A night of dance and a sporting event are motion activities from which we need to rest our bodies. Unless you are training for these events on a high level, add some form of movement that is less demanding on your joints and muscles. Walking is a great alternative to another day of working out, verses putting your feet up in the recliner for the day. We had fewer days on our long weekend with Linda’s family, but with such mild weather (the nicest summer days in Rhode Island that we have ever had in February) we got out for walks along Plum Beach each day. The tide happened to be mid-day, giving us more shore to enjoy.
Unless you are into working out at the gym, Curves, or the senior center, you need to find some other form of physical activity on a regular basis. Sometimes, you can build this into mundane routines, such as parking at the far end of the lot, using stairs rather than the elevator or escalator, or walking to the store and carrying your groceries home. Sometimes, your leisure activities will require various physical demands, such as bicycling or gardening. In the meantime, nearly everyone can walk.
The elements to consider are location, time, and whether to walk alone or with others. Safety and environment are the primary considerations for location. Lack of sidewalks or questionable neighborhoods may deter some treks. The time of day depends on other obligations, such as childcare, work and volunteer responsibilities, personal energy levels during the day, and your response to cooler or hotter temperatures during the day. Alone or with others may depend on your desire for solitude and/or the availability of people with whom you want to walk.
When at home, while we have many parks to hike in, we rarely have the motivation to leave our mountain. We enjoy a mid-day walk with the dogs, either down to the mailbox (a mile away) or up higher on the mountain along the land association’s roads. Linda often takes the dogs for a morning walk before leaving for work, though this may be as short at the length of the driveway or limited by the time we plan to leave.
On vacation, we enjoy walking in natural settings together or with family and friends. These are times to see familiar and novel views, to explore, and to catch up on the comings and goings of life. Linda is likely to keep a steadier pace and travel a farther distance, while I stop for some view or to pick up some object that beckons further study. Unless we are on a loop walk, she will turn back and find me in my distraction.
In addition to our walks from Linda’s mother’s house, we added a few local strolls. Rome Point can be reached by following the Narragansett Bay shoreline for a mile or so north, with a few scrambles up rocks and hops over brackish pond outflows, or by joining the out-of-towners at the parking lot, now that the area has been designated the John Chafee Nature Preserve. This is an easy walk, except for the wind that increases as the peninsula extends into the bay, following power line access roads, which have a thick tree canopy to obscure the nearby power lines most of the time. At the end of the point, you have a grand view north toward Quonset, east toward Fox and Jamestown Islands, and south toward the Jamestown Bridge. Off the point are several groups of rock, which this time of year may have seals sunning themselves.
For a nearby village walk, head a few miles north to Wickford. This is a good place to support the local merchants, find a cup of coffee and lunch. Though some of the necessities of village life have closed (Ryans Market) or sold to national chains (Ernshaw’s Drugstore), you will not find familiar store names from the mall. While heavy on clothes, collectables, gifts, and accessories, each store has its own niche characteristics, which will either Wow! you or send you onto the next window. Unfortunately, the coffee shop with Wi-Fi closed up a few months ago. I ended up at the Honey Dew Doughnut shop a half mile up the road to check e-mails and post an earlier blog from this trip.
Linda’s brother brought the family and took us over to Aquidneck Island to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Reserve for some winter bird viewing (oh, yes, Newport is also on the south end of this island). Again, this is an easy, 3 mile stroll though wide paths in the brambles, with frequent openings or raised platforms to enjoy the views out toward the Atlantic Ocean and the rocky shore below. The after late afternoon sun was becoming thin and the wind had picked up. The wintering song birds mostly stayed secure in the underbrush, while shore birds bobbed on the waves around rocks. The highlight was seeing a snowy owl nestled behind a sheltering rock ledge. The news had been out and a number of birders had set up spotting scopes, which they readily shared with the curious.
Where have your walks taken you recently?