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Hitting the Trails: Wayland's Hamlen Woods

What's the best cure for a long train ride to New York? A walk in Hamlen Woods.

Last Tuesday I had a loooooong day. I got up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a train to New York. I spent four hours on the train, four hours in a conference room, then four more hours on the train home. Maybe this is all in a day’s work for some of you road warriors, but for me, sitting all day like this is torture.

Then, because I didn’t have time to do any real work on Tuesday, I had to spend most of Wednesday catching up. My legs were stiff, and my eyes and neck hurt because I had been at my computer for so long. Finally, at about 2 o'clock I needed to move.

I could have gone to the gym to work it all out in an intense treadmill session, but the day was too beautiful. I had to get outside.

I took a short drive to Hamlen Woods. To work up a sweat, I started with a light jog. The path itself was fairly flat and pretty easy to run, but trail running is tricky. You need to constantly watch for twigs and rocks so you don’t turn an ankle, or worse. Also, if you’re looking down the whole time, you miss out on the sights. Hamlen Woods has a beautiful pond, a few streams and great log steps.

So I stopped jogging and just walked the trail. And I found that I could still get in a good workout. I ended up inventing my own in the woods: I did squats, ran up hills and jumped over logs. I was grateful I was alone, because I must have looked a little strange.

But I wasn’t alone. As I made my way on the muddy loop around the pond, the silence was broken when a great blue heron took off from the pond.

That’s when my workout got really fun. As I tried to track that heron, I felt like a kid again. I was outside, playing in the fresh air, having a made-up adventure. I actually forgot I was there to exercise. It seemed impossible that I had been in New York just the day before.

And that’s the beauty of hitting a trail. Once I’m outside and moving, my stresses seem to melt away. I know I have to face work and family and other responsibilities once my feet hit the pavement again, but exercising out in nature gives me the strength I need to face them.

Susan April 04, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Great Post.. I need to locate this Hamlen Woods.. I've been traveling to Cohasset Park to get my "Trail Fix".. i'd love to find someplace local. And you are so right about having to look down when trail running.. Even with the looking down I manage to go down! :-) Thanks!
Renee Bolivar April 04, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Shhhhhhh.
Jeanne Brown April 05, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Ha! Susan, I think Renee will be mad if I tell you exactly where Hamlen Woods is-- it truly is a gem! But below is a link to the Sudbury Valley Trustee's trail maps, which show a bunch of places in and around Wayland where you can get out and walk (or run) in the woods. There's absolutely no need to travel far to get your "Trail Fix." And if anyone else wants to share their favorite trails, let me know! --Jeannie http://www.sudburyvalleytrustees.org/maps
Stefanie Janoff April 05, 2011 at 10:38 PM
Give Greenways a try or Segmeadow. If you the towns conservation office, they have copies of all the trails in Wayland. I think we paid 50 cents for the copy. See you in the woods.
Susan April 08, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Thanks so much everyone.. even you Renee :-)... I will check it out this weekend.. Weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow.. wish i could say the same for Sunday....

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