My regular sources of exercise year-round are spinning (aka indoor cycling) and yoga. I love both because they feed my soul in different ways. Yoga reminds me to be present and mindful, grateful for my body and breath. I have excellent teachers who weave life lessons into the practice so that I am reminded to focus on things like the good in me and everyone else in the world. Yoga centers me in a spiritual way while building physical strength. Meanwhile, spinning feeds my musical soul. It’s the closest thing to dancing my heart out on the dance floor I can get on just a regular workday night. Moving my body to music and getting my heart rate up is addicting! I swear it is the endorphins that are released in my brain that keep me happy through long VT winters when I do the most spinning.

What yoga and spinning don’t do for me is get me out into nature. Plus, unless I do yoga at home, they cost money. I have seasonal activities I do to get myself outside and enjoy the gorgeous state where I live—and save some pennies while I am at it! In the fall, that activity is hiking. I love hiking with a friend, having the time to talk while enjoying the challenge of finding my footing on the trails, feeling such love and gratitude for the trees that I can grab onto for support along the way (I become a literal tree hugger! They really save me coming down the steep spots!), and the satisfaction of getting to the top of the mountain—and then the satisfaction of getting to the bottom of the mountain!

These photos included in this post are from some recent hikes. Mount Hunger in Waterbury was a challenging hike, but not too long. It’s honestly about my limit, though. I like a 3-4 hour round trip hike! After doing Mount Hunger, the next weekend I wanted to find something a little shorter because I didn’t have quite as much time. I used the free website/app AllTrails to put in all my parameters and found a short, but somewhat steep trail in Roxbury. It was a section of the Long Trail at Mt. Horrid—not a particularly attractive name, but it was the antithesis of horrid! It was a perfect, sunny, fall day and my friends and I really enjoyed ourselves.

One of the things I don’t like about hiking is that for me, living in Burlington, I have to travel 40-60 minutes in the car at least to get to a significant mountain. Mt. Philo in Charlotte is good for when I don’t have too much time—it’s only about a 30 minute drive and 40 minute round trip hike. But it costs gas money and is dependent on having a reliable car to be able to get to the mountains. Going with friends helps—we either chip in gas money or alternate driving from one weekend to the next. What I like about AllTrails is you can search to find trails right in your backyard. I live right on the Burlington Bike Path, so I always have that resource for getting out walking, but on the app I found some other wooded trails nearby to check out that won’t require as much of a drive. They are flatter trails, but can still get me out in a pinch! I hope to get more hikes in before it’s time to switch to cross-country skiing for my winter outdoor play!