Why choose outdoor adventures? If you are an enthusiast who enjoys being surrounded by the natural world, imagining what life must have been like for primitive man, or just want to experience Mother Nature at her wildest, then you don’t need someone else to answer that question. You already know!
Being outdoors can help you to appreciate the natural world without the adulteration of a television screen or even a window. You can get a taste of what life must have been like for our hunting and gathering forbears. You can even participate in some of Nature’s wildest and most exhilarating experiences. It can be an opportunity to reflect or a chance to challenge yourself and find out what you are really made of. But no matter what, taking outdoor adventures is not for the faint of heart and safety is paramount.
They say that life is about the journey, not the destination. When you are hiking, it is about both. Ultimately, you have a destination in mind as an excuse to take the journey. It is likely you will have a remote campsite or breathtaking vista as your destination, but that doesn’t mean that you will not find solitude, serenity, and beautiful scenery along the way. If you are planning a hike, there are a few things you should keep in mind to stay safe and make your hike more enjoyable:
- Have a plan. It is important to know where you are going, especially if you are in the wilderness as it can be easy to get lost.
- Let others know what you are up to. You should make sure someone else knows what route you are taking and when you should be back so that if something happens, they can send help. You can take a cell phone, but where you may not have reception where you are going (which is really the whole point of going there anyway, right?)
- Wear proper attire. The best advice is to wear layers. You can’t always tell what the weather will do. Layers will keep you warm if the weather is cool but can be removed if you begin to get too warm. Proper attire also includes sturdy comfortable footwear and a backpack.
- Take food and water. Hiking is hard work. Your body will need to be replenished if you want to make it back safely.
White water rafting is your chance to really see what you are made of. Mother Nature will challenge you with her raw, untamed power. But when accepting her challenge, it is important to take certain precautions.
- Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing. A bathing suit is a good choice. Anything you can get wet in is best. You should also make sure to have a set of dry clothes for changing into.
- Make sure you are wearing the right shoes. Flip-flops will be easily lost. You should have something that will stay on your feet.
- The guide should sit at the back of the boat. His job is to steer. He will use his paddle like a rudder.
- Make sure your boat is balanced. This involves placing people strategically based on weight and paddling ability.
- It is important to know navigation commands. White water rafting has a language of its own, such as “all forward,” “left back and right forward,” etc. Your guide will call out these commands to navigate and keep you safe, so you better know what he is telling you. It would be wise to consider attending guide school prior to your first trip to acquaint yourself with the commands.
Love the water, but don’t feel comfortable barreling down whitewater rapids? Consider sea kayaking instead!
Rock climbing is really about challenging yourself, and gives you a chance to truly test your strength, skill, and endurance. The payoff comes when you can look back to see just how far you’ve come. And the views are amazing, too!
But rock climbing is dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted without first taking rock climbing training classes. If you are going to do it, these rules will help to keep you safe:
- Practice using an indoor climbing wall. This will help you ensure proper technique and adequate upper and lower body strength.
- Redundancy is key. That means don’t just check, double-check everything. And back up all of your equipment! If you don’t have backup gear, consider equipment rental to supplement what you have on hand.
- Wear a helmet!
- Pay attention. Don’t try to use your cell phone or chat with anyone when you are belaying. Any distraction could mean your life or someone else’s.
Camping is the top vacation activity in the U.S. With camping the possibilities are endless. You can camp in campgrounds designed for just that purpose, state, and national parks, or your own backyard. And while camping can be an experience all by itself, it also provides the perfect accommodations for pursuing other outdoor adventures. If you want to go hiking or backpacking or spend the weekend horseback riding, camping is more practical and economical than seeking out a hotel.
If you are going to camp, there are a few things to keep in mind. While people think of wild animals like bears as a threat when you are camping, the most likely scenarios are often more mundane.
- Be prepared for the weather. If you are going to be in high altitudes wear layers as the weather can shift drastically. Also, make sure you have a poncho or some other form of waterproofing.
- Watch out for insects. When setting up camp be on the lookout for wasps’ nests, bee hives, and ant hills if you are in the south where fire ants are prevalent.
- If you’re going to build a fire, build it in a pit. A pit will help to keep the fire contained.
- Be on the lookout for poison ivy, oak, and sumac.
If you are traveling with seniors or small children and are worried about staying in a tent, but still want the outdoor experience, consider planning an RV trip. Many parks have sites or facilities to accommodate recreational vehicles.
Going The Distance For Your Outdoor Adventures
If you are an outdoor adventure enthusiast, you can usually find outdoor adventures in your own backyard, but seeing things you don’t get to see all the time is all part of the adventure. If you want outdoor adventures, consider national parks like the Grand Canyon, Yellow Stone, and Yosemite. Most national parks offer everything from hiking and whitewater rafting to horseback riding trails to camping. Check with individual parks to find out what specific activities each one has to offer.
There are so many activities to choose from, whether you are looking for a challenge or something the whole family can do. When planning your next vacation, plan for adventure, but make sure your plan includes safety and that your outdoor adventures can offer the experience of a lifetime.