When I returned home from the hospital after brain surgery in 1993, I did a great deal of sitting. Getting across a room was an effort; reaching the other end of the house to use the bathroom was a major undertaking. I spent a lot of time observing my healthy, active children and visiting with neighbors from my cushioned rocker in our living room.
By my side, ready at a minute’s notice, was the cane I had brought home from the hospital. Ugly stainless steel, four little feet at its base to provide better balance, this cane remained standing even when I could not.
A highlight of our trip to Newfoundland was returning to Gros Morne National Park on Newfoundland’s western coast. When visiting a place for the first time we often say, “We need to come back.” Much less often are we able to say, “It’s so good to be back,” especially when referring to more far-flung destinations. At the bottom of this article are links to previous posts on our earlier visit to Gros Morne.
A mild winter’s day seemed just the time to take a day trip to East Haddam, Connecticut to visit Gillette Castle State Park, overlooking the Connecticut River. We had been to this area in the past for a winter boat ride along the river (February and March) in hopes of seeing bald eagles that winter in the area. The river stays open through winter and thus provides ideal hunting for eagles through the winter months. Our first trip favored us with multiple eagle sightings, but on this more recent visit we were not as successful. We caught a glimpse of what looked like an eagle soaring into the clouds overhead, but we’re not bird experts, and the glimpse we got was brief.
Often outdoor walking locations are “hiding in plain sight.” Locals know about what makes a specific place special. There may be a pull off for a good place to explore, but no sign is posted to assure visitors they have found the right location. The Keystone Arch Bridges trail starts in Chester MA and heads into Middlefield and Becket.
Clear signage has now been posted directing would be visitors where to find parking and get views of the dry laid stone railroad bridges that were built in the early 1840s to carry trains over the Westfield River. For background on the history of these bridges, learn more here. Information signs have been recently placed on Middlefield Road, next to Hebert Cross Road in Chester. Parking for about nine cars is available off road just past the sign.
Ice can be a huge barrier to getting out in winter. For those of us with mobility challenges (and others) it can keep us inside, missing out on the beauty that is found in colder weather. In general, newly fallen snow is pleasant to walk through. With little snow so far this winter in New England (at least southern New England) we have been able to get out fairly often without the concern of ice. A beautiful spot we revisited recently after a light snow is a Mass Audubon property, Pierpont Meadow in Dudley, MA.
New England is often an icy, pretty cold place to be in winter. However, the winter, 2022-23 has mostly had little snow, has been relatively warm and thus we have found little or no ice on local trails (at least where I am in south central MA). We generally avoid Cape Cod in summer since that is where everyone else seems to head. Instead, we wait for cooler weather then set out for locations on the Cape within about an hour or two from our home.
A January day with temperatures in the 40s seemed a good time to visit the Cape. I had wanted to visit the Knob, in Woods Hole, MA since I heard about it. This conservation land is part of the Salt Pond Bird Sanctuaries properties. When I had last checked, the trail out to a peninsula in Buzzards Bay had been closed for repairs. I felt sure it was still closed, but the website for this destination indicated the trails were open to the public again. In case this turned out not to be accurate, we made a plan B to stop at the Shining Sea bikeway. (We ended up stopping later at the shoreline access for the bikeway anyway.) Here’s an early fall visit to the bikeway.
Thanks so much to Marilyn St. Doré for making the time to help us understand how she and her husband Dave successfully get out on the trail. They take Easy Walks, but often agree to venture on more challenging trails too. After reading this story, you may realize that you too can make a difference in the life of someone you know. Here’s Marilyn and Dave’s story. MTH
We began hiking 2 ½ years ago during the pandemic as a way to stay healthy and not sit in front of the tv now that we were retired. We never dreamt at that time that we’d love hiking so much, so much so, that we try to hike nearly every dry day that we are able all year long. This is no small feat as my husband is visually impaired, legally blind to be more specific. He can barely see beyond his feet and then only shadows and maybe color in his peripheral vision. During this time, he’s come to rely on me to be his guide on hikes. What follows are some of the things I do to help him enjoy his time on the trail as well as keep him as safe as I can.
This article was first published at the Travel Massivewebsite. Many thanks to their editors for providing a platform for travel interests of all kinds, around the world.
Lots of trail guides and magazine articles provide information about the compelling reasons to visit any certain area. What is consistently missing is information about trail surfaces. Whether you have a disability or simply enjoy the outdoors you can be make a difference to others by noticing and then sharing with others details that are included in the article below.
My Story of Hiking with Mobility Challenges
Travel Massive article:
Some people think that because I have written a number of trail guides I must be a super hiker. In fact, there was a time in my life when walking across a room was an insurmountable challenge. While healing has come after disastrous brain surgery that saved my life yet left my right side paralyzed, I still require support to navigate uneven surfaces: bumpy sidewalks, crowded airport terminals, or rooty or rocky outdoor spaces.
One of the most important factors that dictate whether I can safely manage an outing is asking about an area ahead of time. To safely navigate an outdoor trail, I need to know about trail surface Easy Walks, that is, not too many roots or rocks, relatively level, with something of interest along the way.
Visits to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Newport, RI never disappoint. We enjoy the wide level graveled path that encircles the spit of land jutting out into the surf. Although we have been here countless times, it never gets old.