Boots on the ground is a term I hear the Sheriff use a lot when talking about solving crimes, rounding up criminals, etc.
Maybe you are whiny, sulky or a flat out complainer but you want to get moving, want to make a hiker out of yourself or just get some fresh air, you can do it! I know you can do it because that’s the very reason this whiny hiker got started and if I can do it, anybody can!
Just for the heck of it, I’ll throw out some tired old cliches like “you are you’re own worst enemy”, “the best time to start is now”, or the time honored, “where there’s a will there’s a way”. Blah blah blah. We know all these things and yes I agree with them for the most part. Yes I am always going to be my own worst enemy. That’s a given. And yes living in the present is everso trendy. And You definitely have to have a willingness to make changes. But how do I match my body with my brain to make my feet hit the trail? The answer is not a pair of pricey boots or to strap into an oversized pack but just some simple things that might get you motivated. Here are some pointers that might help get you started.
1. Research hiking. So just google hiking? No jump on social media and find hiking groups, other hikers, hiking challenges, look at apps etc. The Sheriff and I are big fans of the 52 Hike Challenge. Check them out! There are a lot of personal accounts and individual experiences shared by the hiking community. We, hikers-even us whiners-like to tell our stories of braving the wilderness or backcountry, talk about the pros and cons of a particular trail and we love to post pictures of ourselves “on the trail”! So there is a lot of information out there to be had.
2. Go Shopping. Part 1. This should be number one because it’s my favorite. Find an outfitter, outdoor store, cooperative or speciality store. Skip the big box stores for now. Take a look at the beautiful items that the famous outdoorsy brands have to offer. A purchase is not even necessary-yet. Some of these brands are pretty pricey but just go, look and imagine yourself in those cute boots or that new pullover, even that really expensive sherpa. It might help with your motivation, you never know.
3. Go shopping part 2. Now go to the big box store or get online. Find stuff is cheaper and off brands are sometimes just as durable and reliable as the pricier brands. Get yourself a few starter items to take on the trail with you. Get what you think you’ll like! You want to know that you’re going to like the activity and the items before you delve into the pricier brands’ inventories. See my post about what to take with you on your first hike if you need some ideas of what to grab.
4. Find a trail fit for you, your abilities and your hiking partner or group. Get a map, get an app, drive around, talk to a hiker and find a short easy hike that’s just for you. You don’t have to scale 14,000 feet the first hike or any hike to be a hiker. You don’t have to hike the entire Appalachian Trail on your first outing. Save that for your second hike. Find a hike that’s local, about a mile or two long. I like a good flat hike to start out myself. As long as you are outside and you are moving, you’re a hiker!
5. Start a hiking journal. Track your progress. You’re making strides so keep up with your success. Write down what you liked or disliked about your experience, the trail, your gear, your hiking partner etc.
So now that you have completed these steps, you’re an old pro. You probably even have a trail nickname by now. Good job! Keep at it, keep moving.
Share your progress! Share the fun! Let me know some of
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