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TAKE A HIKE Escape into Nature


with a Day Trip by Marlaina Donato


T


o many, hiking means long-distance treks through for- ests or backpacking remote terrain. “In reality, it’s more about getting out into green areas close to home,” says


Wesley Trimble, of the American Hiking Society. “It’s about immersion in nature.” Day hiking can be easily tailored to personal preferences and interests. “Excellent apps and websites list and describe trails in your area or community. We have a database on our site that’s helpful,” says Trimble (AmericanHiking.org). He’s personally high on old rail lines that have been converted to wide, accessible paths (RailsToTrails.us).


A Trail for Everyone


Whatever our location, age or fitness level, a hike can provide opportunities for calming solitude or connecting with people we care about. Individuals with disabilities can also get out- doors at accommodating trails such as those at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, in Delaware. There’s always some- thing to be learned in identifying wildlife and plants. “Families can enjoy time walking outdoors together in


ways impossible in other settings,” observes Verna Gates, founder of Fresh Air Family, a Birmingham, Alabama, outdoor activities educational foundation. “Nature aids in well-being in many ways.” She points to studies cited at NatureAndForest Therapy.org/the-science.html that reveal how trees emit enzymes into the air that help improve our emotional and physical health. “When I lost a child, the only place I found solace was in nature. Sitting in a patch of wildflowers truly brought me back to living,” recalls Gates.


14 Austin Edition AustinAwakenings.com


Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com


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