This long weekend I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and explore all that nature has to offer. Especially with an unknown fall and winter ahead, it seemed like the perfect time to find the beauty of nature in Boston.
I've never been a huge outdoorsy girl. I went glamping once as a kid and real tent camping another time. Being in little to no shelter in a thunderstorm, with bathrooms a mile away and rocks underneath me while I tried to sleep, was not a pleasant experience. Needless to say, you will not catch me dead camping. I'm a bit too high maintenance for that. I did spend a decent amount of time on beaches as a kid and went out on the boat at my grandparents' quite a bit. I've always liked doing outdoor activities where I feel safe and in control, but have been trying to step outside of my comfort zone more lately. Life is just too short and being outside is free therapy.
On Saturday, I kept it simple. I went to my favorite beach and read for a few hours. Nothing really beats soaking up the sun, sinking your feet in the sand and smelling the ocean water. I went early to beat the crowds and was pleasantly surprised that it never really got busy. I could have stayed there all day, but had lunch plans that needed my attention. Although I left with a very strange sunburn, despite sunscreen use, it was such a perfect start to a wonderful weekend.
Yesterday, I checked out a local state park with one of my friends. Hopkinton State Park is about 35 minutes outside of Boston and is absolutely beautiful. Our first thirty minutes were spent walking the trails, followed by more soaking up of the sun while we waited to sign up for kayak rentals. Despite being excited to kayak, I was pretty scared. I psyched myself out so much that I had to make an extra bathroom trip (TMI I know). I've only ever been kayaking one other time in a harbor where I thought I was going to tip over and never make it back to shore. Thankfully, this experience was amazing! We got a double kayak, put all of our belongings in the front and were off before we knew it. I obviously had a life jacket on, but still felt a bit nervous, more so that our bags would fall in the water and I would lose everything. Since we were on a small lake, the water was fairly shallow and the shore was close no matter where you were. We got into a great rhythm and were gliding along the water. You might have even mistaken us for pros if you didn't know better LOL. We kayaked for about an hour and a half in total. It was a great workout and all in all just such a freeing experience. The wind whipping in my hair, the smells of all of the trees and the solace of the quietness was breathtaking. We ended the trip by laying at the beach for a bit. Once I got home, I was exhausted but exhilarated.
Finally, today I went to Blue Hills Reservation for my first hike! Similarly to kayaking, I was pretty nervous to do a real hike. I've been on plenty of trails, but have never actually climbed up a mountain. I went with a friend that hikes a lot, so that made me feel more comfortable. Instantly when we started going up the first hill, I could sense how much of a workout it would be. We followed the red trail to the blue skyline one. It was about 2.5 miles each way. The way up wasn't bad at all until we got to the final stretch. About halfway through the huge rocky hill, I felt myself getting weak and gasping for air. I could see the end in sight so told myself that I had this! With a few more pushes, I was at the top and got a bird's eye view of Boston, Granite Links and a beautiful reservoir. I felt so accomplished when I got there and was happy to find out that my face wasn't red (this usually happens when I exercise, thanks genetics). I snapped a few pictures to commemorate the success before heading back down. Going down was almost harder than going up (why do you go up on your way down?!), but once we were done, I felt so rejuvenated. With my first real hike under my belt, I can't wait to go on another.
Stepping out into nature this weekend was everything I needed. Although I feel tired now, in the moment, I felt so much peace, invigoration, success and plain happiness. It's amazing what being outside can do for the mind, body and soul. I am so glad that I dedicated the weekend to being outside, trying new things and embracing what this beautiful planet has to offer.
While out and about this weekend, I was able to reflect on how I view our planet and how I treat it. I have always been a big user of plastic water bottles, paper plates and plastic cups. Although I know it is awful for the environment, it is a habit that has been instilled in me for years. I tend to make excuses for changing my habits, but am going to commit to adopting better ones. It may take me a little longer to let go of the water bottles out of convenience, but I am going to try to stop using single-use dinnerware. My friend explained to me that if we are so quick to use single-use items, then how does that reflect on us as humans? Do we just exist while we are here or do we carry on long after we are gone? Personally, I want the earth to be as beautiful for my great-grandchildren as it is now. Sadly, if we don't all make conscious choices to change our habits, that may not be the case. Remember to reuse, reduce and recycle. Find ways to make your life and your home a little bit greener, even if it's just one paper plate at a time.
As we move into my favorite season of fall, I encourage you all to spend more time outside. Go for your first hike, ride your bike around town, rent some kayaks, go apple picking, go for a run, do anything really! Soak up all of the Vitamin D that you can before winter hits and we don't have a choice but to stay inside. Always wear your mask when necessary and be safe about your activities, but know that there is still plenty to do. I promise that you will feel ten times better and your body will thank you!
Call Me Miss Outdoors Now,