My first hike was at Fort Snelling State Park on Mother’s Day 2013.
Fort Snelling was my first hike because it was in town and easy to get to. Every mother’s day we go to my sister’s farm in the afternoon so I couldn’t hike more that a couple hours. The hiking is easy here and actually really pretty. There are planes coming over since the airport is right across the highway but it didn’t bother me. I like seeing them that close it’s kind of exciting. Plus it makes me really happy I am not on a plane going anywhere! I started off hiking part of Snelling Lake then did the Pike Island loop. The trees were just budding so you could get great views of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers! This is an easy hike for anyone there are no hills unless you decide to hike up and actually see the Fort.
What to think about!
I had decided to do 60 hikes for my 60th birthday a few weeks before. I wanted to do something special and since I am broke there was no trip to Paris or an Alaskan Cruise. My friend children’s book author and illustrator Debra Frasier actually gave me the idea to hike 60 trails. She had canoed 50 waterways for her 50th birthday. I don’t have a canoe but I do have legs that can hike!
This first hike helped me kind of get a game plan…for the next 59 hikes. Here’s what happened after I left the park office with my map I started to worry about everything in my life. How was I going to get Barry health insurance? Then I realized why I had become a gym rat this past year. At the gym I can read a book on the bike and give my mind a rest, but when I am hiking, biking or running outside there was no distraction so all I did was worry about the future and living with a husband with dementia. I would come in and feel awful. Exercise is supposed to help you feel relaxed. I realized on these hikes I have to give my mind something to think about other than all my worries. So I picked the word JOY to think about. What gives me JOY? It was Mother’s Day so I thought about my three kids Kelly, Pat and Mike. The day each was born I never experienced such joy. As they have become adults I still feel the JOY of being their mom. My little granddaughter Charlotte was born June 14 2012. I was in the Subway parking lot out of town speaking when my daughter called to tell me Charlotte had been born. I was so filled with JOY and relief!
As I hiked around Fort Smelling I realized there are lots of JOYS in my life. I find JOY in my books, the kids I speak to and the teachers I meet when I am at schools. I find JOY teaching my students at The Minneapolis College Of Art And Design. I feel JOY being outside after a long winter. It felt good to push all the worries out at least for the two hours of my hike. So I set the ground rules for hiking and that day. Pick something to think about other than worries! Later that day we were all at my sister’s farm, the weather was beautiful and little Charlotte took her first walk down the farm road. Right then at the moment everything was OK. I realized JOY is a pretty good word to think about during this time in my life!
What gives you JOY each day?
THINGS I SAW HIKING
- Lots of budding trees it was finally spring!
- Baby ducks and turkeys.
- I saw a cute german shepard that didn’t have use of his back legs so he used a little cart for his back legs. I imagined he might be a retired police dog.
- I saw lots of families enjoying the nice day.
- For information on Debra Frasier’s 50 waterways go to: www.debrafrasier.com/river-journal
- For information and directions to Fort Snelling state Park go to: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/fort_snelling/index.html