Here are eight tips and tricks of adventuring in 2018.
DON’T: Assume phone GPS is “good enough” to get you to your destination and back again.
DO: Learn to read a map! Map-reading and navigation are worthwhile and fun skills to learn for any level of adventuring. Get a group together and join a local nav race, sign up for an orienteering class, or ask an experienced family member, friend, or your local outdoor guru to teach you.
DON’T: Forget your 10 Essentials.
DO: Bring more water than you think you might need (especially during summertime adventures), pack a solid first-aid kit, and brainstorm contingency plans should you need one.
DON’T: Ignore trail or area closures.
DO: Stay on designated trails! Research trail conditions and access ahead of time and come prepared with a back-up plan. That way, if an outdoor area you want to visit is closed for rehabilitation, animal migration, fire danger, or any other reason, you can merrily move on to the next adventure on your list.
DON’T: Assume everyone loves your dog as much as you do, and wants to encounter it off-leash while on-trail.
DO: Be mindful of your fellow trail-users who might have allergies or other reasons. Follow local and regional leash-laws, be mindful of where your dog is going — especially while in fragile ecosystems —and keep your dog on-leash at all times on busy trails.
DON’T: Put yourself (or anyone else!) in danger to get an epic Instagram shot.
DO: Tread lightly, play wisely, and consider posting your photos without geotags to keep fragile ecosystems and creatures from becoming critically endangered.
DON’T: Leave noticeable footprints, both metaphorically and physically.
DO: Leave No Trace. Instead of picking wildflower bouquets, collecting rocks, or building cosmetic cairns for photo ops, leave as light a footprint as possible, pack out anything you brought in alongside any rogue trash you stumble upon, and leave everything natural exactly where and how you found it. If a trail is exceptionally muddy? Don’t bike it, and consider taking an alternate route even if you’re on foot. A friendly reminder to dog-owners: Pets aren’t naturally occurring creatures in any ecosystem. Remember to pick up after them as if they’re a member of your trail crew. (Can you say you’re truly leaving no trace when your dog is off-leash?)
DON’T: Get stuck in an adventuring rut.
DO: Enjoy the smallest moments outside alongside the biggest ones. Sign up for and/or create a local clean-up party. Go somewhere you’ve never heard of. Seek out the less Instagrammed places (and ditch those geotags!). Plan a trip based on a dream destination instead of where everyone else seems to be going. Creep outside your comfort zone and spend time reveling in everything our public lands have to offer.
DON’T: Forget the lands on which we recreate need to be protected and enjoyed responsibly.
DO: Keep it wild, give back to the lands you love, and keep thinking of interesting and kind ways to encourage anyone you meet and everyone you’re traveling with to do the same.
Narrator: This blog was thoughtfully written by Kerri Anne Stebbins. You can find her on Instagram @kerri_anne.