I have a therapist: her name is nature

It seems sort of intuitive these days that nature plays a beneficial role in our overall health management strategy – witness the reports of people here in Canada heading to the outdoors (sanctioned or no) looking for physical and mental stress relief from the pandemic lockdown that began in March 2020.

Just today (April 17 2020) BC’s head doc Dr. Bonnie Henry shared some interesting stats showing that when the group restrictions came into effect in BC in March 2020, visits to parks increased, presumably as people looked to nature to address their physical and mental health needs. (I’ve included the graph below for the nerdy amongst us. The green line is park usage over time.)

Long story short: Nature nurtures us. Study after study has shown that we need nature in order to be our best selves. Nature affects things as measurable as our cardiovascular health (Donovan et al., 2013) and levels of anxiety and anger (Mantler & Logan, 2015).

So what’s that got to do with us, you say? When we here in BC have “flattened the curve” to the point where we are allowed more social freedom, we will once again be running our programs so you can get your nature-health-groove on. Spring is finally here, our trails are in fine shape, and we’re ready to share the peace and solitude of our Rocky Mountain paradise. The migratory birds are winging their way back north; the deer and elk are moving up the mountain as the snows melt; the world here is slowly waking up and carrying on the cycle of life that is as old as time.

Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

- Mary Oliver

When the time is right, meet us on the mountain. You belong here. See ya soon!

References:

Donovan, G., Butry, D., Michael, Y., Prestemon, J., Liebhold, A., Gatziolis, D., & Mao, M. (2013). The relationship between trees and human health: Evidence from the spread of the emerald ash borer. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 44(2), 139-135.

Mantler, A., & Logan, A. (2015). Natural environments and mental health. Advances in Integrative Medicine, 2(1), 5-12.

You belong here.

“You belong here.” Wow – how often have you heard that? If you’re like me, not often enough, especially in my experience as a post-divorce mature woman trying to find a niche in the outdoors world. After my divorce I felt like I had arrived at a new place in life, a bit battered and bruised, but ready to scope out new landscapes and sample the healing power of nature. But where were all the programs for people like me?

Even without factoring in a traumatic life event like divorce, I found it difficult to break into the hiking scene as a middle-aged woman. Back in 2009 I decided that my first big adult adventure would be to hike the Chilkoot Trail in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Sure, I’d been active all my life, and “did hiking” if you counted the miles I’d spent on prairie and foothills cow paths. Wasn’t hiking just an upscale version of that? Well, sort of, I guess. But I discovered that I needed to give a lot of thought to equipment, physical conditioning, and safety measures for a multi-day backpacking adventure. I had no idea how to prep for the trip and didn’t know who to ask. How much food should I take? And what kind? What warmth of sleeping bag should I bring? And what about bears? Plus I wasn’t 25 anymore so I needed a mature-ish approach. I needed advice about creaky knees and what kind of anti inflammatory to pack. I felt completely uninformed and afraid of looking stupid.

Back 40 Outdoor Events is built upon the premise that you can try new things and change your lifestyle no matter your age. You can gain confidence and experience and kick some outdoor ass, all in the company of people who have been there and seen that but didn’t get the t-shirt because they were all out of our size, dammit.

We don’t care where you came from; we care where you’re going.

Check out our programs and if it feels right, take a chance on a new direction. We’re here for you. You belong here.

See you soon!

-K-