Just shy of two years ago, I decided to go on a New Year’s Eve hike with a group of friends. I didn’t own anything moderately resembling a hiking boot, and the most recent hike I had been on involved a Girl Scout trip at the ripe age of 8. Nevertheless, I gathered my companions and set forth– it was the best way to celebrate the start of a new year, right?
Spoiler alert: The trip was transformative. We met at a trailhead in the Blue Hills of eastern Massachusetts, and as I skittered across the icy parking lot in sneakers with wool socks underneath, I was seriously questioning my sanity. We began a steady, slow climb through the trail, which was covered in pockets of ice and snow. I shivered in my makeshift layers, and felt the grip of anxiety as my friends coaxed me over sheer, icy rock faces. Hands numb and cheeks red, we snapped a few pictures at the top of the trail and began the descent.
For most moderately-outdoorsy humans, this would have been a fairly straightforward winter day hike. For me, it was an exhilarating chance to confront my total lack of experience. I may have felt panicked as I slipped down the trail, but I was hooked. I went out and purchased my first real pair of hiking boots (an older version of these) and clumsily began my foray into the wilderness.
I haven’t looked back. I spent the rest of the winter bundling up and driving from my Boston apartment to the Blue Hills every weekend I could, and took my routine road runs to the paved winding paths. I read every winter hiking guide I could find, and realized I had so much to learn. As winter turned to spring, then summer, I became more comfortable with being outdoors– and with myself! This one trip was the start of a journey to better health, greater happiness, and a new community of like-minded folks.
I’ll definitely share a few more blasts from the past, but in the meantime…. what’s your favorite local hiking spot?
Until next time,