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Many of us are taking up different goals and challenges during this pandemic. Denise Smith, our Program Manager in Franklin & Grand Isle Counties, has decided to institute a weekly family hike. This past Sunday was the first adventure and here is her story:

Growing up in southern Quebec and northern Vermont, my parents would take us hiking on a regular basis. My father’s insatiable appetite for adventure and his ‘joie de vivre’ spirit made his hikes legendary amongst family and friends. He would assemble a tribe of people of all ages and set his course for the day. The willing would coerce and bribe the unwilling and we would meander up the side of mountains to the top. The journeys were always fraught with bug bites, screaming babies, and twisted ankles, but somehow, we all managed to make our way to the destination: the top of the hill to witness the view from above. The views and the snacks my mother packed always made the hikes worth the effort and the memories I hold of these experiences are stitched into the fabric of my life.

My own children (9, 11, and 13) have thus far not been exposed to a lot of hiking, mainly because they participate in an endless array of seasonal team sports that tend to take up a large part of our weekend days. With the cancellation of these sports due to COVID-19, my husband and I have decided that each week we will take them on a nearby hike in the Green Mountains. Our first hike was to Eagle Mountain in Milton, VT. This beautiful area is located on the shores of Lake Champlain and is easy to find. When the vociferous protests of our three children finally ceased and they resigned themselves to the fact that we were committed to dragging them along with us, all I heard was a cacophony of songbirds in a bright green meadow as we escaped from our car. The beginning of this easy hike meanders through a mowed trail in the meadow and gently slopes upward into a mossy forest that upon entering feels like you are walking into the land of a fairy tale. Shortly into the hike you can choose to walk downward towards Hoyt Lookout that leads to an expansive view of Lake Champlain. The top of Eagle Mountain is easily attained by retracing your steps and heading towards the summit. This hike took us about an hour with a stop at the lookout and at the summit. I would recommend wearing pants and long sleeves to protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes. The trails are nicely marked, easy for children and adults, and the view and the snacks make it all worth it in the end. Enjoy!

Other ideas, tips, and resources to keep you and your family healthy, active, and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • If you are a runner in a busy area, here are some recommended mask.
  • Bean salads are an easy way to use pantry staples for a filling side dish or meal.
  • Try one of these mood-busting books to lift your spirits!
  • A good read for parents dealing with cancellations this summer. This summer may look a little different from others, but it can still be fun.
  • Attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden this summer!

Does your organization have local virtual events or resources that you want us to share? Feel free to reach out to us via our Facebook page, or contact us via email at risevt@onecarevt.org.