Happy trails to you.
No, I’m not going anywhere, like the song implies, but today happens to be National Trails Day. It is always the first Saturday in June.
Just in case you are not familiar with National Trails Day, let me fill you in. Then you can gather up the family and get to hiking.
National Trails Day is sponsored by the American Hiking Society and began in the late 1980s after a push to get more folks outdoors.
There also was a movement to enjoy and get some attention from other organizations to establish, connect and organize trails all over the nation.
The great thing about nature trails is that they appeal to just about everyone.
They not only provide activities for physical health but mental health as well.
The obvious uses for physical activities are hiking, jogging, biking, pedal boating, rock climbing and canoeing.
But trails also avail to those who enjoy birding, horseback riding, wildlife photography, geocaching, nature scavenger hunts, environmental conservation, stargazing, inspirational writing and art, prayer and solitude.
And we can’t forget that being outdoors provides us with clean air and reduces the stresses of the day-to-day routine.
National Trails Day groups formed all over the country and sponsor children’s activities, runs and races, teacher workshops, family time, community involvement, outdoor skills/fishing workshops, a photography contest, and nature education and safety led by park rangers.
Anyone can participate in these activities. You can do an online search to find the ones closest to you.
Trails don’t happen on their own. Volunteers are needed to establish trails as well as do periodic maintenance and upkeep. Local clubs, Scout troops and church groups all pitch in to create a venue for all to enjoy.
I hope that now many of you gather up some snacks and supplies and go find a trail to enjoy, make some memories, take some pictures, have some uninterrupted conversation, and appreciate the health and beauty that comes from being outdoors.
Darla Horner Menking is a Texas Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org