Exploring New Trails: The Do's + Don'ts
October 08, 2014
Give familiar trails a break from your footprints + explore some new surroundings. But first, there are some things to consider:
Don't: Be a lone wolf
Do: Take a trail buddy
Take it easy Miss (Or Mr.) Independent — I'm all for one on one time with nature. But, going at it alone on a brand new trail can be dangerous if you are unfamiliar with the area. Talk (or bribe) a friend into exploring with you — I hear Swedish Fish are good bargaining material!
Don't: Just wing it. Don't go play Hansel & Gretel with breadcrumbs and expect to find your way back.
Do: Research your route
Researching the route online or studying the map at the trailhead before hand can minimize the ''Uh, I think we might be lost" moments. It's always good to have a game plan and know a ballpark estimate of the mileage so you can plan your fuel, gear and time accordingly.
Don't: Ignore the forecast, grab a jacket + go. Hey, it's sunny out right now, isn't it?
Do: Prepare for the weather
If you've ever experienced life at altitude, you know that the weather can change fast. Look up the weather for the day, and always be prepared for a sudden change. If the temps are going to be blistering hot — bring extra water. Rain? Bring your rain jacket. And, as always, keep an eye on those pesky clouds!
Don't: Assume all trails are the same
Do: Research the terrain
Sometimes you just aren't in the mood to play mountain goat, I get it. But, you don't really get a choice when you suddenly come across a big boulder field on a brand new trail. Do yourself a favor — Google it! Whether you prefer rocky & technical or smooth & rolling, be sure to know ahead of time what to expect. It may even impact your decision on which trail to take.
These basic do's and don'ts are things to consider when exploring new trails. However, plans go askew and things don't exactly turn out the way we want them too. You may get lost (I do), fall on your face (just make sure you pick the gravel out of your teeth) or end up completely rain-soaked in shorts and a tank top.
At the end of the day, just remember that although leaving the comfort zone of familiar trails may throw you for a loop, the views are always worth it.
Marissa Luceros is a native Colorado girl + self-proclaimed activity extraordinaire. Her heart's full of CrossFit, running + exploring the Rocky Mountains. Learn more on her site: Barefoot Colorado.
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