Tag Archives: adventure ideas

Three people playing Jenga near a campfire

7 Ways to Get Adventure-Ready in Lockdown

Whether you’re practicing social distancing or in full-blown quarantine, the era of Covid-19 is a weird time for us all. Staying at home is a must. But if, like me, you’d rather be stomping around the great outdoors, you won’t be looking forward to the coming weeks of captivity.

Yet just because you’re indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive. In fact, there’s plenty of ways to get adventure-ready while you’re in lockdown. Here’s seven ideas to get you started.

1. Hatch a plan

One day – hopefully in the not too distant future – normality will return. When you’re released back into the world, what’s going to be first on your adventure agenda? Now is the time to plan your next escapade. Scour the internet for ideas, pore over maps and get the travel guides out. That way, when the restrictions are lifted, you’ll be hot to trot.

If you live in British Columbia and are looking for some inspiration, check out my 10 BC Adventures to Plan in 2020. Personally, I’m keen to hike the North Coast Trail soon, so research and route planning is keeping my occupied.

2. Fix up, look sharp

If you’re anything like me, your outdoor gear will get a lot of use and not a lot of TLC. When you’re busy having fun outside, it’s all too easy for repairs and maintenance to get neglected. If you’re now stuck at home, knuckle down and get fixing! Tune your bike, re-waterproof your jacket, clean your hiking boots, wax your skis or snowboard, sharpen your Leatherman, sew up holes in your clothing, repair those dings in your surfboard…I could go on.

By ticking these jobs off your to-do list, your outdoor gear will be as good as new, ready for action when the time comes.

3. Experiment with dehydrated meals

While you’re at it, have you ever considered making your own dehydrated camping meals? The shop-bought ones are convenient, but they’re also expensive, (usually) full of salt, and are most certainly not zero-waste. Making your own is much healthier, both for you and the planet. You just need two things – a dehydrator and time. Luckily, most of us have a lot of time on our hands at the moment. So, if you can source a dehydrator, you’re good to go.

To get started, check out my guide to making your own DIY Dehydrated Camping Meals. By prepping in advance, you can stock your cupboards full of goodies, ready to grab when you do eventually head out into the wilds.

Bowl of food cooks over a campfire
My DIY dehydrated camping meal – orzo with tomato and parsley

4. Hone your skills

Spending time in the great outdoors is one long learning curve. It doesn’t matter what discipline you enjoy most, there’s always room for improvement. Are you an avid hiker or a happy camper? Brush up on the Leave No Trace principles. Are you a wannabe sailor? Practise your knots. Are you a mountain biker? Fine-tune your technique by watching some YouTube videos. Are you a backcountry skier or split-boarder? Reread your Avalanche Skills Training Handbook. Even better, Altus is currently offering an online Avalanche Safety Training Module. Whatever your vibe, there’s a way to hone your skills from the comfort of your sofa.

If your brain is in need of further stimulation, why not learn a new language? For the moment, any kind of non-essential travel is a no-go, particularly international travel. But perhaps you’ll be heading to foreign climes in the future. There are lots of free online learning resources out there, with Duolingo being a particular favourite.

5. Be inspired

If you can’t be out on adventures, then reading about them it is the next best thing. Fuel your imagination with some good ol’ stories from the outdoors community. I have a pile of books and magazines itching to be read, all full of entertaining tales, handy tips and need-to-know titbits. I’m currently reading Deep Power & Steep Rock by Chic Scott, which tells the life story of mountain guide and father of heli-skiing, Hans Gmoser. I’ll also be working my way through the past few issues of Coast Mountain Culture magazine, which have been sitting untouched on my coffee table for too long.

If reading isn’t really your thing, there’s plenty of podcasts to inspire you. As a starter for ten, try the Firn Line. It delves into the lives of mountain climbers, beautifully weaving together interviews, narration and music.

Woman reads book next to calm sea

6. Keep exercising

You may feel like a bear in hibernation right now, but it’s important to keep exercising. It’s good for your mental and physical health. It also ensures you don’t lose too much fitness, standing you in good stead for when you return to your pre Covid-19 activities. There’s plenty of exercises you can do at home without any equipment. Think squats, lunges, press ups, star jumps, burpees, sit ups, glute bridges, calf raises and planks. Or, get creative! Use a jerry can of water as a dumbbell or wear a loaded rucksack for weighted squats.

Now is also the perfect opportunity to start (or resurrect) your yoga practice. If you need some guidance, then YouTube and IGTV are your friends. You’d be amazed by how many aches and pains can be cured by stretching regularly.

Woman does yoga pose on empty beach

7. Get outdoors – but be safe

As it stands, you’re still allowed to exercise outside, so long as you don’t have any symptoms or a history of possible exposure to coronavirus in the past 14 days.

However, this comes with some caveats. Firstly, be conservative with your choices. If you injure yourself, you’ll be an added burden to the healthcare service. Secondly, avoid crowded places and remain at least two metres away from others at all times.

Despite these measures, you may be lucky enough to have access to some quiet trails where you can walk, run or ride a bike. Being outside, surrounded by nature, is the perfect tonic for the stresses and strains of this strange world. I wanted to up my trail running this year, and that ambition holds true. I won’t be participating in the trail running events I had planned, but I’ll still be increasing my mileage in the hope of reaching my goals.

Want to join me? Take a look at my guide to Trail Running for Beginners.

When this is over, we’ll be back to adventuring like it’s 2019. In the meantime, stay safe.

Woman runs along mountain ridge
Running in splendid isolation
10 BC Adventures to Plan This Year

10 BC Adventures to Put in the Diary

With the new year looming, it’s time to start planning what the next 12 months have in store. If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s 10 adventures to put on your to-do list.

1. Take a guided tour of the backcountry

Are you eyeing up fresh lines and untracked snow? Consider taking a guided tour of the backcountry. This is the best (and safest) way to get to know a new area. Companies such as Altus Mountains Guides offer backcountry tours of Whistler and Pemberton. If you’re new to backcountry skiing or split-boarding, sign up to an introductory course. Or, take the plunge and book your AST 1+ course.

2. Hunker down in Elfin Lakes shelter

Elfin Lakes shelter is located in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish, BC. The hut is open year-round, but really comes into its own during the winter months. Snowshoe or ski tour/split board up to the hut before hunkering down in front of the fire with a hot toddy. From here, you can strike out further into the park, before returning back to base each day. This is a popular destination, so book in advance through Discover Camping.

Man on skis surrounded by snowy trees
Ski touring to Elfin Lakes shelter

3. Enter a trail running race

Want to move faster and lighter in the mountains? Trail running might just be for you. Set yourself a goal by entering a trail running race. There’s something for everyone, from the 12km Cap Crusher in West Vancouver, to the Fat Dog 120 mile race through Skagit Valley and E. C. Manning Provincial Park. For a happy medium, there’s the 21km Loop the Lakes Trail in Squamish.

Want to know more about trail running? Take a look at my Beginner’s Guide to Trail Running.

Woman runs along mountain ridge
Trail running through E.C. Manning Provincial Park

4. Mountain bike on Vancouver’s North Shore

Considered the home of freeride mountain biking, Vancouver’s North Shore mountains are a pilgrimage for riders across the world. The terrain is famously challenging, and you can expect steep, technical descents full of roots, rock rolls and wood features. Beginners can find their flow on trails such as Bobsled and Roadside Attraction (Mount Fromme), Empress Bypass (Mount Seymour), and Richard Juryn (Lower Seymour Conversation Reserve).

5. Complete a thru-hike

Discover how far your two feet can take you by completing a multi-day thru-hike. There are plenty to choose from, including the West Coast Trail and Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island, the Howe Sound Crest Trail near Vancouver, and the Sunshine Coast Trail (on, er, the Sunshine Coast). Nothing beats several days immersed in nature. If you’re thinking about hiking the Juan de Fuca trail, here’s what you need to know.

Woman stands on rock in front of blue lake
Hanover Lake on the Howe Sound Crest Trail

6. Kayak the Sechelt Inlet

Load a kayak with supplies and paddle up the Sechelt Inlet on BC’s Sunshine Coast. You can spend days or even weeks zig-zagging up the coastline, staying at the numerous campsites along the way. From Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, head north and select your route. Campsite options include Piper Point, Oyster Beach, 9 Mile Point, Half Way Beach, Kunichen Point and Tzoonie Narrows. Kayaks can be rented from Pedals and Paddles.

Related: Kayaking the Sechelt Inlet

Nose of yellow kayak surrounded by sea
Paddles at the ready

7. Hike to St Mark’s Summit for sunset

Watching the sun set over the Howe Sound is pastime in itself. St Mark’s Summit in Cypress Provincial Park makes a particularly fine viewing platform. Time your hike so that you reach the summit just as the sun is going down. Take extra layers to protect you from the cooler temperatures and the rabid mosquitoes. You’ll also need a head torch so you can safely make the return journey in the dark.

Woman watches sun set over sea and islands
Watching the sunset from St Mark’s Summit

8. Cycle around the Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands are an excellent destination to explore on two wheels – despite the hills! Pack up some panniers, jump on a ferry from Tsawwassen and island-hop between Galiano, Pender, Saturna, Salt Spring and Mayne. Each island has at least one campsite if you prefer to sleep under canvas. If you’re short on time, spend a weekend touring around just one island. Salt Spring is the most populated, while Saturna has a cosy village-vibe.

Read about my time bike touring on Galiano Island and Saturna Island.

9. Go surfing in Tofino

Wait for the summer crowds to disperse before planning a surf trip to Tofino. The swell is consistent and the line-ups are less busy. Just remember a winter wetsuit – the water is always cold. In fact, it’s not just the surf. Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tofino.

10. Bikepack the Oregon Timber Trail

It’s not in BC, but if you’re keen to head south of the border, check out the Oregon Timber Trail. At over 660 miles long, it’s described as ‘North America’s premiere long-distance mountain bike route’. As a relatively recent innovation, some sections of the trail are still being developed. This adds to the challenge, so riders should have the necessary experience before embarking on the epic journey.