I’m the first person to admit that I do not like the outdoors – I was born with the rather unfortunate allergy to everything green. Throughout summer, I find myself sniffling, sneezing and eye-welling as soon as I step out the front door, not to mention my pale skin which gets burnt at the thought of sun. When I moved to Vancouver numerous years ago, I was drawn in to many things about the city other than the fact that it is literally one of the most beautiful places on the planet; It has oceans, beaches, mountains, forests and everything in between within a quick car ride from my house. I recently was asked by a visitor to the city to tell me about my favourite trails or places to be outdoors when I realized I really didn’t know many.
So I set out to change that and agreed to take a hike (gasp) in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia.
In the process of being outdoors, I discovered a few things that can hopefully help all us Refined Girls be one with Mother Nature.
The first thing you’re going to need to do is pick a path. Winging it, a personal favourite philosophy, does not work in the forest. Figure out where you are going and know the trail you will take to get there, as well as everything you’re going to need to bring with you. We chose a path near Whistler that was remote enough to not have multiple other groups that would detract from the setting but not so remote that we needed to off-road to get there or that no one would find us for weeks if we got lost.
Make sure you have enough supplies with you for the length of your trip. Pack water, snacks, sunscreen, a whistle (if you get lost, easier than yelling) and if you’re in bear country, some bear spray. While you’re walking, you’ll need to constantly be aware of your surroundings. Being petrified of bear attacks and not sure that the adage you learn in school about bears “if it’s brown, lay down; if it’s black, fight back” would serve me extremely well, I spent the vast majority of the walk with my neck swivelled to avoid being surprised by a bear.
You should also dress appropriately for the outdoors. A lightweight cashmere cable-knit sweater and jeans? Not wildly appropriate. You probably shouldn’t hike in jeans, and once you get moving you won’t want to wear your big jacket. Oh, and that cute mountain woman purse you bought to complete the outfit? Leave it at home and pack a backpack so your hands are free and you can move around easily… Or run from bears faster.
The one thing you should learn from me? Have fun with it! I forced people to take pictures of me pretending to dive into the rushing rapids below, peering over a tiny bridge and just general goofiness along the way. If you’re going to be investing the time, be sure you enjoy yourself.
The verdict? It was not honestly my favourite thing to do. The scenery was spectacular and perhaps I will try again taking all my tips into consideration – but it’s just not my scene and I’m OK with that! I believe everyone needs to be honest with themselves and spend their valuable, valuable personal time doing things that make them wildly and inexplicably happy. Luckily there is one thing that does do that for me, outdoors, that is also only a car ride away from Vancouver…