Tag Archives: Hiking

Top Ten Tuesday: An Outdoor Adventures Reading List


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A sun-dappled Ontario forest filled with healthy green trees and bushes. Spending time in nature is one of my non-bookish hobbies. My idea of a good time is taking a walk in the woods, by the beach, or in some other natural setting where I can let the sounds of birds tweeting and leaves rustling wash over me.

This is how serene and beautiful our forests are during the summer. (Yes, I took this photo). We have been seeing more ticks, including some that carry Lyme disease, in Ontario, so I always stick to the trails when I walk through our forests and check for ticks afterwards.

Taking a few precautions like this one is well worth the time I get to spend out in nature. There is nothing like noticing a rabbit, squirrel, or some other small creature hiding beneath a nearby bush and realizing it’s waiting to see how you behave before it decides when to run away.

I like to pretend like I haven’t seen them and keep walking on by. Sometimes they decide to stay hidden , while in other cases they suddenly scamper away in a flurry of motion.

The books on today’s list are a nice mixture of practical medical advice for outdoor adventures and ones that explore the many advantages of getting some exercise outdoors while the weather is warm and nice. I have read all of them and would recommend all of them. (Well, I actually read a similar first aid book that I couldn’t find online anymore. But close enough).

CPR, AED & First Aid Provider Handbook by Karl Disque Book cover. Image on cover shows close-up photos of people proving chest compressions during first aid.

CPR, AED & First Aid Provider Handbook by Karl Disque

 

ild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed Book cover. Image on cover shows a used hiking shoe.

1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

 

 

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss book cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of a Dr. Seuss character standing on a rainbow top.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

 

The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate : discoveries from a secret world by Peter Wohlleben Book cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of one large and two smaller trees whose roots are intertwined underground.

The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate : discoveries from a secret world by Peter Wohlleben

 

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery Book cover. Image on cover shows a photo of Grandma Gatewood hiking as she carries her jacket.

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery

 

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese Book cover. Image on cover shows a photo of a path through a pine forest. No one is on the path.

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

 

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks book cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of a gun and a sword crossing each other.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks

Yes, that final title does talk about zombies, but the advice in it is wholly practical and can be used for all sorts of survival situations. I’ve even found it useful for more ordinary troubles like dealing with days when I’m feeling out of sorts and need to comfort myself.

I hope this list has encouraged you to spend time outdoors this summer if you can and if you’re interested. It’s a wonderful way to spend the summer in my opinion.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Favourite Memory and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

My family lived in Laramie, Wyoming for four years when I was a little girl. We were low income, so my parents came up with all sorts of creative ways to enjoy their days off without spending money. (I honestly didn’t even realize money was so tight for us during those years until I was much older. They made do with what they had really well).

The cool thing about living in Wyoming is that it’s filled with mountains, national parks, and other free places to take three small children who have boundless energy. For the cost of a little bit of gas and some sandwiches or other simple meals culled together from fridge leftovers, we could spend all day outdoors together.

One of our favourite places to visit was Vedauwoo National Park. It was a short drive from our home and was filled with rocks to climb, chipmunks to greet, and trails to conquer. There was nothing more exciting than hiking those trails with my parents and siblings.

A photo of Lydia Schoch, her parents, and two younger brothers at Vedauwoo National Park in the 1990s. My youngest brother was about two or three then, so sometimes he’d need a parent to carry him if we walked for a long distance. But the important thing was that we were together and we got to explore rocks that felt impossible large to me as a child.

I also remember picking and eating berries in a little patch of forest near the park. That was a wonderful treat! I think they were raspberries, and, yes, I did get permission from mom first.

I believe the picture I included in my post was the one my parents sent out to extended family as our Christmas card greeting that year? We’ll see if mom or dad can confirm this when they read this post

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Types of Exercise I Enjoy

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

There are quite a few types of exercise I enjoy.

  1. Weightlifting
  2. Swimming
  3. Dancing
  4. Power Walking
  5. Canoing*
  6. Hiking*

Animated Figure lifting weights*Although I haven’t done either of these in a long time and definitely would need to recondition my body for them. That is to say, let’s pick the easiest versions of these things if you want to do them with me.

What all of these activities have in common is that they’re non-competitive, fairly easy on the joints in most cases, and can be done solo or in a group.

When I was a kid, the vast majority of my exposure to exercise was team sports.

I’ve never liked team sports, so it took me a while to realize how many forms of exercise are out there that don’t require competition, keeping score, or having winners and losers.

Kudos to those of you who thrive on competition and being the biggest, strongest, and/or fastest person in a group.

But to me, exercise is most enjoyable when it’s about doing something cool either by myself or with a few other laid-back people.

3 Things I Love About Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Image of a person's legs as they walk on a snowy, icy surface.This post is the final instalment of a four-part series I’ve been slowly working on about walking during each season of the year. Click on the links in this sentence to read about the things I love about spring hikes, summer strolls, and autumn hikes.

Winter is my least favourite season. The  cold temperatures, short days, and frequent snowstorms means I generally spend a lot of time indoors.

I do so much of my exercising outdoors from spring to autumn, so this also means that getting workouts in is trickier at this time of the year than at any other. With that being said, there are still advantages to getting outdoors for a walk in the winter.

The Blissful Solitude

Tree standing in a snowy field. The tree has some snow covering its branches. While I mentioned something pretty similar to this in my post about spring hikes, but it bears repeating again for this season. There are always some people walking around in my area, but you definitely see fewer of them on cold days.

As an introvert, I love this. There’s nothing like going to the park and having it all – or nearly all – to yourself.

The same can be said for walking down a street that is generally quite crowded in warmer weather. Rather than dodging strangers, I can focus on looking at all of the little things I might not have noticed about the architecture of the buildings I pass or the new plants at the park or forest that appeared since my last visit.

The Quiet Consistency

Woman walking down a city street during a blizzardThe months between April and November are filled with changes in the natural world here in southern Ontario. I revel in every change I see as plants sprout leaves, flowers bloom, or the first trees began to change colours for the season.

Winter is a long pause in this cycle every year. It’s just about impossible to look outdoors and immediately know whether we’re in the first week of December or the last week of March.  Every day more or less looks the same during those months unless there’s been an ice storm or snowstorm recently.

There’s something to be said for appreciating that consistency. Spring will arrive eventually. In the meantime, I don’t need to think about whether a plant hanging over the side of the sidewalk is poison ivy or whether I’ve photographed that flower already.

Winter is a time of rest. I’m coming to appreciate that.

The Cold, Crisp Air

Clouds being blown by a breeze. A year or two ago, I noticed that the temperatures were a bit cooler one August morning than they’d been that previous week. I decided to set out for a walk before the true heat of the day set in.

It took less than half a block for my body to become so drenched in perspiration that I headed back home for a cold glass of water. What I wouldn’t have given for a gust of cold, crisp air that day!

As much as I always look forward to spring, there is definitely something to be said for being able to exercise outdoors without getting dehydrated, developing a sunburn, or sweating through my clothes a few short minutes after leaving the house.

If you live in a part of the world that has winter and you spend time outdoors exercising during that season, what do you like most about it?

3 Things I Love About Summer Strolls

It’s time for the third instalment in my series about hiking – or, in this case, strolling –  during the various seasons. If you’re a new reader or would like to reread my previous posts, I’ve also written about the things I love about spring and autumn hikes. Eventually, I’ll finish this series off with a post about winter walks.

Why have I switched from talking about hiking to strolling for the summer post?

Well, July and August in Toronto are extremely hot and humid. We’ve had multiple days so far in July where the humidity levels were well above 70% and the high temperature felt like 40 Celcius (104 Fahrenheit) or more.

While some Canadians do go out hiking in that weather, I’m not one of them. Spring and autumn are best for brisk outdoor exercise. Summer is better for swimming during the daytime and walking at a slower pace either before or after the hottest part of the day.

With that being said, there is still plenty to love about walking outside during this time of the year.

The Long, Warm Evenings

Sunset in Toronto generally happens between 5 and 6 pm in the winter. During the summer, sunset is at about 9 pm. When you combine those extra hours of daylight with evening weather that feels like 25 C (77 F) instead of -25 C (-13 F) after the sun goes down, it’s no wonder that summer evenings can be such pleasant times to walk.

I spent much of my childhood in a climate similar to the one that Toronto has that I was about seven years old the first time I realized summer had much more daylight than winter.

It was only after running outside for hours after dinner did I realize that the sun still hadn’t set yet that day. When I asked my mother if the sun was never going to set again, she laughed and explained the summer solstice to me in more detail than I’d known before. Her explanation gave me a sense of wonder about the world that I still feel every summer as an adult.

Winter days are short, cold, and punctuated by many hours of darkness before the sun has any hope of rising again. Summer feels magical in contrast, especially if you’re lucky enough to spend plenty of time outdoors during the evening.

The Friendly Background Noise

Yes, I know I mentioned my love of peace and quiet when I talked about spring hikes earlier this year. The interesting thing about walking during the summer is how noisy it can be!

Our streets come alive after the temperatures drop outdoors. After a long, hot day, many people spill out onto the streets to take their dog for a walk, let their children burn off energy at the park, go shopping, meet up with friends for dinner, or otherwise enjoy the nice weather.

There are countless concerts, festivals, parades, and many other events that can lead to evenings punctuated with the sounds of other people having a wonderful time if you happen to wander into the right neighbourhood at the right time.

As much as I love my quiet time, I’ve also learned to deeply appreciate the distant hum of an excited crowd or the faint vibrations of a band from a street or two away.

Being surrounded by relaxed, happy people is a lovely feeling, and Torontonians tend to be pretty happy in these scenarios.

The Sense of Community

One of the coolest and least intuitive things living in a city as large as Toronto is how often you tend to run into the same people over and over again. You’d think this would be rare given the fact that millions of people live here, but it’s really not!

This is the time of year when I stop to say hello to neighbours or acquaintances on almost every walk I take. Sometimes I’ll need to stop and talk to multiple people on the same stroll.

Since folks are spending more time outdoors being sociable in general, the chances of running into someone you know are higher than they would be in January when people tend to stay home after dark.

My parents did this regularly in the small towns I grew up in. Back then I assumed it was something that only happened in rural areas, but now I’ve learned that it’s part of city life as well. The world is a much smaller place than you’d think!

I’ve come to enjoy seeing how many people I recognize on these strolls. Some neighbours pop up so regularly I can nearly count on saying hello to them several times a week, while others only cross my path occasionally.

What do you like most about summer strolls?

3 Things I Love About Spring Hikes

Signs of spring are popping up everywhere now here in Ontario. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed the photos I’ve been sharing there of our first flowers of the year. It’s still a little too muddy and chilly outside to spend much time traipsing around out in nature,  but I’m hoping… Read More

3 Things I Love About Autumn Hikes

This autumn has been an odd one so far here in Ontario as climate change continues to disrupt our normal weather patterns. Early September is often still hot here, but the heat continued on through October this year. I was actually still wearing shorts and other summer gear as recently as a week ago! Now… Read More