How to Connect with the Outdoors Without Leaving Home
Published: April 20, 2020, at 5:15 a.m. PT
Last updated: July 6, 2020, at 2:53 p.m. PT
As a volunteer for the YMCA’ of Greater Seattle's Adult Outdoor Activity Program, Tom Sweetser helps Bellevue older adults stay connected to the outdoors. Starting in 2013 with a snowshoe hike to the Big Four Ice caves, Tom has lead groups on numerous hikes to the Issaquah Alps, National Forests, State Parks and Mount Rainier. Tom was able to complete one snowshoe trip and two ski trips to Snoqualmie Pass before Washington state's Stay At Home order went into effect.
Despite recent closures, Tom is still finding creative ways to connect his hikers with nature. Each week he shares a new virtual hike that they can take straight from the living room by walking in place or doing a few laps around their home.
We are inspired by Tom and, like the older adults he works with, really miss traveling to parks and hikes too. We're picking up his goal of giving nature lovers a fun, safe, and educational experience in the outdoors by sharing these virtual walks and hikes with you.
In Tom's words:
"We don’t need the van, 10 essentials, bug spray or even your shoes. I suggest you fill up your water bottle, put this on full screen and start walking along!"
Virtual Hike of the Baker River Trail & Chain Lake Trail at Mount Baker (2.5 hours)
Virtual Hike of the Olympic National Forest (18 minutes)
4K Virtual Hike on Juan De Fuca Coast Trail in Vancouver Island, British Columbia (40 minutes)
Homebound Hiking Workout: Ideas for Staying Trail-Ready, from the Washington Trails Association