Well-intentioned people offer varied strategies intended to short-circuit the difficult process of “letting go,” whether it be of worries, pain, hurt, relationships, the past in general, or even prolonged grieving. The list of life challenges is endless, and suggestions for how to cope are endless too, yet have been useless in my own experience. I have learned that letting go is something that happens on its own time schedule, not because of trying harder.
In our travels with our camper, we have found state forests to be a great resource, often providing camp grounds where we had great experiences. Many have trail networks, one state forest we stayed at had a handicapped accessible overlook, and others were simply great spots to stop and enjoy the scenery.
On our way to a rail trail in Connecticut, we stopped by a state forest we spotted along the way and discovered a gem (and access to yet another portion of the same rail trail we had been headed toward). The James L. Goodwin State Forest in Hampton, CT offers multiple options for enjoying the outdoors. The boat ramp allows small craft to enjoy the pond. The Conservation Center, located inside the State Forest, offers education programs. When we looked at Google maps we realized that the Airline Trail passes directly through this same state forest.
Blue skies in winter can be deceptively cold. A clear, calm day with no wind is a joy, while a stiff wind can be a real challenge for any outing in these darker months. Our visit to Chase Farm in Lincoln Rhode Island offered a mix of weather. Windy on the wide open fields of this historic town-owned property, and Easy Walking in the sheltered spots tucked here and there along the service roads and mown paths that cut through the fields of this former pasture land.
In our western travels, a secondary goal to our spending time in Glenwood Canyon on the bike trail that wends its way through the canyon was to explore Carlsbad Caverns while we were in the west. For many reasons, including keeping crowds down through the pandemic, a visit to this National Park for the self-guided tour through the cavern requires reservations. Thus, our relaxed itenerary for this trip suddenly became a push to meet deadlines, dates, and specific times reserved to reach Carlsbad, New Mexico. This not only required excessive amounts of driving, It meant places we would have otherwise enjoyed stopping to explore were mostly by passed because we were pressed for time.
We had another goal on our travel beside bicycling in Glenwood Canyons, and that was to allow me to take the self-guided tour of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. From Utah, that’s a long drive, so we took our time and stopped a few places in between. Not on our schedule, but too good to pass up, was Mesa Verde National Park, which ended up being on our way. We spent two days quite nearby, allowing for more relaxed visiting of the park. We stopped near the end of October, when the park was essentially closing down for the winter, so some aspects of the park we had hoped to enjoy were unavailable to us. What we did see still made the visit worthwhile.
When we first built our adaptive tandem bicycle (thanks to Roulez Cycles of Lynn, MA) that comes apart into three pieces (thanks to the S&S couplings that are built into the bike), my huband started dreaming of getting me (and the bike) out to the Glenwood Canyon rail trail. He hoped we could ride on the rail trail that traverses the canyon alongside the Colorado River. It took three years, but we finally made it out to the canyon, and set out on the trail.
The trees are still leafless, but I see hints of red on the swamp maples at the edge of our yard. A recent walk in the woods nearby offered my first glimpse of skunk cabbage, just poking up above the leaf litter.
My collaboration with ABMI Cable 8 to bring viewers out on the trail with me has presented challenges. The biggest has been that winter is coming, and cameras do not do well in the cold. So we’ve been working to squeeze in our last few episodes before we have to take a break for cold weather. This episode we ventured to Choate Park, in Medway, MA. You can watch the show here.
Before the weather gets too cold for the camera to work well, we grabbed another sunny, temperate day to take ABMI Cable TV viewers up Knuckup Hill in Wrentham for an episode of “Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are”.
My friends, Richard and Dyan Rook joined me, and cameraman Tyler McMinnaman did the taping, bravely heading up the hill in front of us, walking backwards to better show us walking up the fire road. The final 28 minute episode is here.
We try to visit Acadia National Park every spring and fall in “normal” times, but this year has been anything but normal. Our spring visit fell by the wayside, like most everyone’s plans. This fall, we saw an opportunity, found a place (Windward Cottages) where we had stayed before, which had a full kitchen, firm! beds, and had been unoccupied for three days prior to our arrival. For a time during this pandemic Massachusetts residents were welcome in Maine, so we packed food for the week, planned to keep very much to ourselves, and headed to Mt. Desert Island, Maine.