Satisfying Your Outdoor Bug as a City Resident
Living in an urban jungle can be tough when all you want to do is spend your time outside. Don’t get me wrong; I love living in Philadelphia, it just means I have to work harder to get my outdoor fill. Being a city dweller has its perks, for sure, my favorite one being the abundance of cheesesteaks at all times of day, but when all you can think about is getting lost (not really) in the woods it can be tough. For anyone living in a city and can’t seem to meet their outdoor need, follow these tips that I’ve found that work for me.
Pieces of nature in the most unexpected places
One of my favorite places to go to when I need to get out quick is just a ten-mile drive from my house. Wissahickon Valley Park has been my oasis over the years, treating me with great hikes and fresh air. Finding a park near you can surprise you with its beauty. I’ve seen everything in the Wiss, from foxes to eagles (go birds). Finding a little slice of nature near you becomes helpful when you need a quick recharge.
Have something planned
I have tried to spend at least one weekend a month on a trail. By doing this I can keep my mind occupied with what is coming up and gives me something to plan for. Even if it is a small weekend trip, it gives you something to look forward to. I have found that I love planning these little trips; searching for new places or discovering new wonders in places I’ve been is really helpful when fueling my fire. Being a weekend hero isn’t bad after all.
Don’t be afraid to drive
I have found that the best places to quench my need for an outdoor weekend are sometimes a little drive away. The farthest I have gone for a weekend was an eight-hour drive to Upstate New York. OK, maybe that’s a little intense for a weekend camping trip but if it works with your schedule you should send it. My favorite spot that is located out of the city is about an hour and a half north of Philadelphia where the Appalachian Trail crosses the Lehigh River at the Lehigh Gap. I have spent countless weekends exploring everything this has to offer. Going there requires a little bit more preparing than heading out to your local city park, but it can be done rather quickly. I actually have ramen, oatmeal, and my gear on deck if I feel like just going for a quick overnight.
Watch, read, listen
Lastly, something that has helped immensely has been getting my hands on anything that has to do with being outside. Watching people document their hikes on YouTube and other social media platforms can show you other people’s adventures. Podcasts are super-entertaining as well. You can hear some great stories and they are perfect to drive to. Something I have picked up as I’ve gotten more and more into backpacking is looking at maps. Once I decide on a destination I acquire the trail and topography maps for this location. This is a great way to get creative with your weekend adventure.
I hope these tips are as helpful for me as they are you.
Until next time… happy hiking.
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