If you look outside these days, and unless you are a “guest” at a CIA Black site or perhaps a gamer, you have, you’ve likely noticed a distinct change in the climate.
No, not that kind, Dr. Suzuki. Although that one is most certainly a thing, and perhaps a topic for a column with more gravitas than this one.
I’m referring to the certain crispness to the air, the gradual reduction in daylight, and the full-frontal nudity of the trees. Yes, it’s autumn, colloquially known as fall, and lovingly placed by your humble correspondent in the noble and glorious category of seasons known as NOT WINTER.
It’s the season where high-visibility orange is a fashion choice, and pumpkin is a spice.
But I digress. The fall means a change in our sporting habits.
Golf balls can get lost in the middle of a fairway thanks to the leaves those freaky trees have so casually discarded. Soccer pitches have become the personal outhouses of Canada Geese. Swimming usually results in a primer on the symptoms of hypothermia, and the embarrassing retreat of an essential body part for one particular gender. Sailing? Meet the Gales of November, Gordie.
So what are we scarved, toqued, flannelled, and Ugged few supposed to do to get our exercise in all of this slightly less tolerable weather?
Why don’t go take a hike, pal?
Seriously, try hiking. It’s a hoot.
Just switch up the Uggs for a pair of hiking boots (PLEASE! ) and add a funky-coloured jacket with a bunch of redundant zippers and pockets that can stash a plethora of essential travel gear, like flasks…for your mulled, pumpkin spiced…okay, bourbon.
Once again, our amazing local terrain means there are all manner of brilliant trails to trudge, and stunning vistas to behold. It’s great cardio, good for your psyche, and can be done at any time, at any age.
If hiking, its slightly more cumbersome cousin (backpacking), or its vaguely ethnic-sounding nephew (trekking), appeals to you, then this column has finally come good. As such, please accept the following list of hiking dos and don’ts as our free gift to you:
DO – Carry extra dry clothing in your backpack
DON’T – Carry extra dry martinis in your backpack. You’ll bruise the gin
DO – Pack nutritious, portable, high-energy foods for your hike
DON’T – Read the above line as “pack every orifice with Skittles”
DO – Be aware of encroaching weather conditions on your route
DON’T – Be aware of encroaching lycra conditions on your partner’s backside
DO -- Pack a map and follow clearly marked trails.
DON’T – Pack a machete and carve your own blood-marked trails.
DO – Bring a supply of clean water and hydrate regularly
DON’T—Save your pee in mason jars. You’re hiking, not fleeing the Zombie apocalypse
DO – Look for dry, comfortable places to rest and recharge your body
DON’T – Look for Android-compatible tree stumps to recharge your phone
DO – Bring a whistle or similar noise-maker to alert others or keep predators away
DON’T – Bring the members of Nickelback as your noise-maker. As predator bait however…
I trust you’ll find these tips as useful for reaching your trek’s destination as they were for reaching my column’s minimum word count.
Hiking is a brilliant way to explore the wonders of Algoma, and will provide a noticeable boost to your physical and mental well-being.
Plus you get to look like all those cool hip models in outdoor lifestyle magazines.
You know, the ones whose idea of a brisk hike is taking the stairs down from the studio due to a broken elevator to grab a latte at Starbucks?
Probably pumpkin spiced too.