I have always appreciated spending time in nature. I’ve enjoyed hiking for as long as I can remember. But it was not until a few years ago that spending as much time as possible outdoors, at the tops of mountains, became my ultimate priority. It started innocently enough (the occasional lakeside lunch every once-in-a-while) but quickly before I even knew it turned into something so much more…

I found myself migrating to the mountains on Friday nights and reemerging in the city late on Sunday evenings (or if I was lucky, very early Monday mornings). And finally, I made the realization; my adventures could no longer be confined to weekends.

I vividly remember it, that late spring evening filled with sticky notes of summits, my living room floor smattered with topographical maps. My previous season had included 57 summits and even at that rate I would need several lifetimes’ worth of weekends and vacation days in order to complete my “must-do” list. That’s when I made the decision – I needed to become a weekday warrior!

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Step one:

Finding time!

The first step seemed to be more like a leap. I knew that my 9-5 was no longer going to cut it but I was also not willing to give up a career that I had spent years building. A very open and honest conversation with my boss along with a detailed game plan for the “restructuring” of my time, shimmied my workday to begin a few hours earlier (at 5:30 a.m. to be more specific). These extra hours in the morning turned out to be my most productive of the day and allowed for me to leave my office early which alongside a fortunate proximity to the mountains allowed for ample time in the afternoons/evenings to be spent outdoors. My first step was complete.

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Step two:

Preparation, preparation, preparation.

After work hiking has it’s own added set of hurdles (low light, late nights, missing dinner…), and now that I have a full season of trial and error under my belt (along with developing a hoarders approach to packing), I believe I have my evening summits down to a science. The night before I go on any adventure I will organize my pack, this allows me to zip out of the city straight from work without need for rushed packing and the worry of forgetting things as I run out the door.

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Step three:

Be accountable (and safe!)

I made a rule long ago not to hike alone. And although I don’t deny that rule has been broken on occasion, my preference is always to have a partner. Not only is it safer (especially when out during dusk hours when the wildlife is extra active) but also having someone counting on you really makes getting out of bed and to work before the sun wakes up an easier pill to swallow. As an added bonus, they also help a lot with the planning and preparation!

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Step four:

But is it really worth it?

Things don’t always work out. Bad weather will inevitably roll in out of nowhere, the days will get too short too fast, essential pieces gear will be left on the kitchen table and work will get in the way. Dinner plans get canceled in good weather pockets and sleep turns into an afterthought. These sacrifices allow me more flexibility in exploring my own backyard and frees up my long weekends and vacation days to head off of the grid and/or out of town guilt free. It isn’t always easy, it truly isn’t as glamorous as it seems…but for me, the life of a weekday warrior is here to stay.

Thank you for reading! I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you next week.

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