By Lucy Higgins • November 18, 2022
Get out and give back this holiday season.
’Tis the season of the Turkey Trot and flag football. But for those looking to push themselves beyond the typical Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday festivities, there’s still a wide breadth of trail exploration and involvement to be had this off-season. Whether you’re welcoming in winter or sticking to warmer paths, here are a few ways to venture out and give back through the holidays.
Bring the Whole Gang
In the spirit of family gathering, there’s no reason to hit the trails solo. In fact, you’ll likely enjoy yourself more with a little company. Try having a group discussion with family members or some close friends before you head out, so that you’re all on the same page about fitness abilities, comfort levels, and expected duration to be out. There’s no need to start with the Pacific Crest Trail—try an outing in your area that is someone’s favorite route or a new one to everyone. Taking a family hike can be an easy and cost effective way to slow down, enjoy conversation, and, most importantly, work up an appetite for holiday meals.
Dive In and Give
We’ve fully arrived in the season of giving—and there’s no reason to stop short when it comes to your trail involvement. Instead of—or in addition to—slogging through a snowy trail, an easy way to show your dedication is via a donation to your local trail organization. It’s a true testament to the saying, “a little bit goes a long way,” as trail organizations typically direct donations into projects like improving signage and trailheads, trail maintenance, or community events and races. A great way to tie in a donation this season is to do so in a loved one’s name as a gift.
Try a New Take
If the bike is packed away in the garage with the change of season, there’s no need to turn full couch potato. Instead, early winter is the perfect time to begin a new hobby that still gets you out and moving. Low-impact sports like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing offer lifelong participation, and have relatively low cost barriers to entry. You may even find that “off season” becomes your favorite one of all.
Take the Trip
Sometimes, the best holiday gift is one to yourself. If you’ve been on the fence about exploring a faraway riding, running or hiking destination, now’s the time to hunker down and get those details dialed in. With a long runway, it’s easier to find cheap travel and lodging deals and fully dive into uncovering new trails. It gives time to ask around, too; if it’s a location friends have been to, they likely have beta they’d be happy to share.