Adventure Retreat Leader is a resource for Coaches, Speakers, Authors and Writers, Educators, Practitioners, and all Heart- and Nature-Based Entrepreneurs and Professionals. We offer teleclasses, audios, guidebooks and coaching; all designed to help you lead Outings, Adventures and Retreats in nature as a profitable part of your business.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Trail Tips for New Leaders

If you are a new Adventure Retreat Leader, you will likely start with a simple outing. The most popular outing for new leaders is a trail hike as part of a one-day or partial-day offering. Here are some tips that will help you find the right trail and be prepared:
  1. Get specific information about the trail that is as up-to-date as possible. Rely on books, pamphlets and/or guides with current information about the trail. If you are traveling a significant distance to the trail, find someone in the area you can depend on to give you good information.
  2. Consider reserving a trail for a day. If you are hiking a private trail on the property of a retreat or other type of facility, find out if you can reserve one of their trails just for you and your group.
  3. Consider using a trail guide. Some facilities will provide guides for your group for free or a fee. Many of these guides can give your participants information about the history of the area as well as the flora and fauna. Sometimes the guides have specific activities, like a rope course or a wildlife viewing station, that they can incorporate into the hike. This frees you greatly to provide the reflection or insight activities of your offering while the guide provides the more physical component.
  4. Be aware of seasonal changes that can affect the trail. Trail grooming conditions, high water, availability of fresh water, bug conditions and wild animal habits can change greatly over a season.
  5. Hike the trail yourself. Hike the trail before you advertise your outing to make sure the conditions are appropriate for your target group and that the trail has been well maintained. Try to hike the trail on the same day of the week you will be hiking it with your participants. Some trails, for instance, can become very crowded on weekends and you will not know that if you've test-hiked it on a Tuesday.
  6. Be honest with yourself about your test hike and share all information with you participants before they register. When someone in your group must turn back because they cannot handle the trail conditions, this has implications for everyone in the group. And, consider having a back-up friend along who can help those who must turn back.
  7. Hike the trail again. A day or two before your outing be confident that there have been no "emergency" changes to the trail. A trail can become difficult in a short time if the area has high winds, flooding rains, and other severe weather conditions. Also, a day or two before your hike is a good time to make sure the trail has not been closed for some kind of maintenance.
That's it. These are seven easy steps to a more successful hiking outing. As Patt says, see you at the trailhead!
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