cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


300 A Dose of Outdoors 2010-10-29

Gem Lake RMNP

I spend my day like so many other Americans, staring at a screen. I look at words and code all day long. Even though I only write about topics that are interesting to me, the screen is still lifeless. With painstaking effort I try to breathe life into the flickering panel. Hopefully the reader will feel the moment, but if the writing does not motivate the reader into going outside and doing something, then I missed my mark.

But, if I am not careful, I miss an even larger mark - my own sanity. As I preach to all who will listen to take a hike and climb a mountain, I sit in a little room by myself all day long. My office worker is my dog, Jake. I have writing blocks, I have brain spasms, I have unsolvable coding errors, and Jake just listens patiently. I tell him about my problem, but all that he wants to do is to go outside. I buckle down and try to continue, but still see just a screen - no life and no answers. Jake insists, he knows what to do and finally coerces me into joining him.

In the backyard we play squirrel, a cute flying squirrel toy made by Chuckit. To Jake's delight I throw the squirrels and he chases them. After a few rounds of chasing the squirrels, we go for a walk. I talk to Jake for the entire walk. Suddenly answers begin to appear. We continue to walk and soon an "ah ha!" moment inevitably occurs. I increase my gait and soon we are almost running home. I feel fresh. I have some possible answers. All I needed was a good dose of outdoors.

In a HealthChange.org article "The Best New Prescription for Health? The Great Outdoors" the author explains:

"Doctors and the medical community are catching on to this idea, "prescribing" nature and the great outdoors as a way to prevent and treat depression, cancer, heart disease and other medical conditions.

But it doesn't just mean a white slip of paper with the words "go outside" from your doc.

"Prescribing instructions are considerably more detailed than ones you might get with a medication; they include the location of a local green space, the name of a specific trail and, when possible, exact mileage," writes Daphne Miller, an associate clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco in a Washington Post article."

As humans we are creatures of the earth. We are a part of the environment. Yet, we work hard to buy conveniences to lessen our contact with the elements of the earth and distance ourselves from the outdoors. As alien, as "ET", we sit in our cubicles with no way to phone home.

For your health, make time to step outside. Go for a walk, hike, run, or bike ride. Search yourself as you travel for the answers to the issues you face. And, please, don't forget your friends, spouses, and children - they too will benefit from this miracle new prescription: spend two hours outside and call me in the morning!

I am just wondering, if I can find a Doctor to prescribe: "take six months and walk the Appalachian Trail", will the insurance company help pay for the trip - minus the deductible of course!

Happy outdoor prescription trails.


Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: