I am embarking on a mission that is a little unconventional. Six days ago, we all kissed 2015 goodbye and rang in the new year, full of hope for changing our lives for the better. We wrote resolutions in our journals to enroll in a yoga class, or train and complete a marathon, or lose 10 pounds by summer.
But not me, not this year. This year, I want to focus on keeping some things the same. Heraclitus said “The only thing that is constant is change,” so surely it will require as much effort to keep things the same as to make a change!
When I started graduate school, my rate of exercise plummeted, but since graduation, that rate has been steadily increasing. Therefore, one of my new year’s resolutions is to continue hiking and exploring at the fantastic frequency that I have undertaken since October.
With this thought in mind, I put my best foot forward this weekend, covering about a dozen miles in two parks, one of which was the beautiful Horton Grove Nature Preserve. The property lies to the north of Durham in Bahama, and is cared for by the Triangle Land Conservancy, or TLC for short.
My companion and I started off with the Holman Loop, which provides an easy walk through the meadow towards the woods. Recent rains had soaked the ground, which softly squished underfoot with each step. I later learned that the meadow is under native grass restoration to provide habitat for wildlife, and indeed we saw birds flit about the tops of the sunlit grasses, as well as deer tracks here and there on the trail.
The sun was getting low in the sky by the time we completed the loop, but we re-entered Holman Loop and this time split off to the left on Hart Trail, which brought us through the woods and close to the little stream that runs through the preserve. My friend and I admired the vibrantly green ferns as we crossed the creek on a sturdy wooden bridge. Along the Justice Loop, we were surprised to stumble upon some friends, with their brand new baby, enjoying the trails in the golden hour.
I found myself feeling grateful that we are past the winter solstice, and so will have more and more daylight hours to enjoy beautiful preserves such as Horton Grove! Already I plan on revisiting Horton Grove, to sit at the wildlife viewing platform to watch the spring migration of birds. I also look forward to TLC’s fall 2016 opening of Brumley Forest Nature Preserve, which is sure to be an equally stunning place to visit.
I admit that yes, I do have a few resolutions that involve change, but I would encourage you all to give yourselves some credit for the great things you already do have going for you! Happy trails to you, in 2016!
Find out more about Horton Grove Nature Preserve on the Triangle Land Conservancy’s website and Facebook page, and give it a visit! Also, watch this video about the preserve, made by fellow explorer Ryan Huang and Duke SNAP.