Very often I find myself just NEEDING to be out in the woods. I call this "Woods Therapy". I'm not sure I have ever encountered anyone who doesn't feel better after they have been out among the trees. Even when I took my kids out as teenage boys, they started out "kicking and screaming", but on the way out, they always wanted to go back.
This past weekend, I was able to get a great day of not only Woods Therapy, but Water Therapy also.
Lucky for me, one of my best friends has a membership to Boating in Boston and I get to be her +1. They have a number of different locations and on this day we chose to go to Hopkinton. We got there and the wind was CRAZY!! But we got out and spent a few hours out on the water.
This was the first time I tried a "sit-on" kayak as opposed to a "sit-in". I wasn't sure how I would like it, but I ended up liking it a lot. I had been prepared that I would get wet, and in a sit-on you DEFINITELY will get wet, where as in a sit in.. maybe not so much...
We got to see some wildlife. This Great Blue Heron allowed us to get within about 15 feet before it lifted off and moved to the other side of the cove. We also got to see a turtle basking in the warm sun of this October day.
After we had our fill of kayaking, we headed to Upton State Forest where I showed Dawn one of my favorite trails in the area. Whistling Cave Trail is the epitome of woods therapy all year long (well, except on a bad mosquito day). This short loop (about 2 miles) brings you through a range of different hiking environments in a short time. To get to the trail you start on a nicely graded woods road. I love fall hiking and getting to crunch through the leaves as you go.
Once you get to the trail, you have to traverse a fairly steep down in a deciduous forest. You get to practice your balance through a couple of water features. Outside of mosquito season, I would say this is one of my favorite parts. Sitting on a mossy root base with the water playing and trickling around, listening to the music of the water mingling in with the rest of the forest sounds is so serene.
The trail then brings you through a section of HUGE boulders that are covered with an amazing array of different lichens. This is where you can find the "Whistling Cave". I've been here a lot, and.. yeah, never heard it whistle, but it is definitely my favorite section.
After this you take a walk in the woods. An old pine forest with little undergrowth opens up around you and brings you to another woods road that is not quite so "finished" as the first.
Back in August, after enduring the challenges of a rainy 50 mile section of northern Maine, I had said my hiking bug had been squashed. I think this weekend resurrected it.. I just want to be out crunching through the leaves and tucked into my sleeping bag at night! I think I see the Midstate Trail in my near future!