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How to Find Your New Favorite Outdoor Place

Posted by Aaron Wolf on 17th Mar 2016

No one likes to play favorites when speaking on things we’re passionate about – like friends, for example. It’d be rude to announce a party but only tell certain folks they’re invited because they’re your favorite. So when speaking about my favorite expeditions, I find it tough to say I have certain adoration for particular areas when they all have unique qualities that make them worthwhile destinations.

As you sit on the edge of your chair, waiting to learn what the wildest, secluded slice of solitude is, you’ll have to wait. A long time.

What I will divulge is what makes my favorite expeditions and how you too can share in the excitement of venturing into the backcountry. I think that in creating the experiences we remember fondly, it’s that much easier to fall in love with a particular area.

Step 1) Google Maps. Yes, that’s right. Find the largest swath of green you can and call that location with a telephone or send a messenger pigeon with the following message: Is there backcountry camping?

Step 2) Ask the rangers for recommendations based on your needs. They’re the local experts and will know more about that area than anyone else. You must always do your research and let people know where you’re headed. Rangers and forest officials appreciate due diligence.

Step 3) Topographic map and compass.

And you’re off! And you’re also on your own from there, compadre! I think a lot of times we over-think the experience, we drum up expectations of what it should be like or what we’ll see. If you go into a new area with an open mind and confidence in your ability to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and safely then you should have the recipe for something unforgettable.

Some of my most memorable experiences outdoors were going off recommendations from forest officials, but the most important thing at the core of all this is being able to appreciate our wild spaces. 

With this in mind, I dare you to create a memorable experience using the unknowns of adventure, by having a hunch, by letting go of the sure thing. So get up, call the forest ranger or send that pigeon off, and get your gear ready. 

It is no longer time to wonder, but time to wander.