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Consider the level of effort and stress you are comfortable with, your interests and goals, the weather, and any potential accommodations and supports.

1) Decide on the Effort you want to expend. Decide how far you want to travel and how long you want to walk. Use the Flat Equivalent Length and search within the area where you are willing to drive to narrow down the options

2) Decide on the level of Stress you are comfortable with. Look at the amount of stress associated with different options.  Eliminate those that are simply impossible, and choose one that matches your abilities and interests / preferences, by referencing to your experiences on similar paths, trails, or routes.

3) Adjust for your goals today given your interstrs and preferences

Reflects also on experiences - 

  • In general, the more positive experiences you have on the trail, the more resilient you are... That means that you will be makes one more resiliente A less experienced wheelchair user might hesitate to pull a wheelie to make is over a 2" root in a slight downhill grade, but a more more experienced wheelchair user might become worried about getting over a 3" high root on a trail, especially on a section of trail that slopes downwards\

  • Interests and preferences Some people might find any unfamiliar trail to be stressful, while others might motivated by an adventure.   

4) Adjust for today's weather


CASE STUDY  The rocks jutting 2-3 inches out of the ground on the trail to the left in Chenango Valley State Park are not just a challenge for an inexperienced wheelchair user, they challenge Margot because of her poor vision and balance.

5) Consider accommodations can help to decrease stress

  • Slow down The simple accommodation of slowing down or giving yourself more time to complete  trail can help to decrease stress in  specific section, or across an entire trail

  • Take a break Plan a rest stop partway through your walk, on a bench or even right on the grass

6) Consider other supports can also help to decrease stress.

  • Lean on me A walking stick or cane or an occasional arm to lean on can help manage a hiker unsure of their balance

  • Walk with a friend Walking, hiking, or cycling with someone who is more experienced and more comfortable can really help someone to manage their stress.

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