Here’s an extensive list of hiking tips for those with mobility limitations–these can apply to anyone else too. Take a look. Thanks to Vacyou.com magazine for inviting me to contribute.
I have limited mobility, (paralysis in my right leg), have traveled and hiked extensively in the U.S., and have enjoyed exploring trails in Canada and Ireland. Learning the right questions to ask has made a big difference for me by helping people understand what I needed to know to better enjoy my time in the outdoors.
Questions I ask before setting out include: Where can I find places to walk that are not rooty or rocky, are relatively level with firm footing, and have something of interest along the way? Are dogs allowed? Are there bathrooms? Is there a fee to visit? Are trails well marked? What can you tell me about parking?
With practice you will find your best “questions to ask yourself” that will help you make an educated choice about how and where you want to go. Here are my tried and true accessibility tips that can help you get the most out of an outdoor hike (or walk).
You know your own situation best, so these are suggestions, not guarantees that they will work you.
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.
I have been working to include as many handicapped accessible, and handicapped friendly outdoor locations as I can manage for my new “Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are” cable TV series with ABMI Cable 8. It is a little challenging to coordinate schedules with both my cameraman, Tyler, and friends who can make the time to join me for a one-two hour jaunt on a local trail. So far the weather has stayed mild, and we have gotten in some fun trips to nearby trails, checking out interesting sights along the way, and pondering the history of the area we visit. Here’s our walk at Louisa Lake.
Prospect Street has been a huge barrier on the SNETT in Franklin for many years. When the trail was still a rail line, a bridge carried local traffic over the rail line. When the line fell into disuse, apparently it was easier (and short term was cheaper) to fill the rail line with dirt rather than repair the bridge. Since then, the SNETT has been getting developed as a rail trail, section by section,
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.
You never know what you might find…just off the road, traveling through Smugglers Notch
As I work on finishing up my book, “How to Find Easy Walks Wherever You Are,” when we travel to unfamiliar places, I am reminded of important points made in the book. These are some of the concepts I have found to be helpful: be willing to explore; be willing to turn around; learn to read maps; use the internet; and tell everyone you are looking for Easy Walks. We used nearly all these principles on our most recent trip to Vermont. Continue reading →
Boardwalk invites visitors to venture out over the waterway at the refuge
While we usually focus on trails in Massachusetts and nearby New England States, when we venture out of the area, it is a joy to discover not only new places, but an outdoor refuge close to where we were staying in the Philadelphia area. The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is a truly urban refuge, but the number of birds we saw in this place don’t seem bothered by the noise of Rt. 95, which borders the refuge, nor the sight of multiple planes taking off within sight of the refuge as well. Continue reading →