*This post is 100% unsolicited by AllTrails. They have no idea who I am, although I’m sure they wish they knew me because I know for a fact I drove at least two Facebook friends to buy a Shark vacuum after my numerous endorsements.
**Shark vacuums are amazing, btw.
Today I want to give you a BIG piece of advice, and by “you”, I’m talking to anyone who plans to step out-of-doors today, tomorrow or at any point in the future:
Download the AllTrails app.
Pay the man (or use the free version!).
It’s just that easy–you’ve signed up for the technology magic that is GPS and saved your hike, and possibly your life.
And the best part is that you can use this app for just about ANY outdoor trail on any mountain or in any community park that has ever been trekked!
This is what I find when searching my location. And when I settle on a trail the app gives me just about everything I need, even driving directions!
If you knew better, and if you are just now starting out on any kind of outdoor adventure plan, you would profusely thank me. I don’t even want to tell you what Mark and I went through before we found AllTrails.
But I will, because you are my friend and my embarrassing failures are your teachable moments. My only problem now is deciding where to start; we did many dumb things.
Waste the trees to see the trees
This is probably the one I can laugh the most at, it’s the least dangerous misstep but still a very rookie move.
Mark and I started hiking with the big hikes. We don’t do things small or gradually, so in researching our adventures we followed what a lot of other hikers were doing. There were blogs and websites and we had to ingest all of the hints and tips and landmarks to use on our own hikes. To keep track of all the “turn at the rusty pails” and “make sure the water is on your rights” we Printed. Everything. Out.
Mark carried pages and pages of blog posts and maps and pictures so that we were sure to get it all right! We got it right, all right, but boy did we look stupid.
Picture this: you’re walking along a trail and you come to a junction with a sweaty couple, frantically flipping through pages to see if this junction was THE junction because ohmigoshwhatifwemakethewrongturnahhhhhh?!
Getting lost is serious, but this level of detail made us doubt our own sense of direction and common sense. The map says blue trail. Follow the blue trail. Miss the blue trail? Backtrack until you find the blue trail.
Less headache. Less paper.
Don’t be like us.
Of course we got lost
(Mom, maybe you stop reading, mmmkay?)
This is a given. Because every trail is going to have that “hmmmmm….” moment where you can’t quite tell 1) where the next marker leads, and 2) if/when/where you’re supposed to turn.
On our way down from a peak, trying to navigate the many junctions with our trusty paper map, we came to a fork in the road we weren’t expecting. Some of the longer trails deep in the Adirondacks take several turns and some are more clearly marked on the map than others. This particular turn we were unsure of. Mark said “right”, I said “left”, the guy that came up on us said “left” and then whipped out his phone confirming the dot was us, the trail back to the car was in red, and it was indicating to head left.
What sorcery?! This was our first experience with AllTrails. And it was when we first started noticing all of the hikes it would have come in handy, including some of the shorter hikes we were already very familiar with!
And AllTrails, you are as dear to me as my Shark vacuum! ❤