There is nothing quite like getting outside into nature to bring us back home to ourselves.
We put away the timetable and the agenda. The deadlines, the meetings and the expectations.
And we just simply, fully, show up.
We begin to slow down our breath, taking in that gorgeous fresh air and almost instantly our entire central nervous system starts to slow down too.
Our shoulders relax, the corners of our mouths turn up and we soften, and settle and somehow remember that we aren’t separate from Nature. We ARE Nature. We are a part of this beautiful planet. And every cell and fiber and tissue that makes us whole, remembers that the simplest act of getting into the depths of the woods or the waterways allows us to thrive and heal and expand when we make the time to get outside and fully be there.
Have you heard of ‘Forest Bathing’?
Sounds kooky and weird, but its TOTALLY a thing and we totally dig it.
It’s this concept based on research done by Japanese officials, where they discovered that ‘Forest Bathing’ actually increases a certain cell in your system that is associated with healthy immune function. (Basically, walking through the forest, you are inhaling the essential oils of plants and trees - the oils that plants omit to protect themselves - and it seems to actually improve immune system function.
*The mind boggles.*
So, we know we need to get outside, but what do we need to bring??
First up, a backpack! Lightweight, waterproof and comfortable.
Then, check out these 5 important things to bring with you while hiking!
If you’re going for a short day hike that doesn’t involve a lot of packing or technical terrain, trail shoes will work. They are a bit more durable than running shoes and are good for most moderate terrains. But if you are hitting up a long hike, packing a lot of gear and the terrain is more difficult to navigate, definitely get your feet into some solid hiking boots.
Be sure to take your new boots on a few short hikes before hitting up the long ones so you can break them in!
This seems obvious, right? Without water our bodies simply don’t do well, so be sure to pack a reusable bottle or two, and bring a water filtration system (ie. a way to boil the water, or for light packing, grab a Life Straw).
All the Food
Nothing like diving into an incredibly well deserved and delicious picnic after a long slog in the woods. So gratifying and rejuvenating. And on the flip side, there is nothing quite like an empty stomach to sour the mood and create cranky hikers. So, when it comes to food, always over pack! Sometimes you end up staying out longer than expected; you may find a gorgeous spot by a stream to lounge around, you might choose to extend your hike, you might lose you way, or you may even get injured. Packing alllll the snacks will keep your energy up so you are ready for whatever comes your way.
Some yummy snack ideas: Trail Mix (of course!), all the protein bars (LARABAR is the bomb dot com), berries, apples, dried fruits, jerky and granola bars. Nothing fancy, but they are delish and do the trick!
HFK (Holy F*ck Kit)
You may have done a certain hike 20 times, but you just never know what can happen.
Pack a multi-purpose tool (Swiss Army Knife), first aid kit (band aids for blisters!), whistle, flashlight, matches and a lighter. If you have a tech addiction, pack a battery charger! And lastly, a map and compass if you’re going back country hiking!
This seemingly simple step could save your life, so throw your HFK in your bag every damn time.
Even on a GORGOEUS day, the weather can change and if you ae deep into the wild, that can be pretty terrible (and potentially scary and dangerous). So prepare for it all.
Layers, rain gear, sun protection, bug repellent. You get the picture.
Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad apparel! So gear up and head out!
So enjoy your hikes. Oh man, enjoy every single delicious breath out there. Don’t let even one go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Soak it all in, stop often and look around. Feel that deep, primal, healing connection we have with Mama Nature and remember that you are home.