thoughts in getting outside

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Confession time: I hate the term adventuring. Just, ugh, that’s a noun – not a verb! It is only ever used to imply that time outside that is grand, unique and big is only time that counts. And frankly, that’s a heaping load.

I hiked quite a bit during our Great Smoky Mountains trip and I loved (almost) every minute of it. We didn’t summit Chimmey Tops but hiked most of the way, as well as Clingman’s Dome to Mt. Bucky, most of Cade’s Cove and several quiet walkways. While the quiet walkways are not well signed (unlike everything else in the park!), they might have been one of my favorite parts of our hiking. They are not as well used or well maintained but they are really quiet and peaceful. If you go – check out one or two!

On another note, I do have some thoughts about serious day hiking while pregnant. M did carry the bigger bag with our camera, the big backpacking first aid kit, trail lunch stuff and snacks as well as the majority of our water. But good practices mean that you never go out without some gear for yourself, so I carried my Flash 18 with a liter of water, raincoat, hat and a smaller first aid kit. Do not fasten the waist belt but don’t go out without water. Pack in your TP and pack it out (don’t be those people…pack it out!) Be OK with taking it slower than you normally do – especially at altitude.

I walk outside, on a greenway path, for just 30 minutes a day – nearly every day. I’ve watched the trees change from vibrant jewel tones, to bare and 15 shades of brown and gray and then spring back to life. I’ve heard the bird song change, quiet and swell again as the season change. I’ve even gotten better at identifying some birds – including a blue heron and hairy woodpecker, just steps from home. No, it isn’t climbing mountains but there is more to enjoying (and protecting) our nature world that bagging peaks.

One of my good girlfriends says that one of the secrets of parenthood is ‘when everything is awful, go outside’. And I suspect she’s right there. But I think it might be one the keys of personhood too – when everything is awful, GO OUTSIDE. When you’re mindlessly scrolling thru Facebook or Instagram, GO OUTSIDE. Maybe even leave your camera phone at home (I do this on my walks and it drives M bananas) – no one needs to see pictures of the birds you’ve spotted or sights you’ve seen for that time to be a balm for the soul.

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