We all lead busy lives and it feels like there is never enough time to get outside and enjoy nature. More often than not, I fall into this category. And in the little spare time I have, I am often buried in a list of chores. But over the Thanksgiving long weekend, I decided it was time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful fall colours. Sunshine, fresh air and a canopy of orange, red and yellow – nature did not disappoint.
The trail in Thornton Bales Conservation Area, also known as Joker’s Hill, might be Newmarket’s most scenic. Hence the large number of people using it. I enjoyed seeing all the different users, including teens, young families, old friends, photographers and dog-walkers. Their friendly smiles were contagious. That tired, stressed-out feeling that I couldn’t shake at home diminished with every step I took and every happy person that I encountered. I took photos, listened to my mom tell stories from her childhood, got some exercise and had a great time!
We need to find time in our jam-packed schedules to discover the trails, parks, ravines and forests that surround us. Being in nature is therapeutic and fun. Don’t we deserve that after all the hard work we do? I know what some of you are thinking. It’s too much work. Let me simplify and give you a few tips on how to empower yourself to get outside more often!
When you have some down time, waiting for your food at lunchtime or commuting to work. Put your smartphone to use and find a nature reserve near you. Or look up trails in your area on the Ontario Trails site. This website has loads of useful information.
Take five minutes on any given day and examine your schedule. Find a free time and book yourself a nature meeting in advance.
Invite your friends and family. A group hike or even picnic may enhance your experience.
Prepare for your hike prior to getting out. Gather your water bottle, your hiking gear, some granola bars and your camera.
This is the hardest step: Get. Out. There.
Ontario’s nature is addictive and I encourage you to give it a chance. The migrating birds and rustling leaves will soon be gone. Enjoy this season while you can because hiking in the winter will require a whole new list of tips!
Kavita was Ontario Nature's Community Engagement Coordinator.