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How To Become An Adventurer This Year


As the spring adventure season approaches, seasoned adventurers prepare for their weekend expeditions; meanwhile, those who don’t consider themselves “adventurers” simply watch.

Many people feel nervous or intimidated by the prospect of becoming an “adventurer”. They see the equipment and knowledge that many seasoned adventurers possess; they assume that they have to spend tons of money and hire veteran guides in order to even dabble in the adventures that peak their interest.

We have good news: to become an adventurer, all you need is an adventurous attitude. You don’t need to spend tons of money on crazy equipment just to try out a new adventure (though you can later, once you’re a seasoned adventurer yourself). All you need is a little research and some practice to go along with that attitude, and you’ll consider yourself an adventurer in no time.

Hiking

If you’ve never hiked before, but want to become a seasoned hiker, you’re in luck. This is one of the easiest adventures to jump into, no matter your age or level of experience. Here’s how to start:

1. Start Walking
Since hiking is basically walking in nature, start your endeavor into hiking by enhancing your walking skills. Walk as much as you can to build up your leg muscles and your endurance levels.

This is the time to take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from the front door, and take breaks from your desk job. The more you walk, the more prepared you’ll be for hiking; the more prepared your endurance levels are, the more you’ll enjoy the hike.

2. Pick Your Scenery
For many, the best part about hiking is the scenery you walk through while hiking. Pick your scenery based on the type of nature you enjoy or have access to.

To begin, start with flat landscapes. Walk through dense forest or through open meadows. By practicing on flat landscapes, you’ll be able to assess your own hiking abilities in order to prepare yourself for a higher degree of difficulty.

3. Quality Shoes
Before you start to hike up steeper inclines for a longer duration, invest in some quality hiking boots or shoes. Again, these don’t have to cost a ton. You can find quality boots at a discount prices through Columbia Sportswear or Backcountry.

Look for shoes that are water resistant with grippy soles. That way, you can step in the accidental puddle and it won’t ruin your day. You may want to buy insoles if you find that your feet hurt after a few hikes as well.

4. Low-Capacity Backpack
Once you start to go on longer hikes, you’ll need something to carry snacks, water, and a light jacket. You can find 10- to 20-liter day packs at any outdoor store, secondhand sports store, or online.

Some things to consider when purchasing a pack: water bottle pocket(s), pockets for phones and wallets, and water resistant exterior.

5. Select Your Difficulty Level
Certain hikes require more physical exertion than others. In order to summit a Rocky Mountain 14er, you’ll need to push your stamina to its limit, while hiking through a nice wooded forest patch in California may not require as much strain.

When researching difficulty, pay attention to elevation change, incline/decline grade level, and trail type. Select the difficulty level that’s right for you, and work toward more difficult hikes as you become more comfortable with the process.

6. Find Your Niche
Once you start to feel comfortable as a hiker, begin to find the intricacies of hiking that most appeal to you so you can base your hikes around those. If you enjoy heart-pumping exercise, find steep incline hikes with quality trails for trail running. If you’re interested in photography, find hikes that will provide you with landscapes perfect for photographs.

When you find the types of hikes that you’re interested in, you’ll find yourself exploring areas of your state that you never would have explored before. This is when you know you’re a seasoned, veteran hiker.

Once you become a proficient hiker, you’ll find yourself craving new destinations and varieties of difficulty levels. Hiking can be peaceful, exhausting, and bonding. Enjoy this adventure.

Backpacking

This is a natural progression after hiking. Backpacking consists of multiple days of consistent trekking with stints of camping in between. It’s basically a really long hike with pit stops to sleep.

The fun of backpacking comes with the name: everything you need must fit in your backpack. That’s how you can view some of the world’s most untouched landscapes. Here’s how to start:

1. Short Day Hikes With Weighted Backpack
Before you set off on your first backpacking journey, it’s important to work towards it, both physically and mentally. When you go on regular day hikes, you may carry a small pack with snacks and a water bottle; however, hiking with all of your worldly possessions on your shoulders is a totally different matter.

Physically, prepare yourself by going on short day hikes with a weighted backpack. This will prepare your body for the task of walking through the elements with a weighted pack, something that your body is probably not used to.

2. Acquire A Backpacking Pack
Aside from shoes, your backpack is the most important piece of gear you’ll need to enjoy your backpacking adventure. Many packs cost a few hundred dollars, but you don’t need to pay that much if you're just starting out.

Find an internal frame pack that’s above 50 liters in capacity. This will give you space to carry your share of equipment. Get your pack at a second-hand sports store, or find last season’s packs at outdoor store sales. Make sure it’s comfortable, spacious, and lightweight.

3. Practice Your Camp Setup
You’d hate to walk 12 miles into the middle of the forest, only to find out that your tent is missing its poles. Be sure to set up your tent and camping gear in your backyard or a park before you leave, just to make sure it all works.

This will also allow you to practice being efficient, which comes in handy for longer trips. Once you practice this a few times, you may discover certain strategies about how and where to pack it in your backpack.

4. Long Day Hike With All Gear
Before you leave on your first backpacking adventure, pack up all of your gear into your pack and go for a long day hike with it. This will tell you one of two things: your pack is set up well and you can handle a multi-day trek with it, or it’s too heavy and you need to reduce the weight.

This will also allow you to configure smaller details about your journey, like shoulder strap length, clothing to wear underneath your pack, and where to keep quick-access items.

5. Pick Your Crew And Your First Area
Backpacking is about enjoyment, so pick your adventure crew wisely. Make sure you have people with you who have backpacked before, or who have ample outdoor experience, especially if it’s your first go.

Then, select the area that you want to adventure through. Selecting a backpacking area is different than selecting a hiking spot because you're trekking through it for multiple days, rather than just targeting an end point. What scenery would you like to see all day long? How difficult is the terrain? What’s the weather like this time of year?

6. Plan Your Route Carefully
By planning your route, you’ll know exactly where you need to stop each night in order to arrive safely at your end point. You’ll also know exactly how much food and water to bring.

Planning also includes anticipating the worst. Research the area and know what to look for in case you get lost. Give your route plans to someone who isn’t going with you, just in case you’re gone for longer than you expect.

7. Enjoy The Journey
This is the most important part. You’re out in the middle of untouched wilderness because you want to enjoy it.

Don’t worry about what’s going on at home or at work because you’re not there. Enjoy the process, the difficulties, and the successes of the journey so that you can come back and do it again.

Backpacking will lead you into uncharted territory and it will fulfill your inner explorer. Enjoy this active method of reconnecting with nature.

Fishing

The act of fishing can seem intimidating at first. So many people take fishing very seriously; some can make you feel lesser for not knowing the difference between types of fish or types of lures.

That’s not what we’re about. If you want to get into fishing, just do it (thanks, Nike). Grab some fishing gear and go by yourself to practice in a low-key atmosphere, or find the neighborhood senior fishing veteran and have that person show you a thing or two.

When you decide to explore the adventures that fishing offers, we recommend starting with the standard reel rod before jumping into fly fishing. Just follow these steps to get you going:

1. Buy A Fishing License
Each state requires an annual license for all people who want to fish. It doesn't matter if you catch any fish or not; if you're by the water with a fishing pole, you'll need a license.

Luckily, acquiring a fishing license takes about five minutes and a few dollars. You can purchase a fishing license at any outdoor retail store for a small fee; the fee is well worth avoiding a ticket.

2. Acquire A Fishing Pole
Bottom line: you can’t fish without a fishing pole. Find a regular spinning reel-type rod to begin your adventure into fishing.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money; a simple rod from an outdoor store will do, as will an old rod from grandpa. All you’ll need is something that works.

3. Acquire Lures, Bait, and Net
Next, you need your gear. At an outdoor store, you can find some inexpensive lures and/or live bait hooks. Once you have these pieces, tie your lure or hook onto the end of your fishing line and you’re ready to go.

We also recommend acquiring a fishing net. For those who are new to the sport and for fishing veterans, a fishing net is the easiest way to wrangle a fish once you’ve made your catch.

4. Find The Nearest Lake Or River
Find an open lake or river nearby, preferably one without a lot of trees or potential snags around. Here, you’ll be able to practice the fishing process without worrying about what to do once you actually catch a fish.

This body of water doesn’t have to have fish in it. Think of this as the practice arena, like the driving range is to golfers.

5. Practice Tying And Casting
If you’re not familiar with fishing knots, tying a lure onto the end of your fishing line can be difficult. Practice tying lures onto your line over and over to get the hang of it. Once you feel confident in your ability to tie a lure to your line, you won’t feel any pressure when doing so on your first fishing adventure.

Then, practice casting. Visit your nearest lake (with or without fish) and simply cast, reel, and cast again. Do this until you have the process figured out. Once you have the gear setup and the casting process down, you’re ready for your first fishing adventure.

6. Research Nearest Quality Fishing Spot
The hardest part about fishing is actually finding fish. Utilize internet fishing reports to find out where the fish are in your area. You may have to drive a bit to find plentiful fishing areas.

Another option is to go with someone who fishes regularly. These people tend to know about secret fishing spots that might not make the fishing reports.

Once you feel confident in your ability to simply go fishing, then you can start to push yourself toward bigger fishing trips, or get into fly fishing, which is an adventure all its own.

In Conclusion

With these three basic adventure activities under your belt, you’ll discover the various avenues that they can take you.

Hiking can develop into a weekend routine, or it can lead you to take road trips to different places with the sole purpose of hiking landscapes you’ve never seen.

Backpacking can lead you to undiscovered national parks, or to a desire to load up a backpack efficiently and travel across the world.

Fishing can take you to a familiar river for a methodical and meditative hobby, or it can lead to epic trips to fish in places that you never knew existed.

These adventure activities can fuse together and can lead you to unknown adventure hobbies as well. The most important thing is to remember that adventure is an attitude, not a skill. Enjoy the process!
_______________

Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.

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