Weakest Link Syndrome refers to the experience of feeling like you’re the slowest one in the group and that it’s harder for you than it is for other people.
The origins of this term are under debate - I learned it from my husband Luc who credits his friend Erica, but Erica says it didn’t come from her! It’s a hot debate. Regardless of its origins, the experience of Weakest Link Syndrome is extremely common, very relatable, and there’s no shame in having it!
Let’s unpack what Weakest Link Syndrome looks like and the strategies we can use to work with it.
Whether we’re out skiing, biking, or backpacking, many of us have felt like we’re the slowest person in the group. Think of it as anytime you feel like you’re the ‘weakest link’ in the group. This could be struggling to keep up, learning new things, or being a beginner at something when you feel like you ‘should’ be further...
Whether you’re dreaming of days in the mountains, along coastlines, or through the desert, planning your first backpacking trip is an exciting process. Congratulations on making moves toward this rewarding new hobby! To make your experience as positive and fun as possible, it’s important to find a beginner-friendly backpacking route that suits your experience level.
Here are some tips for finding the best route for your first backpacking trip.
When looking for ideas for your first backpacking trip, where should you start? Good news: there are lots of great resources to identify beginner-friendly routes. As you’re researching, try to find information about the same route from multiple sources. If you find broad agreement across several sources about a route, you can feel more confident in that information.
Pop into a local...
After you have gained a full picture of what risks you’ll be dealing with on your trip, you can then formulate your risk and emergency plan. In order to do that, educating ourselves around risk can build our confidence and mitigate the real risks we might face. For backpackers of all backgrounds and experience levels, the best thing you can do for your own safety is planning and preparedness.
Before diving into this post, read up on the basics of risk management and safety in our previous post, which will lay the groundwork for this discussion. In this post, we’ll get into more detail about specific concerns as well as creating your risk mitigation plan.
In our last blog post, we talked about how to identify risks and introduced the idea of each major risk as a (metaphorical) lemon. Consider creating a document with a list of risks and how severe the risk is (i.e., how...
Risk management is one of the most important elements of planning for backpacking trips. Whether it’s your first trip or your two hundredth, spending time thinking through the hazards you might encounter and what you’ll do about them is essential both for your own safety and for those with you.
While you can never completely eliminate risk, appropriate planning means you will be more prepared if something bad does happen. Having a safety plan can mean big wins like smarter decision making, shorter time to receive rescue assistance, or the ability to handle the situation on your own without needing outside assistance at all.
Let’s dive into principles of risk management in backpacking and how you can manage your safety proactively and mindfully.
The first step to managing risk is thinking through and understanding what risks will exist on your trip. Thorough risk...
After a challenging day of backpacking, many people experience soreness around their hips. While sore hips are an extremely common problem for hikers and backpackers, the pain can put a damper on the rest of the trip. Thankfully, there are solutions! Let’s talk about what causes sore hips, then we’ll break down what you can do about it.
Our hips are key for powering the action of walking. They propel our legs forward and keep us stable and balanced. When you spend a long day out walking in the mountains, that adds up to a lot of hip exertion.
But it’s not just the long days. Backpacking adds another key ingredient: weight. Most of us don’t carry around 20-30 extra lbs for hours (or days!) at a time, but that’s exactly how we’re spending our days out on the trails. Our hips have to work much harder to power us with that much extra weight.
Spring is here. The thaw is in progress. The snow is gradually retreating from the peaks and melting its way into streams. Plant life is beginning to burst joyfully from the soil. And we humans are getting our first real taste of the intoxicating effects of brighter days.
With the promise of summer only a few weeks away, planning warm weather adventures is in full swing. It’s so exciting to feel the anticipation for all of these and experiences on the horizon.
The shifting of the season fills our spirits with renewed energy for life, but as with anything, we can have too much of a good thing. The burst of energy might have us overcommitting, overstressing, and setting ourselves up for a frazzled, frantic summer instead of a season where we thrive.
Yes, summer is precious. If we don’t make intentional plans, time can slip through our fingers and we can miss beautiful opportunities. On the other hand, swing the pendulum...
A couple months ago I announced on Instagram that I was going in search of the perfect sunrise simulating alarm clock. I've had a sunrise alarm clock for years, but it wasn't perfect: Luc was fed up with the finicky buttons on it, we were both tired of the only 3 alarm sounds it offered, and it always bothered me that the clock light stayed lit -- I prefer a completely dark bedroom.
So I decided it was time for an upgrade. I couldn't believe how many sunrise alarm clocks there are on the market now -- this is a growing market with way more options than 5 years ago. Many of you have been following along on the journey and pinging me to share my findings - I'm happy to say that I've finally come to a conclusion and have my top three to share below!
What is a sunrise alarm clock?
A sunrise alarm clock (also known as a dawn simulator) is an alarm clock that turns on gradually, increasing light brightness over a period of time - usually 45-30 minutes before your...
Wow, I just had the chance to sit down with Kaitlyn Kasso and had a really fun time! Kaitlyn is an awesome photographer that helps women develop their personal brands. You can follow what she's up to on Instagram @kaitlyncassocreations. She also runs the Inspired by HERstory Podcast: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.
We talked in detail about my first time in the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, both of our experiences with imposter syndrome, and what it's like to be a beginner in the outdoors. I really think there is a bit of something for everyone in this episode!
The podcast interviews keep coming and this has been a fun one! Recently I was honored to be a guest on the Packrafting Podcast, sponsored by Alpacka Rafts and hosted by the wonderful human and new friend that is Dulkara Martig.
As the title implies, the Packrafting Podcast content is anchored by the guest and host connections to the sport, though, I feel confident that even if you aren't a packrafter you will find inspiration and relatable content within the dialogues that take place here.
The episode I was on is titled: The Magic of Alaska, Mental Health, & Overcoming Fear.
Luc and I had lots of ideas about potential summer trips for 2020, but when COVID hit and rural villages across Alaska shut down-- with rightful concerns about limited medical infrastructure and intergenerational trauma from the Spanish Flu-- we knew we needed to adapt our recreation plans to keep us self-supported, out of villages & on the road system.
Luc put his trip-planning skills to work and came up with a ~350 mile loop that started & ended on the Haul Road, got us out to the Sadlerochit Mountains (which we'd wanted to explore since we floated past them in our 2017 Arctic Refuge Traverse) and incorporated a food drop that some friends of ours already had planned. We pulled in Will Koeppen (the pics in this post are Will's, & I'd encourage reading the daily journal entries he posted on his Instagram, starting here) and hit the road.
My biggest take-away from this trip was how well the nervous system and mind/body...
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