Hi everyone! So you guys already know that I think a lot about social media and the role it plays in the outdoor industry (and I write about it a lot too). This week, I’m revisiting the topic of social media but from a different perspective; specifically, I want to examine how outdoor enthusiasts are perceived online and the ethics of geo-tagging. To help me do this, I’ve asked Logan from Her Oregon Life, a super cool outdoor badass with a significant Instagram following, about how wilderness and social media go together in her mind.
So who is Logan anyways?
As I said, Logan is the outdoor adventurer behind the blog Her Oregon Life. The outdoors have always been a part of her life, and she was introduced to it in more ways than one.
“I was first introduced to camping when I was a young girl. I grew up in Wisconsin. My parents got divorced when I was six, so the outdoors meant two different things to them. My dad is a big outdoorsman as he hunts and fishes year round. While it wasn’t “hiking” to me at the time, we spent a lot of time walking in the woods, setting up his hunting shelters and managing the land we own. I hated getting put to work, but my dad was always teaching me lessons about being out there, which I now realize as an adult. My mom and stepdad would take us camping which consisted of our pull-behind Jayco pop-up camper. Now referred to as GLAMPING! We had hot showers we could use, running water, and even a pool at the campground. These are now the types of places I avoid, lol.”
We’re all just trying to balance the outside with everything else
When it comes to social media, it can feel like everyone is ALWAYS outdoors; the people you follow are out there hiking mountains and visiting beautiful destinations, while you’re working a 9-5. This is the perception that social media propagates, and honestly, it can feel pretty discouraging. While frequent or continuous outdoor activities may be norm for a small handful of people, it is not the case for most of us.
The reality is that many of these outdoor people, Logan included, balance their time between outdoor adventures and an everyday life that much more resembles our own.
“I work full time in sales and marketing for a home health and hospice agency in my community. I get to work from home, which offers flexibility and I have a loving partner Benji, of 4 years, and two dogs, Patsy and Gouda. We bought a home in October of 2017 so that takes a lot of my free time (re-models, yard work, cleaning, etc.). My blog has turned into a part-time job, which I devote about 10 hrs a week to.”
Despite this, Logan still finds time to get outside. “I typically get one after-work hike in a week. We have quite a few 5-15 minutes from my house I can choose from. When the sun is out longer, I am able to get hikes in that are about an hour away. Typically, I go on 1-3 weekend trips a year. Weeklong trips are about 4-5 a year.”
The key here is making time for the outdoors, where and when you can. If a quick after-work hike is all that is feasible for you right now, prioritize that and make it happen. If you have the time and resources for longer trips, make the most of them!
We all have a responsibility to protect the outside we love so much
Highly photographed and Instagram-ed destinations are at the risk of being loved to death – a circumstance Logan is very familiar with.
“I have worked with my local travel organizations to drive people to our area, which has its positives and negatives. I have tried to urge them to work closer with Leave No Trace to help educate our tourists before they visit. The more popular areas that have been popularly photographed on Instagram see the most traffic and the most damage unfortunately. A prime example is Sahalie Falls – people crawl underneath the fence to get closer to the falls. Over the past 6 years I have watched the moss get completely killed as a result.”
A quick scroll through Logan’s Instagram page and you’ll see she rarely geotags.
“I want people to do the research. When I had 100 followers I was geotagging locations. The conversation around this hadn’t started yet, and as I started to get more involved in the outdoor industry, I realized the negative impact geotagging had.”
“While I want everybody to be able to enjoy the trails I do, I want them to properly prepare for their visit. Geotagging can be dangerous in a way that someone can want to replicate an image I posted while not realizing they don’t have the skill level to complete said hike. Plus, if you read blogs and trail reports, you can learn more about Leave No Trace, trail terrain, and what you need to be safe.”
Finding adventure in Oregon
I can’t interview the blogger behind Her Oregon Life without asking about adventure activities in Oregon (a state I have personally never been to).
For her favourite day hike, Logan recommends “Tamlolitch Blue Pool, the first hike that I did here. Plus, it’s on my favourite river in Oregon, the McKenzie.” For multi-day hikes however, Logan says “Wallowas, Three Sisters Wilderness, and Jefferson Wilderson offer the best backpacking areas I have explored in Oregon.”
Before going out in the Oregon wilderness, Logan has a few words of advice.
“Be prepared for the weather. Plan to eat lots of good food, the Willamette Valley is known for being a mecca for locally grown food, beer, and wine.
“My advice to new hikers is don’t go buy all the gear at once. The more you hike and get out with people more experienced than you-you will learn what you need and what you don’t. Stick to the 10 Essentials first, and build up from there. Also know that you do not need to look a certain way or have certain name brands to get outside.”