I'm really lucky to live in an area that offers so many hiking options within an hour;s drive time. Locally, we have a place called the Hashawha Environmental Center. It has a Nature Center and several different trails for hiking, biking and horse back riding. Most of the trails are relatively easy. I've taken my 3 year old grandson out on them and he managed fine in his sneakers. There are some loops that offer a little more strenuous hiking (though nothing like the AT or the trails at Catoctin Mountain). On January 21st, my mom, husband and myself headed to Hashawha to get some hiking in. Usually I take along a weighted pack, but this time I opted to leave the pack at home. Without a pack, my injury doesn't really bother me too much, so it was great to be out and just enjoying the woods.
We took one of the extra loops that does have some inclines on it and offers some gorgeous views. I learned I am very out of shape from sitting around this winter because even without carrying a loaded pack, I was tired and out of breath often. A large section of the trail travels through some pine groves. I think pine groves are my favorite place to be, or at least one of the top places (a secluded beach is up there too, it's a toss up between the two). Pine groves are just so silent and have a certain reverence about them. Like they're the cathedral of the forest. I would be content to sit under the pines for hours. However, sitting under pine trees doesn't build muscle or help anyone get back into shape. So we hiked on. We managed to hike 3.10 miles. Looking forward to some more training hikes and the upcoming back packing season.