WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER
Summer is a particularly sweet time of year to lose yourself to the pleasures (and sometimes pains) of hiking. Living in Colorado makes me feel very lucky—there is so much GORGEOUSNESS in this state to soak up. As you find your way into the wild world these next few months, take care to travel lightly. Seeing trash on trails and names etched into hundreds-of-years-old trees is profoundly sad. It's our responsibility wherever we go to be good to the earth—to help heal and not to harm. Below, four easy ways to trek lightly.
SAY HEY TO HOMEMADE
When preparing for a weekend wilderness adventure, it's understandable to want to stock up on packaged goodies. A lot of the time however, a stashed wrapper, stowed away until you leave the campsite, can float free and find its way into the woods. Avoid individually wrapped goods (and the opportunity for accidental littering) by whipping up a big batch of our damn good granola to keep you nourished during new explorations.
LEARN THE LANDSCAPE
Grab yourself a local field guide or chat with a ranger before entering unfamiliar terrain. An important way of showing our respect for nature is by taking the time to learn more about her weather patterns and indigenous plants and wildlife. Understanding the ecological temperament and cultural traditions of a place makes us better able to heal an environment. That, and it's super cool to be able to identify flowers during a hike!
NO SINGLE USE...
Water bottles or plastic bags. Period. Get a big jug of water rather than a boatload of plastic bottles to minimize plastic pollution. This is especially critical if you'll be camping close to a body of water.
Give back to the land that gives to you. This can mean ensuring your campsite is cleaner than when you left it or picking up trash pooled on the beach or joining a trail rebuilding effort. Figure out a way to engage reciprocally with your environment and you'll find yourself tapping into an ecosystem far more beautiful and complex than first glance.