Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How to start exploring locally

So I've made the argument that you should go out and get to know your local area. So how do you start?

Pull up your local area and look for green space!
Spending a little time online before you head out can help you find some great new places. Pull up Google Maps and look for green space. That is how I found Lake Fayetteville for the first time and it's been a gold mine of places to explore.

Finding a local nature center, or visitors center for a park can be a huge resource as well. The people that work there will know the best places and can help you know what to expect to see. How do you find these centers? 

Pull up your search engine of choice and type in [your state] state parks, or [your county] county parks, or [your city] city parks. Then find something near you.

There are a few things that are good to figure out before you go.

Sunset at Lake Fayetteville, Fall 2012

~ Is there a fee involved?

~ What is there to do there? Is there a lake, a trail, a nature center? Figure out what you want to do but remember that exploring natural places doesn't require an agenda. Just spend some time exploring and see what you can find.

~ How long do you want to be out for? Make sure to bring along some water and maybe a snack. Check the weather, and dress for it. Theres no faster way to have a miserable afternoon then not dressing for the weather. 

Once you have that information in hand DO IT! 

Take an afternoon or a Saturday and go out and explore. Pay attention to what you see and hear. Do you see any animals that are new? Any cool birds? Are there lots of other people at the park? Sometimes its nice to find a place without tons of people when you just want to enjoy the outdoors without so many distractions. What is everyone doing, does any of it look like something you'd like to try? Thats how I discovered Disc Golf for the first time.

The most important part is to get out there and explore, get comfortable checking out a new place and learn a bit about where you live.

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