Top, a heart-shaped cactus shows we love our trails. Below, the writer observed this rattlesnake consuming a lizard from start to finish, along the Iron King Trail in Prescott Valley. Photos by Cheryl Hartz
National Trails Day,® a celebration of trails, is tomorrow, June 2. In 1987, Ronald Reagan's President's Commission on Americans Outdoors report recommended Trails for All Americans - that all Americans have access to trails within 15 minutes of their homes. It specified trails that wind through cities or towns and bring people back without retracing steps. Public and private parties joined the American Hiking Society in launching National Trails Day® in 1993. Now all 50 states have activities, but not necessarily on June 2.
The American Hiking Society web site says America has 200,000 miles of trails. (And that's just established trails.) Let's see, if I picked one trail a week and hiked five miles of it, it would take me 40,000 weeks, or more than 769 years, to cover the entire distance. Even at five miles each day, the trek would take 109 years. Say I live another 40 years, I'd have to hike 5,000 miles per annum, or nearly 14 miles each and every day. Boy, I could eat whatever I want and still be thin! Of course, hiking and eating would take all of my time. Not a bad thing, but I guess I'd have to live at least 50 more years so I could wedge in a few other activities.
We know the benefits of using trails. It's great aerobic activity that gets the heart pumping and strengthens muscles, while we soak up vitamin D from the sunshine, breathe fresh air and just overall enjoy positive effects on our mental health by interacting with God's creation -wildlife, flowers, greenery, cool breezes, whiffs of pine trees, incredible rock formations, and vivid colors.
Ironically, I plan to go canoeing tomorrow. Still, it's outdoors. For information on National Trails Day, visit the American Hiking Society web site.
Whenever you go hiking, please prepare. Take plenty of water and snacks, let someone know your route, pay attention to where you're going, allow plenty of time, and always pack out what you pack in.
And as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans sang: Happy Trails to You!