Fitness & Mental-Spiritual Renewal
About a month ago, I had the opportunity to get the "true hiking" experience off my bucket list. For me, growing up in Brooklyn, the chances of going on a actual hike were slim to none. The closest thing I'd ever gotten to hiking, was recently when I visited a small hiking trail at a local park on Long Island, where I now reside. (This is a great place to visit if you are in the New York area and don't want to drive out too far. Click here for more information and a full review on Norman J. Levy Park.)
For this experience, my little sister, who is an expert at hiking compared to my rookie self, wanted to visit the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. It was a long trip there, about a 2 hour drive from where we live. My husband would give me an eye roll for this but, I actually enjoyed the long drive. It gave me a chance to doze off and gather some much needed energy before the intense physical challenge, I was going to be up against.
Days leading up to the trip, I remember my husband being super excited and very much into this whole adventure. If you know my husband, then you know that he's never the one to be too excited about something. This however, was right up his ally and something he's always wanted to do as well. Rain or shine, he wasn't going to pass up on the opportunity to partake on this experience. He made me aware of the fact that I needed to make sure I was prepared with the adequate "gear" for this kind of activity, numerous times. I of course, had no clue as to what he was referring to. Due to my lack of experience, I dressed for the day with whatever I had in my closet, which included my pair of Nike Haurache sneakers. Let's just say those were definitely not the smartest choice in footwear, AT ALL!
Nonetheless, going on this hike was something that was much needed, at just the right time. It had been a little over 2 months since my daughter and I had been abiding by New York State's "stay-at-home" order. The week prior to the trip, had been our 3 year marriage anniversary but, with everything going on and my husband having to work non-stop, we didn't do anything to celebrate. This was the perfect thing to do during a time in our lives in which each one of us, had been enduring effects of all the crisis' that had been arising among us. First, the global pandemic and just a few days before the hike, the murder of George Floyd, initiating a massive revolt against law enforcement in our country.
There's just something about connecting with mother nature in this kind of way that really gets to me deep within my body and soul. Now let me be clear, the physical workout you get from these hike trails, is incredible. It is absolutely nothing, like what I had imagined in terms of the amount of stamina needed to get through an entire trail. It's literally a full body training. Not to mention, the fact that it also challenges your ability to think quickly while you are trying to climb or go down steep hills in which, the so called "path" is primarily made up of rocks and fallen tree branches. There were many times I had to stop while the others continued ahead of me just so I could catch my breath. Call me crazy, but, seeing how much I was sweating and panting, exhilarated me. There's nothing that I love more than knowing that I am challenging my body physically, while increasing my physical endurance.
Yet, the most captivating thing of all, was the hours of escape from the current reality of life we've all been living. Being able to breathe and take in all the natural air, listening to the birds chirping, watching them fly in between the tall trees, feeling the leaves and the flowers in my hands as I brushed past the bushes, feeling the humidity in the air from the river along the path, and smelling that distinct smell of nature just transported me into what felt like a whole other world. For the first time in over 2 months, I actually felt at ease for a while. It was as if I had liberated all of my prior thoughts, worries, and emotions, letting them go into the Earth even for just a couple of hours.
All of that was amazing, until my husband noticed a family of black bears just a couple miles ahead of where we were walking. If you noticed in the video, my little sister was playing what she called "motivational" music during our hike. (According to her own theory, the loud music would somehow scare away any predators from attacking us. We all laughed in disagreement, of course.) She was also so determined to reach the very top of the trail. However, as soon as my husband, called out the bears, the rest of us turned right around and began our decent back down the mountain behind my husband. (Who by the way, was a long distance down ahead of us, within seconds!) Needless to say, that was our cue to get our butts back to the car and call it a day!
These are times in which we are all globally, feeling a load of uncertainty, emotional distress, and for many stress related to the inability to guarantee some form of economic stability or return to a routine for the future that lies ahead. Gyms unfortunately do not seem to be re-opening anytime soon (at least not in my area) and for the most part are not considered safe at this time. Hence, I highly recommend taking full advantage of the Summer season that is upon us and all the beautiful natural environments that we didn't have the time or privilege of exploring in the past. Today, I encourage you to research your area and find out what places are out there for you to visit. I guarantee you will get the best physical workout and most importantly in my opinion, an incredible mental-spiritual renewal...
...Sew This is Life!