Occasionally there comes a time, perhaps due to illness, weather, equipment or the like where an outdoor activity may need to be scaled back to accommodate the capability of the participant. I recently experienced this while recovering from a minor surgical procedure accompanied with anemia. I was literally going stir crazy from not being able to do much. When I was finally able to get outdoors I really had to scale things back while I recovered because I would still tire and get out of breath quickly.
During the couch-bound portion of my recovery I spent a lot of time researching new destinations and gathering updates for old favorites. I even helped spread news on Twitter about upcoming events or legislation that might impact paddlers. I inventoried equipment and stalked the Amazon Lightning Deals to score new or improved equipment. It’s how I scored an inflatable kayak to keep in the truck for spontaneous paddling.*
Once I could venture outside, the fishing bug bit me. Fortunately fishing is only as hard as you make it, but naturally I wanted to fish from the kayak that I could no longer load and unload by myself so I enlisted some manpower to do the heavy lifting. Once launched, I paddled upstream so the current would push me back downstream after I got too tired to paddle. Heading upstream I stopped frequently to rest and wet a line in promising spots. I was rewarded with a few Spotted sunfish for my efforts and it was enough to take the edge off of my fishing fever. After a couple of hours I slowly drifted back to the launch at the Chassahowitzka River Campground and once again obtained assistance with reloading my kayak. Hooray for volunteers & small victories!
Basic camping was pretty easy since I have a micro-camper. I would just pull into my spot, unhitch, drop the stabilizing support on the camper and plug in. I think if there had been any more effort involved I might not have been able to do it. I took frequent naps and only built a fire once. Instead of normal hiking, I would walk down to the river and pick a shady spot to watch the river drift by. In the evening I would count fireflies and smile when I heard owls calling.
I’m still working up to being able to hike again, so in the meantime I’m taking advantage of benches along the hiking trails at the state parks. Slowing down has given me a new perspective on the nature of adventure, for instance, now I’ve had time to lie in wait with my camera for the perfect shot of a manatee surfacing for a breath of air or a Heron taking flight. Slowing down has presented unique moments of their own – fireflies after dark, a deer swimming across the river and even a squirrel stealing an Oreo.
So if you’ve had to scale back your adventure, don’t despair. Listen to the advice of your doctor, take your time, ease back into it slowly and just enjoy the view. Don’t overdo it and take frequent breaks. And yes, it’s okay to take a nap if you’re tired. The trail will still be there tomorrow.
*Based on my personal experience with the product, I cannot recommend the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak