The trails are calling

Spring has finally come to Western Massachusetts!  All but the grandest snow piles are gone and the trails are remarkably dry.  Yesterday I took my first run of the season up Mt. Tom and stumbled across a porcupine sunning itself on a slab of concrete that once served as the shallow end of a pool.  I couldn't help but think that only 8 weeks ago I was in that same spot skiing on what felt like bottomless powder.  How lucky we are to have this thing called seasons.  It seems that every time I get just a little bored of my outdoor routine I am blessed with a change of seasons and a whole new catalog of recreational activity.  Not that I'd be sad to get a few more ski days in this year....

That being said, I'm fully in spring hiking mode these days.  I just returned from an amazing week of backpacking in the desert of Southwest Utah.  I spent seven days away from my phone and all of my normal responsibilities.  It was glorious!  It reminded me how important it is for me to be in nature, to get away from the noise and stress of daily life and return to a simpler way of life.  I don't mean to sound trite, but it is simpler in the woods.  I didn't set my alarm just to wake up, slam a cup of coffee and put in a few miles on the treadmill before anyone else wakes up.  I got up with the sun, relished my single cup of coffee (since it took a lot of time and energy to make),  and consulted the map to figure out my route for the day with my fellow backpackers.  It was simple yes, but not easy.  Carrying 60 pounds of gear and food on your back is hard work and the miles go slowly but, because everything I did, and everywhere I went, was under my own power, it all tasted sweeter and lasted longer.  I was so present for those seven days.  It was almost meditative.  And at the same time it was really really fun.  Sure I wrote in my journal and had a lot of time for self-reflection.  But, I also sang a lot of 80s and 90s pop music (Pack it up, Pack it in was a trail favorite), acted out the pilot episode of a friend's newly written TV series (it's about cloning, a baby, a daddy and all that goes along with that - needless to say, excellent!), and told a lot of bad jokes. Those days of sun, sleeping under the stars, and carrying everything I needed on my back, were invigorating and got me so excited to get out and hike.  

And so The Venture Out Project is gearing up for our Thursday night Venture Out Series!  This series of events will be a regular Thursday night meet up where we will explore the local trails of the Pioneer Valley.  We'll start out the series with a bunch of area hikes and, if people are interested, will throw in some trail runs and mountain bike rides to spice things up.  The series begins on Thursday, April 30th.  We suggest a $5 donation which will go to fund Venture Out Project scholarships.  Sign up here and we'll forward you all the details.  See you on the trail!

Posted on April 16, 2015 and filed under Scholarships, Hiking.