On a gray Connecticut afternoon

There are – to me at least – few sights more beautiful than a trail leading off into the woods or meandering around a hillside. A small road – tarmac or dirt – through unpopulated country is pretty good too. This blog, very broadly, will be about escaping to those lines on the map. Or to places where there are no lines. But, like a good journey, the blog will stray, never all the way back to civilization, but into areas adjacent to taking a hike, getting out of herefleeing to the hills ...

     A great thing aJasper 042bout hiking is you don’t need a national park for it. Most of us can reach a place with trails in an hour or two if we plan right (and I’ve lived in Hong Kong and Sao Paulo so I can back up that statement).  The picture to the left happens to be Jasper National Park – years ago and three thousand miles away –  but I’ve notched up many, many more hours of escape close to my home in southwest Connecticut. (OK, the scenery here is not quite as spectacular.)

And thinking of Jasper makes me think of another place to hike — in the memory. Pulling the picture from my hard drive to illustrate a beautiful trail made me think of the summit it led to, and the squirrel that panhandled up there from my daughter and I. There, I’ve escaped from a gray February afternoon already.

So what is the purpose of the blog? I think this. I have hiked a lot with my family, but mostly I hike alone. Except that I never really hike alone. I always think about what I am going to tell when I get home. Whether it’s the black bear spotted in the Catskills, the sunset from a ledge in our local nature reserve, or moose by the road in Newfoundland, there is always something I want to gush about. Up to now, I’ve done it around the dinner table. McWilliams Takes a Hike is to share my thoughts and stories and, very importantly, get in touch with people who want to share theirs too. Happy trails!

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