There’s something about a new year that causes me to go back and reflect on the past.
I’ve done a lot of dumb things in the outdoors and most are related to complacency, or arrogance.
Here’s where I confess and tell you a few of the mistakes that I’ve made along the way, especially when I was pushing it really hard last summer to try to hike every day for 100 days.
I’m sharing this list for two reasons.
- So you know that we’re human around here and that we make mistakes (is anyone else sick of reading blogs where everyone is oh so perfect?).
- Because we all learn from making mistakes and reading the mistakes of others.
Here are a few of the mistakes that I’ve made recently in the outdoors.
1. I got a group hike that I was leading lost. We got busy chit chatting, took a wrong turn and hiked an extra 5 miles. We turned an 8 mile day into a 13 mile day. It was embarrassing, and dumb, especially because my Trail Deck was right in my pocket. I thought I knew the trail network-I didn’t. Thankfully everyone had enough food and water and thankfully the friends that I got lost still hike with me. I’ll never make that mistake again though. Just thinking about it makes me feel like a total jerk.
The Fix: Now I spend a few minutes at home looking over maps before I lead a group hike even if I think I know where I’m going.
2. Not checking in with Al before and after a hike. Before Al started law school this was easy but with his new schedule not so much. Last fall hiking got so routine for us that at one point I got really lazy about sending a text to let Al know when I was leaving, where I was going and when I expected to return. I got complacent with my planning and communicating, not a good thing for a anyone–let alone a Mom who frequently drags two children into the wilderness alone.
The Fix: Now I schedule my hikes on our digital shared calendar so when Al is at school he can just pull up his i-phone and know where I am and when I’ll be home. I make it a point to text or call if we have a quick location or time change. I also make sure he can stalk me on endomondo and I take his SPOT sometimes too.
3. Not packing an essential item. On one hike last summer it was blazing hot when I pulled into sunny trailhead about an hour from our house. As I was pulling children out of car seats realized that I had left sunscreen and our hats at home.
I knew that there was little sun protection on the trail we planned to hike.
I knew that I didn’t want to drive all the way home without a hike, but I also knew that my kids would turn into a crabby sunburned mess if we hiked at that location.
So, I modified our plans and drove to a different trailhead where I knew we could hike through the shade and we didn’t hike as long as planned. I’m usually good about keeping our daypacks packed and ready to go, but it’s easy to take an item out, leave it somewhere (like on the kitchen counter) and forget to replace it.
The Fix: Even if I don’t think I need to I go over our packing checklist before every hike and double check the contents of my daypack. I also store our gear like this so it’s easy to pack and repack. It’s better to spend the 2-3 minutes of prep at home than to drive to a trailhead and not be able to hike.
4. Not keeping my hair out of reach of my 1 year old when he’s in the backpack carrier. Okay, so this one is silly but oh so true!
What mistakes have you made in the outdoors?