As “Stay at Home” orders proliferated throughout the U.S. in early 2020, busy Americans who had been everywhere except home suddenly found ourselves in the unaccustomed position of being “stuck at home.” We are a contrary people. Tell us to exercise, and we will persist on being couch potatoes. But tell us we have to stay home, and many of us suddenly can think of nothing we want to do more than to get outside—now! And yet…
We are getting out very little these days hoping to avoid interacting with the Covid-19 virus. We are working from home, and making few social plans. After supper we headed out on a quick errand, and ended up doing a little exploring close to home. As we turned onto Mellen Street, off Grove Street in Bellingham, we hoped to find an access to the Upper Charles River. The sign said, “Bridge Out.” We stopped the car and continued on foot to see how close we might get to the river.
For many years Marjorie Turner Hollman has been seeking out Easy Walks throughout southeastern Massachusetts, where she lives. She’s written a series of local trail guides detailing multiple small and larger trails within these areas, and shares helpful information about how to find trail heads, describes trail surfaces and items of interest, indicates where dogs are welcome, and notes how long trails are. Those with mobility issues are her primary audience, but included within that audience are older folks, younger parents with small children, and those recovering from recent injury.
An imagination is a terrible thing to waste; I practice using mine every day. At times well-intentioned people have advised me to “just relax.” If it were so easy, I would have become calm and serene long ago, unruffled as I anticipate life’s challenges.
For the most part, I’ve been surrounded by caring people who have been patient with my timidity, encouraging me, while staying nearby throughout the process of coping with change. Always alert to instances of “creative hand-holding,” I store these memories away, never knowing when they might be of use. Perhaps because of this, I’ve been drawn to beginners, fascinated by the transition from “I can’t” to “Hey, look at me!”
Since the beginning of the pandemic this spring, I have seen little of my sweet grands, even though they live in town. We are staying more remote than they have been able to, which has made visits difficult. But outdoor walks alongside Silver Lake work, with all of us wearing masks and walking apart from each other.
We headed out to Dudley, MA, planning to park at Nichols College to bike a rural route from there on road. The sun shone bright, we found a spot next to the entrance to the college, and saw next to no one around. Everything was a go, bike all set, extra ice packed, bike tools packed, snacks. And then, the cooling vest didn’t quite work right.
We continue to practice what we tell others they can do to #Avoidcrowds. We packed our bike the night before, including everything we’d need for the morning and got up early to head out first thing. It promised to be a hot, muggy day, and we wanted to avoid the worst of the heat. Our destination was Pascoag, RI, (a village in Burrillville) to a very short paved bike path. Our plan was to start at the Burrillville Bike path, and do some road biking from there.
With the start of summer comes the longest days, the most sunlight (and the summer heat, of course). We had an early light dinner and headed out with our adaptive tandem bicycle to one of the closest local trails, the handicapped accessible, stone dust covered, Upper Charles Trail in Holliston, MA. A helpful strategy we have used for avoiding crowded trails is to get out early in the morning, or at supper time, when others are headed home.
Visiting Acadia National Park is a balancing act for my family–I need easy walks, while my husband enjoys more challenging trails. But the carriage roads draw us back again and again, providing safe, off road places for us to enjoy riding our tandem bike. Sometimes the weather is simply not conducive for biking–too wet, colder than some of us like for bike riding, or various other reasons.
And since most of the trails at Acadia are challenging, we search out new easy walks– Continue reading →