I Get By With a Little Help From…That Guy

12 04 2010

One of the greatests things about solo camping and hiking is the feeling of accomplishment and independence that comes with realizing you can be self-sufficient.  Holy cow, I can build a fire!  I can pitch a tent — and get it all back into that little sleeve it came in!  I can climb a mountain and find my way back down!  (These are even greater triumphs if you grew up thinking you had no capacity to deal with the outdoors or anything remotely physical — and having that thinking reinforced.)

Self-sufficiency, and the independence and freedom that comes along with it, is truly valuable.  When embarking on your first solo camping and hiking endeavors, you should definitely push yourself towards that goal.  Even if you aren’t totally sure you can build a fire and cook that hot dog, give it a try.  A real try, not just a half-hearted one.  Plot your own course on a hike, figure out how to use your equipment, make your own decisions.  You’re way more capable than you give yourself credit for, I promise.

Sometimes, however, you need a little help.  Maybe you can’t change the tire on your car in the middle of a busy highway.  Maybe you can’t get a particularly tight knot undone.  Maybe you just. Can’t. Get. That. Fire. Going.  That’s when Rule Number 10 comes into play:

Ask For Help When You Need It

Sure, it’s great to be self-sufficient.  Sure, part of solo camping and hiking is to push yourself and test your limits, boost your confidence by realizing you’re better at a lot of things than you thought you were.  Sure, sometimes it’s embarrassing (and, as a woman, can rankle a little) to ask for help.

But here’s the thing: faced with the choice of spending a few hours frustrated and upset, or asking someone for help, avoiding the frustration, and perhaps learning a new way of accomplishing your intended task so that you don’t have to ask for help in the future, that second choice sounds pretty good.  It’s not giving up, it’s being realistic and making a choice about your own education and enjoyment.  You might also make someone else happy, because when you’re out on the trail, people generally like to be friendly and helpful. 

This isn’t to say you should give something a feeble try, say “I can’t do this” and find someone to do it for you because it’s hard and/or annoying.  But when you’ve given something a good go and you just haven’t quite managed to figure out the best way to do it…or have learned your physical limitations, ask for a hand.  You might even make a friend in the process.

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.


Wordless Wednesday

7 04 2010

Somewhere in Nova Scotia, hiking, on a road trip, circa June 2005.

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.

Get in Shape, Girl

5 04 2010

You know the feeling. It's so appealing.

Last week, a friend of mine Facebook’d a reminiscence about a 1980’s toy series called “Get in Shape Girl.”  I had completely forgotten about this phenomenon, but it all came flooding back to me immediately, including the goofy theme song.  No no, you’re going to suffer with me:

Now, I had a bunch of these pink-and-purple workout sets when I was a young impressionable girl.  I particularly remember the one with the ribbon à la rhythmic gymnastics (it was a challenge to see how often I could knock things over by flailing the ribbon around before my mother ordered me outside with the darn thing) and the one with the dumbbells and wrist/ankle weights that you were supposed to fill with water (they always leaked and then my mother would get mad).

I was thinking about Get in Shape Girl because as I head back out onto the trail I am coming to the full realization that I have gotten way out of shape this winter.  I neglected the gym and used being busy at work as an excuse.  Now that the weather is beautiful and it’s time to hit the trails, I find myself horribly self-conscious. 

So I’m using today’s blog entry as a public reminder to myself…and any of the rest of you who feel you’ve gotten “soft” over the past few months…that there’s no help for it except to get back out there.  I’ll get back in shape again, and so will you.  Now, where’s my purple headband and pink ribbon?

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.

Photo Friday

2 04 2010

Since we had fun with signage last week, this week’s photo is another sign.  This isn’t a warning sign — though, I suppose that depends on your perspective.

The lawyers out there will find this amusing.  What makes it even more amusing is that this sign was at the Grand Canyon, at the first viewing point you reach after entering the park through the East Entrance.  It was on a teeny tiny postage stamp of grass with a couple of trees on the side of a parking lot next to the restrooms.  They couldn’t have been more obscure about this if they tried.

Now, lawyers, dredge up your memories of ConLaw.  What kind of a forum is this sign attempting to designate?  Open?  Limited?  Designated?  All of the above?

Happy Good Friday!

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.

Don’t Leave Home Without It

1 04 2010

Today, on Go Girl, I reveal eight things to make sure you pack when you leave on your road trip.  You know, the one you’re planning.  You are planning one, right?

Check it out here.

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.