One of the best ways I’ve found to get myself outside and enjoying nature is to take up a new outdoor skill.
While some people can just adopt a new activity without investing much learning time, most of us need some coaching. That’s why I recommend learning your new skill from a true expert in a safe, fun environment.
Below are a few of my personal favorites.
Archery is on the comeback in a big way. It’s a skill that combines mental acuity, physical strength and coordination along with the pure zen-like joy of challenging yourself to hit the target whether it be for hunting or simply hitting a hay bale.
It’s a great skill for kids. I’ve loved archery ever since I was old enough to pull back a bowstring. Nothing brings me to my happy place faster than a good bow, a bunch of arrows and a target.
Check out Rough Rider’s Sporting Goods downtown. It’s got a full complement of bows as well as an indoor range. All skill levels are welcome and from ages 6 to 106. Lessons run $10 a half-hour. It’s also starting an afterschool program with Town Hall. How cool is that?
While you’re there, don’t forget to check out some of its other outdoor offerings, from backpacking and hiking goodies, to hunting gear and beyond.
Do you like the feel of air rushing by your face as you bounce down the mountain at high speed? Or just want a leisurely ride through the pines while checking out scenery as you go?
Good thing for us in Idyllwild we have a great mountain bike trail system, and a great cycle shop to help us get started.
The Hub Cyclery has a lot going on. Every Saturday morning it hold rides. Also, it is involved in many different biking events (including the Stagecoach 400 coming up in March).
If you’re interested in overnight “bikepacking” rides — like backpacking, but with a bike — ask in at the shop for tips and resources. It also rents out bikes so if you have friends coming up for the weekend, make sure to check out the Hub. Don’t forget to stop in the shop for your new mountain biking trail map.
Rock climbing and wilderness first aid: Let’s face it, we live in a rock-climbing mecca. Always wanted to learn rock climbing but didn’t know who to trust to take you?
If you’d like to learn but don’t have an inside connection with an experienced and safe climbing guide, spending time with Wilderness Outings will definitely do the job.
It has a history of more than 25 years for providing excellent outdoor classes, from rock climbing to backpacking and navigation. Its rock climbing guides are permitted to legally operate in our area and are also fully insured. Not everyone is, so new climber beware.
Wilderness Outings also offers more practical skills, such as wilderness first aid. It offer one of the top courses in Southern California. It hosts most of its classes right here in Idyllwild. This is one of the best such courses I have ever attended and I have taken a lot of wilderness first aid.
Note: None of these businesses solicited me for column space, I just happen to like them and what they do for our outdoor community.