By: Korrin L. Bishop
In the age of Instagram, if you haven’t summited a mountain, put your feet in the ocean, kayaked three lakes, hiked 20 miles, and then had a beer under a starry sky all by Monday morning—well, you’re not truly living. Social media has given visual rise to the “weekend warrior,” that special person who after a long workweek can dig deep and power through multiple adventures before having to clock back in again. Soaking up the most from your weekend is definitely something I can get behind. I love being outside, exploring, and being active. But, what if you’re not a weekend warrior? Can you still go weekend warrior-ing?
I was born without a sense of urgency. I like to take my time. I can be a bit slow moving. When I visit places, I tend to fully soak in one experience rather than seeing all that there is to see. When it comes to being a weekend warrior, this lack of urgency can be a bit incongruous with the task at hand. I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that maybe I’m just not a weekend warrior. However, in embracing this, I’ve also learned a bit about how I can nevertheless go weekend warrior-ing. If you, like me, are a bit more of a meanderer than a sprinter, here are some tips on how to make the most out of your adventurous weekend.
Last summer, I learned about the Circle of Discovery, seven national park service sites in southern Oregon and northern California that can be traveled in a loop: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Redwood National and State Parks, and the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
One long weekend, I set out to loop three sites I’d hadn’t been to yet—Whiskeytown, Lassen, and Lava Beds. I ended up leaving a bit late (go figure), but made it to Whiskeytown in time for a lovely lakeside sunset. The next morning, I headed to Lassen. That’s where my attempts at being a weekend warrior started to fall apart. Lassen, it turned out, was one of the coolest and most beautiful parks I’d ever visited. There was so much I wanted to do there. I fit in as much as I could the first day, but by the next morning, I had to make a decision: keep exploring and give up on making it to Lava Beds, or promise to come back someday and get on the road.
If you’re going to be a weekend warrior when you’re not really a weekend warrior, it’s important to remain flexible. As much as I’d wanted to power through the loop, I decided to change my plans and soak in a bit more of Lassen while I had the chance.
All weekend warriors should be prepared for their trips, but weekend warriors who aren’t really weekend warriors should be particularly prepared. Part of lacking a sense of urgency means occasionally getting a late start. For me, this has led to some great adventures. However, it has also meant sometimes hiking in the dark or getting started after a rainstorm has already moved into the area.
To make sure I’m prepared when being a slow-moving weekend warrior, I always keep my Vagabond pack stocked and ready to go with some essentials, including a headlamp, rain gear, a compass, and extra snacks. That way, when I inevitably linger at 10,463 feet on Lassen Peak watching storm clouds roll in for just a bit too long, I can get my raincoat out on my shuffle back down the mountain and stay dry and warm throughout the adventure ahead.
When I didn’t make it to Lava Beds, I was kicking myself a little. I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to make that trip again. I started to be frustrated with myself and wished I’d gotten an earlier start or hadn’t lingered quite so long in that geyser basin. However, that kind of longing for a trip that wasn’t discounts the trip that is. Eventually, I chose to be compassionate towards myself rather than beat myself up over not having checked every box on my list. In doing so, I could then fully appreciate the incredible experiences I’d had in Whiskeytown and Lassen, and look forward to when I’d get to give Lava Beds the time it deserves.
If you’re weekend warrior-ing, but aren’t a weekend warrior, self-compassion is a key piece to pulling it all off. Be kind to yourself, and embrace the moment that is.
Not everyone is built the same. Some of us love the rush and thrill of a fast-paced weekend filled with multiple activities. Others of us move a little too slowly for all of that. However, just because you’re not a weekend warrior doesn’t mean that you can’t go weekend warrior-ing. With some flexibility, preparation, and compassion, even us slow pokes can make the most out of our weekends. So, non-weekend-warriors, unite—I’ll see you on the trail (strolling in after dark with a headlamp on)!
Korrin L. Bishop is a freelance writer with a focus on the environment, outdoor recreation, and social justice. She has publications in Misadventures, Adventure Journal, and Sierra Magazine. Learn more about her work on her website.