How Experienced Hikers Can Discover New Areas

throwing darts

My finance professor in college told the class “picking individual stocks is like throwing darts.” He was big on mutual funds that grow over time and have less risk than individual stocks. It’s hard to pick an individual stock that you think will do well – in fact, some argue that you’re just as likely to hit a winner by throwing darts at the financial section of your newspaper and buying whatever you hit.

This same method of picking stocks can be applied to picking a hike. If you’ve exhausted all the hiking trails in your region, a great way to discover new areas is by hiking where there are no trails. The excitement of traveling into the unknown is just what you need to get that “rush” again.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Go to Google and do a map search an area you want to hike (let’s say Great Smoky Mountains).
2. Zoom in on the area you are interested in and make sure you are in Satellite mode.
3. Print the map
4. Hang the map on your wall (or a tree outside)
5. From 10-20 feet away, throw a dart at the map.

Wherever the dart lands, that will be your new destination. Odds are there won’t be an established trail that takes you directly there. The key is to go off trail and explore new areas to reach your destination. If you have a GPS unit, plug the coordinates into it. If you’re old school and use paper maps, then draw our your hike before hand. Hopefully you won’t have to park your car too far away.

Before you go, check the follow:
1. Make sure you will not be trespassing on private lands.
2. Bring the appropriate survival/backcountry gear.
3. Tell someone where you are planning to hike.

great smoky mountain map

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