I grew up inside — opted for playing dolls in the spare bedroom or watching TRL with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch — instead of wilderness sleep-away camps and spending every moment running in the sunshine.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I was a kid. Of course, there were neighborhood bike rides, pool parties, and playing Cook with dirt and water down by the creek, but generally speaking, I was a house cat.

Top Tip to be Outdoorsy

The first time I went hiking, I was in college. I felt like the big, bad wolf, just huffing and puffing the whole way up. But somewhere past the exhaustion, I found something that totally hooked me. Or at least, it hooked me enough to reserve spots on annual retreats and trips that included hiking. I still wasn’t going out of my way to exasperate myself in my day-to-day life.

Fast forward to my 30s, I’m traveling the country, exploring every surface I can find. The thrill of the climb had become quite addicting. The ability to rise to a challenge. To do what you said you were going to do (enduring 100 switchbacks with a positive attitude is really a test of one’s character).

The views and nature were great, but the thing no one ever talks about is the refinement. Each trail can mark you, like water running through a cavern. Softening you while also strengthening you.

We are building the Indigo to make it easy for our guests and their dogs to discover the same thing. From our Borrow a Backpack station to the picnic-style breakfasts (trust me, once you’ve eaten brie on the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will be hooked too), we’re committed to helping you get out and explore the wonders of the area. All without ever having to leave your pup behind.

I know the trails aren’t for everyone. In fact, you may be thinking, “I am NOT outdoorsy.” Truth is, I wasn’t either. But the thing about being outdoorsy is that it is actually easier than it sounds to get started (and honestly, you’ve probably already done it).

Sure, there’s a time when you might stress about having enough water and leaving no trace, but way before all of that, you simply have to do one thing. Just one.

Go outdoors.

Congrats, you are now outdoorsy.

You can be outdoorsy by sitting on your porch, going to the local park, hiking a short trail, roller skating through the neighborhood, walking the dog, biking to work, and anything else that might interest you. You don’t need to fly out to Utah or climb Mount Everest. Being outdoorsy isn’t about the what… it’s about the where. And whenever you are outside, smiling because the sun is shining (or perhaps sweating because it is shining a little too much), you are officially outdoorsy. Welcome to the club.

Whether you are camping out at a brewery for the day, hiking the national park, or exploring the grapevines, it is important to know some general guidelines so that the space will be just as beautiful for the next visitor.

Tips to Recreate Responsibly

  • Know before you go. Check the status of the place you want to visit for closures, fire or dog restrictions, and weather.
  • Plan and prepare. Reservations and permits may be required for certain trails. Make sure you have the gear you need and a backup plan. While it cannot always be avoided, we also try to minimize the amount of off-trail damage we leave, just so a group of hikers can get around us. It helps to get there early!
  • Build an inclusive outdoors. Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
  • Respect others. There is space for everyone and countless outdoor activities. Be kind to all who use the outdoors and nature differently.
  • Leave no trace. Respect the land, water, wildlife, and Native communities. Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles.
  • Make it better. We all have a responsibility to sustain the places we love.

While most of these tips are geared toward national park usage, they naturally apply in our day-to-day too. We can all #recreateresponsibly.

I have to give credit to my father-in-law for his guidance on this. He taught me to pick up a piece of trash on every walk around Grammy’s park. What to look for so you don’t get bit by a snake. To notice the trees around you. To follow the rules when they are posted (but also how to look for places with fewer rules for when you are feeling froggy).

We hope that when you stay with us at the Indigo, we can help point you in the direction of your next great adventure. Nature was created for all of us, in every season. We can’t wait to explore with you.

Happy trails,