One thing you might not know about me: I was so scared to go out with my kids when they were young. I was scared to go hiking. I was scared to go to the lake or the river or any place I wasn’t sure about. What I did do was go to the park. Oh yeah, and I took my kids to the library. And while there is zero things wrong with going to those places, I wanted more. I wanted to go outside on actual adventures. Adventures where my kids got to play in the dirt and run and be free.
But I didn’t even know where those places would be or how I would get there. I told myself that my kids were too little and because they couldn’t go on hikes, I couldn’t go on hikes. In reality though, it was me. I was afraid. I had this fear that I wouldn’t know where to go and I wouldn’t know how to navigate those places. I was really unsure how to proceed and I didn’t know anyone that did. So I stayed in my comfort zone and went to the places in town I was used to. That is, I went to the park and the library.
As my kids grew, and as I matured as a mom, I realized more and more that I was meant to be doing. I was meant to be outdoors. And by default my kids just needed to be with me. So, without going into too much detail on how I got over these fears and who helped me along the way, I’d like to share some of my wisdom that I gained along the way.
1. Know the area before you go
I think one of the worst things, is not knowing where you are or how to navigate around. Now, I’m not talking about map and compass age-old technology. But there are several resources out there that not only tell you where to go and how to get there, but they help you along your trek as well. Such things include books (Idaho has MANY books that discuss our local area and beyond), and aps on your phone. Some of my favorites are AllTrails, Hiking Project, GoPaddling and The Outbound. These maps not only tell you where to go and what to do, but they give you recommendations on how to go about it!
2. Be prepared
Learning what you need to keep safe outdoors is pretty simple. Weather depending, a jacket, some sunscreen, mosquito repellant and then you are set! Use your common sense and just go have fun. I myself don’t prefer going out in the snow OR the rain. But you do YOU!
3. Beware of wildlife in the area
Out in the wilderness, you can see lots of things! Here in Idaho, we have a multitude of wildlife that can potentially be dangerous if we cross their paths. These animals include poisonous snakes, moose, mountain lions, wolves, deer or elk, and even bears! The more remote you go the more likely you are to see these animals but honestly, once you know how to handle yourself with each animal, the more likely you are to come out safe and sound. So before you go, do some research on what to take with you and how to behave around them.
4. Learn to relax
The one thing I do know about being in the outdoors is that you have to relax. The whole point of getting outside is to take it all in and relax. Don’t worry about going too fast. Enjoy the scenery and really try and leave the outside world behind. It’s not easy for everyone, but turn off that phone of yours and just be present in the moment. You won’t regret it.
5. When all else fails:
Bring a friend! It’s amazing how much more comfortable we can become when we have a friend with us .I found that just by having my kids to go places with that made me more comfortable. But it’s always better with a friend. And if you aren’t sure where to go and how to go about your next adventure, it’s always a plus to have someone navigate this new territory with you. Whether camping, hiking, paddling or snowshoeing, taking a friend always makes things feel more safe and of course a lot more fun!