Not able to travel very far for a hike, but want to feel like you're heading out for an adventure? Try one of these 10 ways to hike the same trail for a new experience!
10. Change your pace
If you normally hike swiftly, try slowing down your steps. What else can you notice when you're taking your time? If you're typically out for a leisurely stroll, are you able to challenge yourself to hike a bit quicker (within your personal limits)? How does this impact your experience?
9. Start at a different time of the day (or night!)
A trail can feel completely different if you start early in the morning or hit the trail later in the day to catch the sunset. How does it feel to be hiking while listening to the chirping of early morning birds vs the crickets as the sun is going down?
8. Travel the opposite direction
A change in perspective can reveal a whole new trail! If you're used to trudging up a section vs going down, or seeing the landscape change from a different view, hiking a loop in reverse could be a welcomed mental shift.
7. Watch and listen for the birds
Go to the library and grab a bird identification guide and head out to your favorite trail for a new adventure! Or, download the Merlin Bird ID app and identify the birds in real time by their songs.
6. Be mindful of the plants
Take a native plant book along in your backpack to see what is growing along the trail. Are they there just for the season? Are they safe to eat? Are they invasive? Knowing whats growing can add a layer of fascination and curiosity to your hikes!
5. Change who you're with
Do you normally hike alone? Invite a friend to join you! Similarly, if you normally hike with a large group, what would it be like to go with just one friend? Curating who you hike with can open doors for great conversations.
4. Make time to journal
Grab a notebook and jot down your thoughts as you hike. What's the weather like? What time did you start? What did you see? How did you feel? Documenting your experience can heighten your senses and your intuition.
3. Take (or don't take) pictures
If you don't normally take photos while you're hiking, try setting a goal to take 5-10 photos. What caught your attention? How would you summarize the trail in pictures? If you normally take a lot of photos, try keeping your phone tucked away. Can you be totally present while walking? Rather than capturing it with a photo, can you simply capture it with your mind?
2. Plan to stay all day
Even if your hike will only take a couple hours, can you stop and take breaks to enjoy simply being outside? Pack some extra snacks and make your trail experience last all day.
1. Hike it in every season
Hiking in Pennsylvania means trails are always changing. You can hike the same trail multiple times a year and with each experience see something completely different like snow covered trees, changing leaves in autumn, luscious greenery, and bubbling creeks.
What did you try? Tag us in a post on Facebook (@keystonetrails) or Instagram (@keystonetrails) to let us know!
Keystone Trails Association