By Erika Haugen-Goodman / Washington Trails Association
If you’re looking for inspiration on how you can get your nature fix without even leaving your neighborhood, then look no further. Strolling your neighborhood can provide fun and unique ways to train, enjoy nature and help keep our community safe while Washington is under stay-at-home order.
Here are five ways you can make a simple walk around the block into something adventurous.
Transform it for training. Who says you need an epic mountain peak to stay in shape or get fit? Find your closest neighborhood hill and do a few laps up and down or, if you’re wanting an added challenge, load up a backpack and use the weight for extra training goodness. Hum the “Rocky” theme as you reach the top each time for added motivation. Fist pumping in the air not required, but encouraged.
Bring the binoculars. Whether you live in the middle of the city or in the country or somewhere in between, it’s more than likely you live somewhere where birds make their home. Binoculars can make almost anything more interesting and give you a close-up view of wildlife, even in the city. Just avoid aiming them in your neighbor’s windows. Nobody needs that.
Find something or somewhere new. Even if you’ve lived somewhere for the past 20 years, it’s very possible you’ve never noticed the little details of your neighborhood. Take your time, stop and look at the small stuff and the big, and really get to know your neighborhood. Take a new route you’ve never tried before or admire the blooming flowers. You never know what you might find.
Identify it. Do you know the scientific name of the tree that grows on the corner? Or maybe the lichen that’s attached itself to the trunk of it? Find out what the heck that thing is called! There are a number of field guides online that you can pull up on your smartphone that will help you identify your neighborhood flora and fauna. Make a game of it: See if you can remember their names on your next walk.
Challenge yourself. Think you can find five things on your walk that start with the letter T? Come up with fun games to play while you take your neighborhood stroll to keep your mind engaged. And no, you can’t say “tree” five times. That’s cheating.
Do you have other ideas on how to turn your neighborhood walk into an adventure? Go to www.wta.org and leave a comment to share with other hikers. And as always, remember to practice good social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others) while you’re outside.
Washington Trails Association promotes hiking as a way to inspire a people to protect Washington’s natural places. Get inspired to go hiking and learn how you can help protect trails at www.wta.org.