From riding my bike around my hometown to hiking the Grand Canyon I have always loved being outside. While many of my closest friends share this interest I have been blessed with the opportunity to share my love of the outdoors with several people. Most notably my girlfriend, Sam. While she grew up riding ATVs and camping, in a trailer, I prefer backpacking to the middle of nowhere.
If given the opportunity to talk about hiking, backpacking, and adventures I can go on forever. While this is true, I have found that passing an interest on to someone is best done through shared experience.
Creating a spark:
If I had invited Sam on a multi-day backpacking trip before we had conquered a few day-hikes I would have undoubtedly set us both up for failure. Rather than jumping into the deep end, it’s best to show others the basics in a low stress environment. We started by hiking around Cuyahoga Valley National Park on several occasions. She loved it and the spark was born.
Caring for the flame:
While developing a new hobby it is easy to become discouraged. Apply too much pressure and everything can quickly fall apart. To get Sam used to the idea of camping, we organized a short “trip” by setting up a tent on her grandparent’s farm. We were way out in a field but still had the safety and familiarity of home a few minutes walk from our campsite. While it wasn’t the most adventurous experience, it was certainly more rugged than most Friday nights. She enjoyed it enough and agreed to go camping at Yosemite National Park.
Feed the fire:
Yosemite is an amazing place and I plan to highlight the details of our trip in a future post. Our plan was to hike the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, a 7.2 mile hike with a 2,700 ft elevation gain. The cherry on top, the trail head is already at 4000 ft (located at Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley). The steep grade and elevation made it a very challenging hike. While I was a more seasoned hiker and we had planned to hike to the top, I could see that Sam was not enjoying the journey as much as I was. For that reason we changed our goal from the summit to the halfway mark. This was a relief to both of us because the view was breath taking and we were both worn out by the time we reached it. We spent the rest of the day enjoying beers at our campsite next to the Merced River.
Let the fire spread:
Before I knew it Sam was planning trips for us all around the Phoenix Valley. We had conquered mountains on every side of town in less than 10 weeks. She has become more outdoorsy than I could have ever hoped. Now, all I need to do is keep up with her and enjoy our awesome hikes together!
The idea behind this approach is to walk before you run. Sharing your passion with loved ones is important and will hopefully lead to amazing trips and unforgettable adventures.
Excitement, patience, and compassion can go a very long way!