In 2017 we traveled to Alaska and that is when I reconnected to the value of nature as a means of restoring my mind & body. I openly share with people that I love Vermont and I love exercise but I do not love camping and other "woodsy" related outdoor activities. My idea of camping is a hotel with no indoor hallways. My idea of outdoor fitness is running on pavement. Who knew it would take going clear across the country and outside of the 48 contiguous states to reconnect with an appreciation for nature.
When returning home my goal was to keep the same feeling I had on vacation in my daily life. Well it worked out for a while but I guess it is called vacation for a reason. Nonetheless, one way to get back to that fairly regularly is in nature. Because that feeling is peace, quiet, nothing else calling for your attention, nothing else to do besides whatever it is you are doing in nature which for me is never camping but always moving. So within two days of getting home I put our dog Austin in the car and set out for the first of many walks on the Trails Around Pittsford. All of them are super close to our house, relatively short and flat, all of which were a bonus of getting away with an aging dog who likes to believe he is 8. That summer we completed all the trails. The best one is the one closest to our home so we have done that one numerous times. If you are looking for a quick and easy solution outside of Rutland check them out: Trails around Pittsford
Last summer my nature consisted of a bit more time on the golf course which is a frustrating form of nature but very beautiful in its own way and certainly enjoyable in that when the going gets tough, the beer cart is probably close by. But I digress, last summer was hot and a great place to escape to on hot days is the mountain so the ONE, only one hike I did in the summer of 18 was Camels Hump and to this day it is the trek with the best view and it is just enough of a challenge to remind you that your workouts are working or that you better start getting more exercise. It was the perfect combination of everything you want in an active summer weekend day trip. Lets face it (in my personal opinion), once you get to the top of any Vermont mountain the view is essentially the same. The fun and the benefit is getting there, catching your breath, taking a peek and then seeing if you can get back down faster than you made it up! Camels Hump is 360 degrees of pure beauty on the edge of a rock. Make it a priority!
Now this summer has presented itself with many more opportunities to get to the mountains than I was planning on. First and most pleasantly was Mt. Mansfield. I happened to be in the area so instead of a day trip, I made it an overnighter and got up and down bright and early. This hike was just plain enjoyable as it was early enough to not be crowded and there is something fun about knowing you have been to the top of "that spot" when you see it from a drive you are making around the state, similar to Camels Hump.
And then there are the decent hikes in our own backyard which frankly were my least favorite. Killington. A group of us from the studio did this hike together so that was definitely the highlight, getting 10 people at varying fitness levels to the top. But when you have busted your butt moving up the Bucklin Trail to the peak and then out of state (or local) folks come galavanting to the same point in their bright whites after taking the chair lift, you lose your level of accomplishment fairly quickly. Nonetheless the Bucklin Trail is great and it sneaks up on you after a relatively level start. And Pico. I was reminiscing that hike at the start of the 4th of July holiday. I had done it a number of years ago, may I say decades so thought I would go for it again since it is so close and I had nothing else going on. The time and the people I met along the way was nice, the hike, meh but the peace and quiet, priceless. OH the snake sighting I could have done without but the run back down again confirmed that my workouts and level of fitness are on par for my cardiovascular and joint health at age 44.
The one place I have not made it to yet is Pine Hill Park . Talk about being close by. The last time I was there we were building a trail, that was definitely long ago and the only other time I had been there it had felt a bit more creepy than peaceful. So very soon I will head out there seeking serenity and shade from everyday life. The whole point of this is fitness appears in many different ways and sometimes with fitness we get relaxation and peace of mind and body especially living in Vermont. So as summer winds down and you are looking for things to do outside and closer to home, getting out in nature is the answer whether there was a question or not and regardless of you are seeking from your nature experience!