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    May 11, 2018

    5 Easy Ways To Become More Outdoorsy

    This is for the LA Rotational Fellowship.

    Nature, man. It's beautiful, terrifying, and yearns to be appreciated.

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    And even though staying inside and binge-watching Netflix can make for an enjoyable afternoon (SO ENJOYABLE), sometimes you wish you spent a little more time outside.

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    Maybe... maybe it's time to remember what the sun feels like.

    But... where to begin? Diving into outdoor blogs and REI catalogs only confirms your worst fears: there's an entire subculture of outdoorsy millennials out there, and you don't know the first thing about it.

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    How many stickers do I need to have on my water bottle before I'm allowed to go on a hike??

    But don't worry, and don't be intimidated: the outdoors is open to all! Without further ado, here are some tips to get you started on your outdoor journey.

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    1. Download a hiking app.

    Hiking is one of the best ways to get out, get moving, and experience the outdoors firsthand. But not all trails are created equal, and it can be challenging to assess the difficulty of a trail just by standing at the trailhead. Which is where apps like the one from AllTrails.com come in handy: AllTrails shows you the available hiking trails in your area and ranks them as Easy, Moderate, or Hard. It also features reviews from other AllTrails users so you can get a definitive sense of the trail you're about to tackle. And so you don't get lost trying to find the trailhead, AllTrails also links to Google Maps to get you exactly where you need to go. For hiking newbies, find an "Easy" trail, grab a friend and have fun exploring!

    AllTrails is available on both iOS and Android for free. They also have a website.

    2. Consider taking a class.

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    Listen, no one is born knowing how to paddleboard, and if you want to learn the ins and outs of something risky (like rock-climbing) some lessons are definitely necessary. So if you want to try something new, don't be ashamed of your lack of knowledge! One class could introduce you to a lifelong passion, or make you realize that kayaking just isn't for you, but you won't know until you give it shot. Classes are also a great way to meet newbie adventurers like yourself and make some new friends. Outdoor Recreation classes are offered by everyone from outdoor rec leagues to equipment rental stores, so go ahead and type "paddle boarding lessons near me" into Google and see what you can find!

    3. Check out your local parks.

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    Some states have a handful of state parks, others have dozens, and some are lucky enough to have a national park within their borders. What do you know about your local park scene? Parks come in all shapes and sizes, and while many are areas of natural beauty, others are notable historical sites. Which means you can spend time outside and have an educational experience. Go find a state park near you!

    4. Pack a light bag filled with essentials.

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    One of the keys to spending time outside is to make sure you don't need to suddenly go inside. If you're going on a lengthy day hike, or spending the day in a park, consider buying a daypack — like this one from Amazon — to carry your belongings. What you should pack depends entirely on where you're going, but you should always keep water and sunscreen with you. Other smart items to have on hand include snacks, a hat, sunglasses, a rain jacket, bear spray (if bears have been spotted in your area), and of course your keys, wallet, phone, etc.

    5. And most importantly: know how to stay safe!

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    Don't eat wild berries (they could be poisonous), don't drink water from random streams (there's a reason we purify that stuff, guys), and do not, under any circumstances, approach a wild animal (even if it's a cute little baby animal! A baby animal usually has an angry momma nearby). Don't hike alone, if possible, and always alert someone as to where you're going and when you should be back. These are just some basic safety tips, but they could be the difference between you having a wonderful outdoor experience, and you being seriously injured. Be smart, be responsible, and be safe.

    Now go have a splendid day outside!

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