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Home » SCIENCE AND NATURE in ME » MAINE (all topics) » Hiking New England
Hiking New England

By Michael F. Bisceglia, Jr. | July 23, 2010

Get yourself a walking stick. Any old firm twig less branch that can fit nicely into the palm of your hand that touches the ground is perfect. Throw on some decent walking shoes (no, ladies, high heels won’t cut it), and you’re ready to take a walk. It doesn’t matter where you go in New England. Almost any place is a great for a hike.

First of all, let’s consider the word “hike.” I think it scares folks.   It may conjure up images of military expeditions with full packs and lots of sweat. We’re not talking about that kind of hike here, folks.   We’re talking a kinder, gentler sort of amble.   We’re talking a about a stroll, solitary or otherwise, along lanes or paths; through wooded hills; aside scenic lakes or ponds, and over gentle slopes.   We’re talking about a walk where the air is sweet; the birds are singing; and the sights are breathtaking. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking about taking a New England walk.

A hike doesn’t mean necessarily a long trek measured in double digit mileage.   A walk here could be as long as it takes to clear the head; to appreciate the landscape; to exercise the legs, or to simply get away from the mother-in-law for a while. I can’t imagine a better spot to go for a jaunt than this fair region. Pick a season. Chart a course. Now go!

If you like urban ambling, many areas in metropolitan New England are for you. Aside from the Freedom Trail in Boston, most are not marked.   You have to be a bit adventuresome. Take in the historic sites. Gawk at the shop windows.   Do a little people watching (not too much, folks will wonder what you’re up to). Enjoy the day. Stop in a coffee shop. There are thousands of them here.   Pick up a personal treasure. Then, head home to admire your purchase. It’s great fun.

If you live near the coastal Maine, how lucky you are! I don’t know anyone who tires of gazing at a gentle sea, or experiencing the waves crashing against the rocks. And just about everyone likes to dip their pinkies into the surf, don’t they? Top off your day with a cup of clam chowdahat a shop near the Marginal Way, outside of Ogunquit.   Ah, my friend, you will have had a full day.

How about an autumn amble in the country? Run your hand along a stone wall.   Stop and gaze at a distant church steeple. Visit a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. Sample an apple. Your taste buds will thank you for it.

Here’s one I’ll bet you haven’t tried. Find an abandoned set of train tracks (make sure it’s abandoned), and head off along them in winter during, or just after, a slight snow. You can’t get lost.   The tracks will take you as far as you want to go, and your footprints will direct you home again.

Feeling a little more courageous? Try a trek up Mt. Washington, or along the Appalachian Trail, or through Franconia Notch.   Now, those are hikes well worth the effort. The view is spectacular, and the feeling of personal accomplishment is a definite high.

Take a walk around your block. Stop and visit a neighbor who may be sitting on his front porch. Enjoy a game or two of cribbage.

Enjoy New England, up close and personal. Take a hike, Jack!

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