It’s impossible to grow up in Nova Scotia, Canada and not love the outdoors. As children we played in the woods, and my father was an avid outdoorsman. Like most girls, probably I traded in my sneakers for heels when I was a teenager, and it was only six years or so ago that I reconnected with the outdoors.
It started with a summer of first experiences in trail cycling and sea kayaking, both of which I learned and then learned to love with a passion. I’d only hiked a few local trails on and off over the years until 2016 though. Some combination of the right hiking partner and goal setting later and I was crossing off a major trail every weekend from April on.
I lost my hiking partner in a summer break up but refused to give up hiking. At first I wasn’t sure if I had the courage to hike solo, then quickly realized I actually loved it. Alone I could really absorb the soul-soothing peace of nature, and stop whenever I wanted whether to catch my breath or just soak in some breath-taking scenery.
A friend asked me this year whether I prefer wilderness or coastal hikes (Nova Scotia is surrounded by the Atlantic so we have many beautiful trails that track along the ocean). The answer is both, honestly. I could give up neither the crash of the sea by my side; or the soft, comforting blanket of moss and fern.
The physical fitness I’ve gained through hiking this year doesn’t compare to the strength of spirit. There’s nothing like the feeling of slipping off your hikers at the end of 10K, hitting the A/C and heading home tired but thrilled.
This will be my first Winter of outdoor fun, and I’m ready to add snowshoeing to my list. In 2017 I’m planning to build on my outdoor skills, add to my gear, and break in my new tent. And of course there will be a long list of new trails to hit. I was blessed as well in 2016 to discover this fabulous online network of other hikers and nature lovers, and they’re a constant source of inspiration, motivation and knowledge. Looking forward to sharing in all their wonderful adventures in the months and years to come.
You can follow Bernardine Woods aka Hiker Bee on Twitter: @Bernardine