Whether you’ve been with someone for quite some time or just recently started seeing them, a backcountry date is a great way to test your compatibility. Not only is it important that you share the same passion for the outdoors (it’s hard to tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that you can’t see them all winter because you’re off chasing powder) but the challenges that the outdoors brings can reveal a lot about a person. Plus, adventure dates are the best dates! They’re unique, give the planner a chance to show off their skills and give you a chance to have fun outside of your normal settings.
I’m not saying only date people that are expert experienced backcountry athletes, but rather the individual should be at least interested in expanding their outdoor repertoire. So when planning a backcountry date, like any other adventure, it’s important to consider the other person’s skill and comfort level. If you’re bringing in a newbie, you want them to enjoy themselves so they feel inclined to explore this adventure filled world more. So here are some of my favorite backcountry date ideas (speaking from experience) that can work for all skill levels.
1. Day Hike With a Picnic at the Summit
Romancing and getting some exercise at the same time; multitasking at it’s best! Pick an appropriately difficult day hike; I prefer ones with a bit of a scramble that offer a rewarding view. Few things top the satisfaction you get when you’re standing on top of a mountain that you just climbed, and now you get to share that feeling with your significant other. Pack a small picnic lunch to share at the top. If you’re really looking to make an impression, choose to do an evening hike, pack some wine and share a glass or two while watching the sunset. A good mountain for this would be Ha Ling in Canmore, AB.
2. Mountain Biking; A Healthy Dose of Adrenaline
If you’re dating an adrenaline junkie then pick it up a notch and go on a mountain biking adventure! Mountain biking can be done by anyone, as long as it’s scaled appropriately; pick the right trail! You’ll have a blast ripping around and it’s always fun to try something new. Plus you’ll get to see if a person’s walk matches their talk; lots of people claim to be adventurous, now you can see whether it’s true or not. I would recommend biking from Canmore to Banff on the Goat Creek Trail and either taking the bus back, doing a car shuttle, or riding the Legacy Trail back. It’s an easy to moderate trail that pops you out by the Banff Springs Hotel. To amp it up, have lunch in town, visit the spa or the hot springs before heading back.
3. Backcountry Camping; A No Distraction Date
A girl who is willing to leave all modern day conveniences and wonder make-up free through the backcountry with you for a weekend is a girl you want to date. I’d reserve this idea after you’ve been seeing each other for some time. Backcountry camping can really push someone out of their comfort zone; a long grueling hike with a heavy pack, no showers and weather isn’t always on your side. This date will reveal how the person deals with challenges and discomfort, something key to every relationship in my opinion. It’s just the two of you and nature, so theirs a lot of opportunity for deep conversations with no distractions.
4. Try something new for the both of you; white water kayaking
Recently my boyfriend and I did just this, we both took a white water kayaking course over a weekend. Neither of us has any experience in this sport and always has an interest in trying it out. Trying something that is new to the both of you is awesome because it gives you an experience to share and bond over and you’ll both be starting at the same level. Kayaking worked for us because we both like adrenaline and its healthy to try something new now and then that scares you. We had so much fun, that we’ve signed up for a follow up course in the fall! Again, you’ll get to see how a person reacts when pushed out of their comfort zone. Hopefully they don’t turn into a psychotic crazed being!
Save the best for last. This is the Hail Mary of all backcountry dates. You get the best of both worlds; fun outdoor activities with some modern day conveniences. For me glamping is camping but replace the tent with something a step above, for example, hut camping or tipi camping. Hut camping is ideal because it still involves a hike into the wilderness, except all you need to bring is your sleeping bag, clothes and food; the hut is equipped with more cooking appliances than your kitchen at home and the sleeping arrangements are better than a thermo-rest. The hut can act as a home base from which you can do day hikes. A couple campgrounds in Alberta offer tipis to camp in at a regular car camping site. We recently stayed in some at Crandell Campground in Waterton. Although it is car camping, it still offers a unique experience with the opportunity to take in various day activities. Because you have more freedom with what you can bring (not limited as much by weight), pack to impress! I’m talking about wine, cheese and gourmet meals. One thing I’ve been meaning to do is pack up some margarita mix for the patches of snow left at higher elevations.
Many of these dates can be combined, or swapped out with other outdoor sports like climbing, bouldering, canoeing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The beauty about sharing interests in outdoor activities is that the options for dates seem endless! So if you’re lucky enough to have a partner that is eager to adventure outside, get at it with a few of these ideas!