic map and more subtle clues to stay on track. Oh, and I can’t help but throw in a few red herrings to test everyone!
We pack all this into a four-hour session to meet the format of the BOW program, but it would be even better if we had more time. There are always more great questions asked than I have time to adequately answer. But it’s a good start and we have lots of fun.
When we guide folks through Outspire, all the details of planning, emergency gear, monitoring route and how we’re all doing as we hike are taken care of by the guide–it’s often invisible to guests how much can go into a hike. But when you don’t have a guide, these are the sort of skills everyone should exercise each time you go out in the outdoors.
If you’re interested in a workshop like this for yourself or family so that you can be more prepared, safe and comfortable in the outdoors, give us a call. Getting outdoors is great and we’d be glad to help you learn how to do it!