Preparing for Safe and Confident Nature Walking Experiences  

Audience: Those shaping and sharing (while living and leaving) a legacy project (with its stories & contributions) for the world and/or with the planet like… SoloAgers - Empty Nesters - Continuing Educators - Professionals - Retired Creators - Olders as Elders - Grandparents - Intergenerational Contributors - and YOU!

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What’s core to your involvement in the outdoors is developing and following a safer preparation approach. It’s all about enjoying the experiences, about coming back with a smile on your face and not bandages on your arms. 

Preparation is all about the actions you take to avoid and reduce illness and injury before, during, and after a trip - a nature walk by yourself and/or with others. 

  • know what it means to be safe… and keep that picture forefront in your head and heart… mindset is 80+% of every trip prevention and preparation strategy…
  • know what it means to be safer… and keep that behavior forefront in your actions and the actions of those with whom you are walking…
  • know what first aid tips and skills you may need while nature walking on the day and with your walking companions
  • know what outdoor survival gear to carry with you and, more importantly,‌ how to use the gear to your advantage


Stay Alert to Your Preparation Approach

Preparation requires you to adopt behavior that lessens injury and illness like:

  1. model the behavior required by others… others are watching what you do, especially if you are managing the group or considered the experienced member of the group 
  2. anticipate what is ahead… play the game of ‘so what, now what?’ - so what might be around the corner?; now what do I do?
  3. stretch before leaving and starting up and returning… keep yourself limber because if you reach a little further than normal, you don’t want to feel a tearing 
  4. cool down after active involvement… simply walking around to cool off can make a difference; you don’t want to seize up and become stiff for the remainder of the walk
  5. review the weather before leaving... and consider the worst for the day for the time of year… get to know the weather of the area in which you are walking… what it is like at home may not be what it is like where you are adventuring 
  6. turn back if the weather deteriorates… it is foolish to carry on into inclement weather
  7. leave a margin for error in all activities… no matter how much you are prepared, there is something that will present itself; and how you deal with that something could make or break the trip
  8. ensure an ‘out’ is ever present… wherever you are, know how to get out… whatever you are doing, let people say ‘no’ to taking part 
  9. assume nothing – especially how others might or might not understand the consequences of their involvement… be clear in all things ‘group,’ which means keep the communication open and helpful 
  10. adopt a safe mindset and safer approach to activity involvement from the time you leave the vehicle until returning to the vehicle… repeat, repeat, repeat this point!
  11. take water, food and shelter to stay the night (judgment call)… it’s possible; be ready for an overnight – know how to spend a night at the temperature expected  
  12. advise someone where you are and when you will return… leave a note with someone giving them instructions where you are going and when you will be back – and don’t go for the beer when someone is expecting you unless you let them know
  13. remain brutally honest about your health and the mindset needed for the activity – just because you did it before doesn’t mean you can do it now – be alert to your well-being and its capacity to deal with the activity 
  14. check in with yourself and others – others dislike complaining and may grit their teeth and continue to do something even worse before admitting difficulty… give persons (and yourself) a gracious ‘out’ of the activity should the activity and participation ability not align 
  15. challenge your personal limits as a participant and when managing/leading a group… be attentive to what is within your defined limits and how much you will push those limits – risk is a part of living; too much risk combined with being unprepared is illness and injury waiting to happen

Suggestion to Improve Practice

  • Take each one of the 15 behaviours and think through its connection with your next trip.
  • When preparing a group for the trip, use the 15 behaviours to discuss what is possible.
  • Write your experience into your adventure journal to remember your learning and action.  


Keep Equipment Clean and Workable:
Show It Some TLC for Reliability

Make sure your equipment is clean and workable because you stored it correctly … seems simple enough. However, the number of times people have retrieved their equipment to find it moldy or rusted is beyond comprehension. 

Just as you fatigue over time, your equipment can fatigue unless you care for it … 

When called upon, your equipment must work for you!
It is not advisable to be surprised during the trip when the equipment breaks. 

A key suggestion is to keep an equipment log or equipment tag.
It does not have to be fancy. It can be as simple as:

  • Equipment Name:
  • Last Used:
  • Noticeable wear/tear:
  • Any on trip fixes:
  • Status:


  • Equipment Name: Day Pack 
  • Last Used: January 26, 2009
  • Noticeable wear/tear: Torn side pocket – webbing caught on tree when placing on ground
  • Any on trip fixes: Used some fishing line to weave the webbing together 
  • Status: Can continue to use as is – still functional to hold water bottle

Important: Make sure you detail what happened to your equipment. 

Then when you read your log or tag while preparing for your next trip,
you can decide if the equipment is still safely serviceable. 

3 Safety Acronyms When and Where You Are Walking with Nature… even in a Forested Urban Park, actually these acronyms apply everywhere. Acronyms are MAPLE (MAPLES) - before the walk, SAFER - during the walk, and STOMA - if an emergency arises. #naturewalking #walkingwithnature #safetymatters #saferpractices
3 Safety Acronyms When and Where You Are Walking with Nature

Nature Fun, Emergency Ready: Aligning First Aid Kit and Survival Supplies with Outdoor Activities  Audience: Those involved - considering involvement - with nature and they are researching ideas & insights to ensure a safe experience in nature through safer practices aligned with the outdoor activities. #SoloAgers #Agers
Nature Fun, Emergency Ready: Aligning First Aid Kit and Survival Supplies with Outdoor Activities

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Along the journey as you weave your tapestry, understanding StoryScope and Legacy are important concepts and practices. A quick reminder of both follow: 

Understanding the StoryScope

Our lives are stories waiting to be told, narratives that unfold with each passing day.

The metaphor of "StoryScope" invites us to view this narrative through different lenses. Just as telescopes reveal the vastness of the universe, microscopes uncover the intricacies of the microscopic world, stethoscopes listen to our vital sounds of living, our StoryScope allows us to explore and find the full spectrum of our daily existence.

Our daily lives resemble a kaleidoscope, with each decision, action, and interaction contributing to the ever-shifting, meaningful pattern.

As SoloAgers and seasoned professionals, you have a unique perspective on life's twists and turns. Your legacy is not only a reflection of your past-present but a blueprint for the future-present.

Legacy: The Useful Whats

Legacy is often associated with material wealth, but it extends far beyond possessions. Legacy comprises the "useful whats" we leave behind, including our time, effort, and money. These elements are the building blocks and seedbeds of our legacy, and how we allocate, plant them shapes the stories we share.

For SoloAgers, who have accumulated a wealth-wellth of experiences and knowledge, legacy is about passing on wisdom and lessons. Your is about preserving your story as it is about empowering others to write their chapters more skillfully. As professionals and educators, your legacy resides in the work you shared, the values you instilled, and the innovations you sparked.


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Embracing SoloAging demands both introspection and action. SoloAgers, Empty Nesters, Orphan Elders, Widows/Widowers can navigate this phase with confidence by understanding the core concepts and practices, addressing the challenges, and embracing the benefits.

They can forge a path that is uniquely theirs and one that encompasses personal growth, independence, and the creation of a meaningful legacy. 

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