Among athletes, the casual hiker is less hardcore than, say, the running devotee or the victory-driven baseball player. For the hikers, their sport is less about strengthening the muscles or increasing the heart rate than it is about getting out into natural surroundings and enjoying the sounds, sights and smells that only come with being outside the city or suburbs. Birdsong, breeze through the treetops, the scent of earth and pine. A strengthening of the spirit, if you will. Of course, there are those hikers who are ultra-outfitted and do things like walk the entire Appalachian Trail every few years just to relax and recharge. But for our purposes here, if you like the idea of a low-impact walk in the woods, these two upcoming free events are for you:
On Friday, May 12 at the Trout Brook Nature Preserve (47 Parrott St, SoPo) at 9 a.m., it’s Get to Know Your Trails, a series of walks sponsored by the South Portland Land Trust. On this one, participants will be guided for approximately an hour on an easy hike through the Preserve, becoming familiar with the trail system’s layout and learning about the rich history of the area. The focus will be on appreciating this part of South Portland’s wooded areas and its various forms of life, in a leisurely manner, so kids (and well-behaved dogs) are welcome. The event can also be found at https://www.facebook.com/SoPoLandTrust on Facebook.
The next day, go to the Bird & Nature Walk at Pleasant Hill Preserve (302 Pleasant Hill Rd, Scarborough) at 5 p.m. to check out their brand-new trail and experience the multitude of birds that call these woods home. The hike is for all ages and will be led by area business leader and conservationist Eddie Woodin. To give you some idea of Woodin’s local cachet, there has been an award given in his name yearly since 2006 that recognizes families for things like having the smallest carbon footprint. He will discuss Pleasant Hill’s plants, trees, and wetlands and help attendees explore wild birds’ roosting, nesting and feeding places. Find more at http://scarboroughlandtrust.org/php-nature-walk-birds-sat-may-13-500-630-p-m/ .
So go and let Mother Nature speak to you. Listen, and you might just learn a few secrets.