This weekend, I had an excuse for everything. From dinner plans to household tasks that NEEDED to be done, I avoided my local hiking haunts like the plague. I had apartment tours to take, property tours to take, a friend's birthday dinner, chores, shopping, and uncooperative weather. I truly had an excuse for every hour of daylight. Were the excuses legitimate? Maybe some, but certainly not all of them. Could I have taken a hike at one of my standby locations? Definitely. I'm not opposed to hiking in the rain or even the dark, but I used those two situations to justify staying home and being less active. I reached out to a couple of people to see if they would go with me, they were busy, so I used that as an excuse not to go out. The drive to the place I really wanted to go was 45 minutes, through traffic, so I avoided it.
I wasn't motivated at all this weekend to get outside because the options just weren't that appealing to me. I had this problem last year - when I didn't have an out-of-town trip planned, or couldn't drive a few hours to a nice state park, I would lose motivation or begrudgingly go to a local staple and not even enjoy the outdoors that much. So this post today, is about fighting off the excuses, fighting through the illusion that local green spaces aren't good enough, and getting excited about the local haunts that keep me sane between bigger adventures.
Pros of local spots:
- Easy to access, usually
- A little green in the concrete jungle
- Always there when I need it
- Cheap or free
Cons of local spots:
- Can seem boring
- Often crowded/overused
- Not wild enough/secluded enough
- Trails not long enough
This is all psychological, for me, and once I actually drive somewhere I get a little more excited and can look past the cons. Getting from my apartment to the car is the hardest part for local hikes so here's what I'm going to do to psych myself up:
- Start earlier to avoid people and traffic
- Know that I'll be better off after a few miles through the woods, always
- Come to terms with the fact that this is enough and plan for a more exciting hike the next time - it's all about balance
This post isn't very motivating, yet....hopefully this helps.
I'm aware that this is a personal problem, and is specific to my city life in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. I'm working on being more grateful for the green space and nearby state parks I do have while also knowing I need to balance out these local spots with more adventurous places. I know life can get busy, but the whole point of the 52 Hike Challenge is to make sure I always set aside time for a hike. It is time to get pumped up again and make up for this missed week. It is time to show gratitude for the places I do have nearby and for the peace and clarity they can bring. I hope, if you're having trouble getting outside or are sick of the same parks you have, that you can try to break through that mindset too. Share with me what motivates you to get outside, bonus points if you have a story about feeling refreshed about your local spots. Happy trails!