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Get Out! The art of Escaping for the Weekend

Words by Erin Sullivan, photos by Aly Nicklas

When my friend Aly asked me to get out to Indian Creek for a couple of days, I jumped at the chance. There is truly nothing like sleeping in the desert under the stars. Add good friends, new challenges, laughs, sun, and cramming it all into 48 hours, and you’ve got a recipe for a full weekend. I’m not a climber, but Aly is, and friends like her have the art of weekend “warrioring” down to a science.

The concept of the weekend warrior came to my attention when I took my first office job last year. Far from the flexibility of seasonal gigs, the job meant I was now required to sit indoors from Monday to Friday—a revolutionary idea for me, as I transitioned from leading trips as an outdoor educator to seeing the office side of things.

“A weekend warrior, to me, is someone who makes the most of the time between Friday night and Monday morning—someone who unplugs, gets after it, and fills her weekends with sunshine, grit, and campfire.”

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A weekend warrior, to me, is someone who makes the most of the time between Friday night and Monday morning—someone who unplugs, gets after it, and fills her weekends with sunshine, grit, and campfire. The elements are different for everyone, but whether you’re a mountain biker, climber, or car camper, there are themes that everyone shares. You’re doing it for the love. For the sand between your toes, the last push up the mountain, and the cold beer at the end of the day. For the bumps and bruises you get on your first crack climb … like mine, last weekend. As far as principles go, here’s what I’ve soaked in:

Make a Plan

Why are you weekending? Is it to relax or to crush a few peaks? Both? Do your research so you know where you are going and roughly what to expect when you get there. Leave enough flexibility to go with the flow in the event of plan mishaps. And if the plan sucks, change the plan!

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Trying to accomplish too much is something I’m definitely guilty of. My weekend trips have taught me to let go of the impulse to overdo it. And if I know it’s going to be a physically demanding weekend, I’ll mentally prep for it so that I’m still functioning when Monday comes around.

Have Your Gear Dialed and Know Your Essentials

Everyone’s essentials differ, but having your pack ready to go so you don’t have to pack the same things every single weekend is a huge timesaver. Build your toiletry kit and your spice kit with stuff that enhances your life (and your breakfast burrito).

Put together things you’re going to need and keep them in a grab-and-go location. Don’t forget the hot sauce, fire starter, and batteries. For me, there are always a couple of items I seem to forget more often than I’d prefer, so I stash extras (ahem, lib balm and lighters) for myself to avoid that unfortunate moment of realization at camp.

Flexibility is Key

Your timeline may not be flexible, but you have to be. Things will go wrong. You will forget things and it’s OK to not be an expert. Trying new things is your friend—you don’t have to be the best at something to give it a go. Give yourself some wiggle room for unexpected delays, less-than-ideal weather, and surprises along the way. It’s all part of the adventure, and you’ll have a better time if you aren’t taking yourself (or your weekend) too seriously.

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Rocking the weekend warrior lifestyle requires planning and the right amount of efficiency, but the most important factor is the willingness to get out there and try something new. I came back from my recent weekend in the desert pretty wiped out, but refreshed from the desert sky, new ways to push myself, and friends, both old and new.

Article by Erin Sullivan of Erin Outdoors, and photos by Aly Nicklas.


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