Opinion

Breaking outdoors

Most people make a New Year’s resolution whether it is to lose weight, study better or finally go for that promotion they have been nervous asking for. My resolution is to be more like Graham Hughes.

Graham is the man who has seemingly done it all now. He has travelled to every single country by foot, having to use water transport at times when necessary. He reached his final destination – home – late December of last year. The Odyssey Expedition started back in January of 2009, so needless to say, this took up quite a chunk of his spare time.

Not many people have that much time to devote to outdoor activities, but here are a few ideas that don’t take that much time at all.

Go on a short backpacking trip. My friend John and I (although he has done more) have backpacked several lengths of the Appalachian Trail together on weekends covering 40 miles at a time. This may not seem like much, but when you consider that you would probably just be sitting on the couch during that time otherwise, it seems like a much better idea, doesn’t it?

Go on a family/friends campout. Just go! If you are unfamiliar with your area, or want some new places to explore, check out www.recreation.gov. From there you can find wildlife preserves, campgrounds and beautiful picnic spots.

Check out your local state park. More often than not schools drag children there for nature walks. Then by the time they grow up they are state parked out. Go back to it by yourself, and walk the trails in silence. You’d be surprised at the transformation that can take place when there aren’t fifty screaming children running down the paths.

Being outdoors is fun, but it’s also beneficial to your health. Sunlight gives you vitamin D, the physical activity helps people relax and cheer up, and in some cases you’ll be able to concentrate better, or at least, those with ADHD problems (raising my hand).

Around JBU we have a beautiful walking/running trail to get out on. If you drive twenty-five minutes or so, you can get to several different lakes with hiking trails around them. Devil’s Den is not too far away with some rad caves, and there is always the Buffalo River for those who want to get out on a raft for the weekend.

One more reason to get outside may sound simple, but you wouldn’t think about it if you weren’t an avid outdoorsman or woman. If you live for the outdoors, then you will more than likely take better care of the outdoors.

My co-workers and I are planning a trip that will more than likely take a couple days for the sole purpose of cleaning up a natural area that has been littered with beer cans and food wrappers. I’m all for a nice time in the woods on the weekend, but make sure that you follow the Leave No Trace principal as well. Leave it cleaner than when you arrived!

Need more ideas/inspiration? Follow an outdoor writer on their blog, read National Geographic, join a local explorers club. Whatever you do, make sure to live it to the fullest.