I have many posts I have written over the years. I’m going to try to get in the habit of re-posting some of the ones that hold up well, covering some of the key outdoor skills or values, etc. Here’s the first one –
Over the years, many outdoor “experts” will state the rules for the outdoors.
Lists to take, techniques to perform, etiquette that must always be followed, and gear to acquire.
Rules as absolutes.
Instead, I’ve found that there are three simple guidelines to follow that are helpful. They seem to hold up in all situations for the outdoors.
Works for me, anyway.
- Be safe
That does not mean avoiding outdoor activities that push the envelope, but doing so within your own skills levels, within the environment appropriately, and with the appropriate planning, logistics, and calculated risks understood.
I am a solid 5.6 climber when following. I would not attempt The Diamond nor free-solo any of the FlatIrons. On the other hand, I am comfortable backpacking off-trail, performing third-class scrambling, and can read a map reasonably well. Backing solo in these conditions is perfectly safe for me; it may not be for others.
- Be courteous of others and their experience
Basically: Don’t let your fun impact on other’s enjoyment of the outdoors
Enjoy music on the trail? Cool. Perhaps use some air buds.
Want to make a phone call to a loved one? Doing so discretely and perhaps not at a scenic overlook is polite.
Love to ride some sweet single tracks? Awesome. Ride where it is allowed and be courteous to fellow trail users.
Have a dog? Please keep it on a leash where leash laws are mandated, especially in a crowded trail area.
Don’t have the proper gear, training, or experience for an outdoor activity? Get a friend to come along or modify your plans so the SAR groups don’t have to come and get you out.
Hunting season? Wear some safety orange so hunters can see you correctly.
You get the idea.
As the old libertarian nugget goes: “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”
Applies to a lot of life, too.
- Have fun
Another loose definition.
Pushing the limits physically is something many people enjoy.
Others like to saunter and take many breaks by lakes or scenic overlooks.
Both are great because it is something people enjoy doing.
Checking a box off a list and being miserable about it? With limited free time, life is too short to do something not enjoyed. Unless you find that fun, of course. 🙂
***These are just some guidelines I’ve found helpful over the years.
Maybe they’ll work for you.
Originally published July 2016