Yesterday was National Trails Day. Sorry not to give the heads up sooner, but I found this out while I was hiking on a trail and without WiFi access. If you can swing a hike today on a national trail, I’d take one. If not today, than soon.
Make a plan for next weekend if you must. It doesn’t have to be major hike, but give yourself enough time for your arms and legs to move in a rhythm with each other where you have time to find your stride. If there are trees around, a bit of nature, wildflowers, a bubbling brook–great.
On such a hike, keep an eye out for things you don’t normally notice. A spider web that’s stretched between two twigs, a large leaf clump high over head that marks a squirrel’s home, a bird’s nest, a butterfly that’s dipping down for a drink in a stream, the way water shimmers in the sun when it’s illuminated on a rock face. These are some of the reasons for taking a hike in Ohio where this picture was taken.
In New Mexico, it’s the smell of juniper berries and pinion trees and the steady progress as you make your way up the Sandia Mountains or the Jemez–or any other steep mountains in the state. There are switchback after switchback. Notice how the earth turns brilliant orange or deep red depending on the time of day and the angle of the sun.
However, even if you live in an urban area, make up your own trail in the spirit of National Trails Day. Head out on the streets on your own volition–much further than your parked car or the closest subway or bus stop or metro. See where you live from a more intimate angle. Say, “Hi,” to folks as you pass. See what’s going on and which people’s yards make you smile with their riot of flowers if you live in suburbs, or in a neighborhood like I do–not downtown, but not suburban either. If you live in true city terrain, see which people have planted flower boxes and have hung them on the windows of their brownstones. Notice the way your feet move along a sidewalk and the strength of your gait.
No matter where you live, a hike does good, which is one reason to celebrate National Trail Day one day late-plus it gives the exclamation “Why don’t you take a hike?” a positive spin.
When I was on my hike at Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills area of Ohio, thanks to the state park naturalist I was with, I saw treasures like spider webs that look like jewels clinging to the gorge’s walls and columbine, the tiny flowers that serve as a hummingbird’s drinking fountain. The flower he showed me had been used by a bee that had opened the petals further.
To help plan ahead, National Trails Day is always the first Saturday of June. Find a 2009 calendar and mark it.