Getting comfortable outdoors: 10 simple things to do

You don’t have to be a landowner or live in the country or woods to enjoy the outdoors. Here are 10 things that will get you going outside and maybe even learning new skills.

  • Hike locally. You might not have to go far to find a hiking trail or dirt road. Check for no trespassing signs. The Chamber of Commerce or tourist bureau might have maps if you live in a populated area. The University of Maine’s forest and bike trail is my old walking grounds.
  • Go for a dawn or evening ride to look for wildlife. Animals are more likely to be seen during the coolest parts of the day. Find a quiet road to drive and pull over to let others by when necessary.
  • Take a paddle craft (kayak or canoe) class. When you’re comfortable with your new skills, borrow or rent a craft, PFD, and paddle and go for a spin. No need to spend hundreds of dollars to find out you don’t like paddling.
  • Learn a new bird or butterfly each week. I suggest borrowing  identification books from the library before buying. See which one(s) you like best before sending money on a book you’ll be disappointed with a month into birding. You’ll be surprised at how much time passes while birding.
  • Is there a land trust nearby? I didn’t know about Woodie Wheaton Land Trust only 25 miles from me until a month ago. They offer a lot of guided activities this summer that are good for people of all skill levels.
  • Learn a new wildflower. Leave early when you’re going somewhere and notice the wildflowers along the way.  Again, borrow books from the library to help you decide how

    This Great Blue Heron perched in a dead larch beside my pond.

    interested you are in wildflowers.

Violets

Violets

  • Cook outdoors. Spend your time outdoors, not running back and forth to the kitchen. Sit down and relax with one of those bird, flower or butterfly ID books and glance through them while your meal is cooking.
  • Start a nature journal. Find a sit spot (simply-a spot to sit) and quietly observe your surroundings. Look at the trees – hardwoods have leaves, softwoods have needles. Needles are short to long. New growth on softwoods is brighter, lighter green than the rest of the tree. Write down your observations. You can sit five minutes or for hours; that’s up to you. At this time of year you might need bug spray or a Thermacell.

New growth

  • Maine offers free fishing on specific weekends during the year. It’s this weekend and the weather is gorgeous. If you can borrow a fishing pole you can try your hand at fishing without investing in a license.
  • Set up a butterfly feeding station. It can be as simple as a plate with mashed brown banana or applesauce, or even just the banana peel. Most any fruit that’s past its prime is a gourmet meal for butterflies. Don’t let it dry out. You can add a bit of molasses to the mix for more nutrients. There’s no perfect recipe. They’re butterflies; if you mash it, they will come.
Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.