Hiking or camping is an awesome experience in itself, but there can be times where it gets a little dull. Perhaps at night when you’re at your campsite, you get a little bored. Or, perhaps after hiking all day and stopping for lunch, you’d wish your break had a little more than just cooking and eating. The next time you go hiking, try these activities to liven up your time on the trail:
Play Board/Card Games:
Next time you hike, throw in a deck of cards or a game of UNO. There are so many travel games you can buy at the store that take up no space in your bag, and they’re fun to whip out and start playing whenever you have a moment. Play solitaire if you’re by yourself. Consider buying Set or Ruckus, which are addicting games that are fun for any age, especially if you’re hiking with the family. Even a Mancala board will do the trick!
Write a Letter to Yourself:
If you’re going to be heading out for a long backpacking journey, then write a letter to yourself about what you hope to achieve. Seal it up, and mail it to your final destination. It’ll be interesting to read what your expectations were before you started, and whether or not the trip exceeded them.
Being in the outdoors can be a great bonding experience if you’re going with another person or a group. It’s an opportunity to get close with those around you. If it’s a relatively new group you’re with, try playing a game called “Two Truths and a Lie”. You have to say three things about yourself, two which are true, and one which is a lie, and the group has to guess which one is the lie. Then, go on to tell the stories about the truths, which may be hard to believe. Tell stories about your first hiking experience, scary stories, or memories from your childhood.
This game might be more for teenagers, but you can play it with anyone who’s up for it. Get a large clothespin and add some fuzz to it. This is the ‘virus’. The ‘leader’ gets to choose who gets the virus, by clipping it onto their backpack or body. Every so often, you can stop and do a ‘virus check’, and the person can either clear themselves by doing a ridiculous, funny task that the leader makes up, or just by pinning it onto someone else when they aren’t looking. There are so many variations of this game that can be adjusted depending on the age and relationship of the group members.
What’s better than a catchy camping song? You can sing something from your parents’ day, or put on your iPod to sing along to a popular song. This obviously might not work depending on the dynamic of your group, but it could help to relieve awkward tension if you’re feeling a bit of social or trail anxiety.
Discussion and Debate:
If you’re sitting around a campfire without much to talk about, then bring up a topic and start discussing it. You might be surprised what your friends and family have to think about certain things. Without it getting too controversial, it’ll make for an exciting evening. For religious groups, it might be a good time to talk about a text from your religious book, and how it influences your outdoor experience.
Plan a scavenger hunt for your hike. It will keep you more involved in what you’re doing, and having you look out for things you might have not otherwise noticed. Search for different types of trees or plants along the way, butterflies, weirdly-shaped rocks, etc.
Would You Rather:
Everyone knows what this game is, and playing it as your trying to conquer that steep trail will certainly get your mind off of how much your legs are hurting. Ask each other ridiculous questions, and laugh about the answers. There’s even a small, Would You Rather book to bring along for the trip.
Especially if you’re hiking by yourself, it’s a great opportunity to try one of these new hobbies. Bring along a sketchbook, a camera, or a journal, and record your experiences.
Next time you go out hiking, try to keep your eye out for interesting wildlife. Get a field guide so you can identify different birds, and keep a little diary to write down your findings. It’ll make your average hike that much more exciting.
There’s nothing that goes better with waking up to the sunrise then a little yoga or meditation session. Even if you’ve never done any type of yoga before, or even if it’s hard for your mind to stop running, just sit on top of that mountain or wherever you are, close your eyes, and listen to the sounds. It will really allow you to connect with your surroundings.
If you’re not too attached to the look of your bag, then bring along some Sharpies and write messages on your group members’ bags about your favorite memories or inside jokes from while you were on the trail. This way, you’ll never forget how much fun you had.
Next time you’re outdoors, try one of these activities!