|published in the South Shore Breaker - October 19, 2016|
So how does walking in nature affect aging brains? Do our memories improve as well? I certainly hope so!
Thanks to two of my friends, I seem to have added hiking on trails to my walking excursions. Nothing strenuous, mind you. I consider my hiking the same as walking, but in a beautiful environment. I'd like to tell you about two of my recent trail adventures, both quite different in location and accessibility, but each beautiful in their own way.
In mid September, my husband and I took a drive to Kejimkujik National Park on Highway 8 in central Nova Scotia. On our way to the Park, we stopped in Caledonia at the Hollow Log Café for a late lunch. Perhaps eating a bowl full of chili and more than my share of a piece of peanut butter pie wasn't the wisest move before attempting a long hike, but it sure tasted good.
A short drive from the restaurant, and we arrived at our destination. Admission cost the two of us less than twelve dollars, and the trail we were after was just a few kilometres into the Park. Most of the drive was on a well paved road but the last couple of kilometres was on a very narrow gravel road, just wide enough for one vehicle. The roads are not maintained after the Park closes in mid October, so your walk could be a lot longer during the winter months if you are without four wheel drive.
|The Hemlocks and Hardwoods trail is made up of a well groomed trail and a long boardwalk. Visitors are asked to keep on the boardwalk to protect the fragile roots of the hemlock trees.|
|This eastern hemlock is estimated to be 400 years old, with nearby trees at least 275 years old. Trees like this are becoming increasingly rare in Nova Scotia, but are protected in Kejimkujik National Park.|
|This hemlock started growing in a thin cover of moss on top of the boulder. Its roots reached over the edge and into the ground. The tree clings to life because people have damaged the roots by climbing on the rock.|
My latest hiking adventure was just as magical, but much different. Two friends and I headed to Micou's Island, a 22 acre tidal island located on Indian Point, just a short distance from our famous Peggy's Cove.
Food is always an important consideration for me, and the three of us met at the White Sails Bakery and Deli to stock up with goodies to take with us to the trails. It was a little surprising to me that the bakery staff hadn't heard of where we were headed, literally just minutes down the road. Just an example of how our province needs to work better at promoting our natural resources.
|Micou's Island is on Indian Point, just a short distance from our famous Peggy's Cove. It is a tidal island, which requires planning to arrive within a couple hours before low tide to ensure your feet don't get wet while crossing.|
|The Sandy Beach Trail on Micou's Island meanders around the coast and through the edge of the woods of the 22 acre island.|
The hike around the 22 acre island was beautiful. Along the shore, through the trees, there was lots to look at and enjoy. We started our venture about 2 hours before low tide to ensure we could walk across to the island without getting our feet wet, and we had lots of time to explore as well as sit and relax and just take in the views.
Did you know you can be trendy just by taking a walk in the woods? A Japanese practice called Shinrin-yoku has become popular world wide. By "forest bathing" you can become more healthy, both physically and mentally. And that's something good to focus on.