Cozy Club loves to have collaborators for our content (contact firstname.lastname@example.org to submit). This post is by Mauri Pelto, glaciologist, Dean of Nichols College, and daily outdoor explorer.
It is 7:00 am, I have to leave for work at 8 am. Today I load Gus, a 4-year old golden lab, into the car, toss him a treat and drive 5 minutes to a trail in the woods. There is a thick frost coating the leaves and quickly dying ferns. The key to enjoying the moment despite the chill are cozy and warm socks, hat, and gloves. After a slow 5 minutes of sniffing every bush, I let Gus off the leash and we simply run the trail. The woods are quiet, no wind, the few falling leaves trickle down without a sound. The forest does have a damp newly fallen, decaying leaves smell. At the turn around a single deer is grazing in the field, viewed from a hidden viewpoint on the trail. The return has the sun touching the top of the trees. We arrive back at the car, one more treat for Gus, and we drive home. It is 7:45, as Gus has breakfast and I have my first cup of home-brewed coffee, it smells good and is time efficient. This can be relished because of the smell and the warmth, remember, coffee is good for you. At 8:00 I am out the door to work, cozy is done for now. Maybe tomorrow it will be a trail on the way home from work in the evening.
When you think of hiking, you think of needing a fair amount of time. But what if you want to be on a trail and in the woods, or mountains, or desert everyday? My solution is trail running, not because I need to run, but because I want to go further than if I walked in the time available. And time is a limiting factor as I typically have only 30-45 minutes. Or maybe you like bigger hikes on the weekend, but don’t want to be a weekend warrior. Look for a good local, efficient place for running or walking with some exploring and observing, even if it is a neighborhood. This allows you to be comfortable on the weekend hike, your body and mind are ready for this longer more relaxing, more energy consuming day. Find the rhythm that works for you, maybe it is one long hike every weekend, with one being further from home and more challenging.
Savor the hike, but at the end of the hike have your senses savor something comfortable. It could be felt, smelled and/or tasted. On hot day it is coolness, on a cool day something warm. That is the transition to what is next. Often we think of hiking as a way on occasion to take us out of our comfort zone. This first entails working within our comfort zone and returning to it after. Back home from work writing this, it is the smell of baking bread in the bread maker that makes me feel like part of the cozy club.
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