5 Lies you've been told about the Great Outdoors
"You want me to do something... Tell me I can't do it."
- Maya Angelou
1| You have to be fit to hike.
There's absolutely no requirement to be "in shape" before you start hiking. Not only are there all different levels of hiking trails out there, but you can also keep challenging yourself based on your own goals. Whether you're looking for a good workout burn, or you just need some quiet time, all you have to do is get out and go.
2| If you're "in shape", hiking is easy.
Just like you don't have to be fit to start hiking, being fit won't necessarily make you a good hiker either. I work out (mostly Crossfit) about four times a week and I still get wrecked on a challenging hike. Plus, I have friends who never work out, yet they manage to blast through challenging hikes like it's nothing. Everyone is different.
3| Camping is cheap.
I guess camping can be cheap... But the truth is, the older we get, the more comfortable we want to be on camping trips-- without taking away from the feel of "roughing it", of course. From sleeping pads to camp cookware to packs, it can definitely get expensive. Whether you're car camping or backpacking, there's always some kind of gear out there to enhance your outdoor experiences.
4| Women can't do it alone.
A few years ago, I read Cheryl Strayed's Wild. It's the tale of one very unprepared woman's 1,100 mile solo thru-hike along the PCT. As I was reading, I kept fearing for her-- What if she runs into a group of unsavory men? What if she hurts herself? What if she's not strong enough? What if, what if, what if...
Since reading Wild, I've met and read about other women who go on solo adventures all the time. While we definitely have to take precautions and prepare ourselves, there's nothing stopping us from having the best adventures of our lives! We can't live in fear.
5| Stay on the fire roads.
Up until a few years ago, I thought a hike was just a leisurely walk along a fire road like Runyon Canyon. Going off on other paths and trails seemed crazy to me. This only changed as I began to fall in love with the outdoors. Fire roads are fine, but the real adventures often start once you step away from them. Besides, with so many great guides and trail reviews today, it's easy to find maps and descriptions to navigate you through the less traveled trails.