A Woman’s Guide to the Wild (Sasquatch Books, 2016) by Ruby McConnell covers everything a woman needs to know before heading off into the wild. From handling “lady matters” to a full gear list, McConnell make sure no woman walks into the woods without having everything she needs. The following excerpt is her advice for older adulating planning on going camping.
Older adults may need special consideration or extra help as they might overheat and fatigue more easily, or have mobility challenges. They may also totally burn past you on a brutal climb like you’re standing still. I’ve seen it happen. However, things do change as we age, and while arthritis and other age-related changes to our bodies might slow us down, they don’t have to stop us.
• Consider taking a preemptive anti-inflammatory, especially in steep terrain.
• Warm up with some gentle yoga or pack-free walking before starting out.
• Use well-maintained trails and be careful of your footing.
• Rest often and take advantage of shade.
• Carry 10 to 20 percent less weight than you could at your peak.
• Be more protective of your skin: up the SPF and wear a sun hat.
• Drink lots of water—our bodies rehydrate less efficiently as we age.
• Use hiking poles or a walking stick for optimum balance.
• Bring extra eyeglasses.
• Wear a medical bracelet and bring essential medications.
• Adjust your expectations from when you were at your peak, or just keep on with your bad self.
Kids and older folks are not the only companions that can come with special needs. You may have family or friends with extra challenges or who are in need of special accommodation. In the twenty-first century, the American wilderness is opening up to this population and it’s pretty wonderful to witness. There are all kinds of public and private programs and camps designed to provide accessible outdoor experiences. But it’s even simpler than that. Most developed campgrounds, public and private, are largely accessible, and adventure sports, from skiing to horsepacking and surfing, have adapted equipment to make the sports themselves accessible. Check guidebooks for lists of accessible trails and talk to the local ranger for suggestions.
©2016 By Ruby McConnell. All rights reserved. Excerpted from A Woman’s Guide to the Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook by permission of Sasquatch Books.
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