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How do I choose a trail?

Every time something extraordinary happens to you in your life, it's that somewhere you've made a couple of good decisions on the road. Sometimes these decisions are conscious, sometimes the buzz that turns you on just like an inexplicable and beautiful gift. Worse, when that happens, you just want to replicate the experience over and over again.

What happens with practice is that you become more and more aware of what makes your hikes epic. In the following text, I share with you the fruits of my experiences, my meetings and my research that allowed me to understand what increased the fun factor in my outings. I hope to convince you that it is not necessary to hire the services of a comedian to have fun when we go walking outside.

1. Set your goals first

What's the point of your nature outing? Are you just more able to see orange cones, or do you want to explore every ecosystem on the planet? Be honest with yourself and don't play hide-and-seek with your intention at the moment. There's no harm in taking a little walk on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and it's not a pain for anyone to try to surpass themselves. For my part, in the most epic hikes I have been able to do, I have either noticed that at least part of the course offered me a physical or technical challenge slightly higher than my initial level of preparation, or an unknown variable added a WOW factor that made the experience an unforgettable moment. I feel like we need to realize that we are not quite the same after an experiment so that it fits into us forever.

2. Think about what you want to see and experience

For this reason, it is important to me that you stay connected to how you feel. If you just want to see trees, you'll be more flexible than if it takes you a gastronomic getaway to close your day in style. You may be seduced by the attractions of a region you know, but don't let that stop you from discovering other places. There are parks that offer exclusive access to water points, peaks or canyons, which can turn a quiet hike into a spectacular and unique experience. Worse, you're lucky, good restaurants are all over Quebec!

As interest in the outdoors skyrockets, parks offer more services to stand out. It is therefore possible to make new experiences. Whether it's for a night walk where you'll make the call to wolves, or a stay in a treehouse, if you're looking a little you'll find that little extra that will make you feel like every outing is unique.

3. Consider the time you have

Unless you like to go on the road, you won't bother to drive 4 hours to go on a 2-hour hike. Parks where you can walk there's some in all regions of Quebec. At first, what you want is to create a habit, a connection. Most parks will offer you different types of routes depending on the time you have and the degree of difficulty you want to face. Sometimes it's better to be less exotic and stay close to home to have more time to walk. After all nature, it's beautiful everywhere.

Once there, consider the time of day when you start your journey. Expect to be back at least an hour before dusk. Considering the topography of the trails is a good idea. Naturally, a path to the top will take you longer to walk than a path that evolves in a hilly or flat environment. Also take a look at the track configuration. Usually the distance is recorded from one point to another on the site map. If you're going to the top, or taking a path that doesn't loop, assess how long it will take you to get back. (Yes, yes, it could be someone who doesn't think about it!)

Depending on what you want to see, the season can influence your choice to go there at specific times of the year. For example, in the spring, it may be interesting to go near large streams to take advantage of the presence of many migratory birds and in the fall in mountainous areas to better appreciate the contrast of colors.  Some trails are not passable year-round, which is why this can influence your decision to go to a place not. In winter, with snowshoes, several places not accessible in other seasons are available to you. Each region has its own charm, each course offers different attractions depending on the season.

5. Assess the equipment you have

Certainly, if the only piece of outdoor equipment you have is your old bivouac of the time you were a scout, you will make different choices than if you are equipped four seasons for extended excursions. This is a matter of priority. When hiking is second nature to you, you won't feel limited in your choices. But until then, don't let go of the fact that your level of material investment lays the foundation for your comfort. Choosing a course based on the equipment you have is just a matter of logic.

The first piece of equipment you need to bring is a good pair of shoes made for hiking. Then think of the backpack and the clothes. It's almost unlimited the equipment you can bring to increase your comfort outdoors. It's really a matter of priority.

6. Alone or accompanied

Making the decision to hike alone simplifies many things. Not only does it make it easier to choose the location and plan the technical details, but it also allows you to respect your true nature without having to compromise. However, sharing this joy with one or more other people can give rise to truly rewarding experiences. The pleasure felt by everyone adds up and there's a sense of extra connection that sets in. However, in a group, consensus is never obvious. So, either you become a positive leader by guiding and respecting the point of view, or you accept without whining that a Ti-Jos Knowing imposes his mink on others. In both cases, there will be trade-offs and you will have to agree to adjust your level of comfort to that of the group. Usually, the more people involved, the more age disparity there is between participants, the more you will have to expect to compromise. This is especially the case when you are accompanied by children or the elderly.

Some parks offer wider trails whose more regular soil has been worked mechanically. Usually covered with rock dust, they are more suitable for family or group outings. On the other hand, you should expect to meet more people, especially on weekends. But since you've decided to live the gangexperience, this detail should only back down.

7. Share your experience

It may sound self-centered, but when you share your questions, your emotions, your experiences there's like a magic that sets in, and it's easier to connect with people who look like you afterwards. Soon, you will meet people with the same goals as you and their experiences will allow you to quickly learn many things that would have taken you years of practice to know. Quickly, you will want to visit new places and lots of practical questions will find their answers as if by enchantment. Choosing your hike will become second nature to you and you will be able to help others.