fitness · season transitions

Wetland walks, with family and without

Last week I spent my spring break in South Carolina (where I’m from) with family (where they live). In New England (where I live), it’s been a strange and yucky winter, weather-wise. Too little snow, too much rain, and an ample supply of slush all made for a paucity of winter outdoor fun. Hence my excitement to spend a little time in warmer sunnier climes. I wasn’t disappointed.

The day after I rolled into town, my sister and two of her kids and all of their dogs (one big, one little) headed out to Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, SC. It’s a lovely low-key place, with hiking trails, biking trails, walking trails, paddleboat and canoe rentals, and lots of areas to set up picnics and parties for big or small groups.

We opted for the standard walking trail, which winds around the small lake. We encountered loads of families, runners, walkers, dogs, and babies in strollers. My nephew Gray and I agreed that we felt an inexplicable but warm sense of civic pride whenever we’d go to a well-attended municipal or state park. This was but one of the many topics under discussion during our leisurely walk, made more leisurely by the presence of Bailey, a 10-year-old large Golden Retriever. We made several stops for water and rest, along with petting by other folks.

The next day, on my way to visit my mother, I dropped by Lee State Park, another low-key wetlands-y place with hardwood forest. They have a kids’ playground (in use at the time)., visitor’s center (closed on that day), and loads of information about their hiking trails, boardwalk, 6-mile bike loop, equestrian trails, and historical buildings built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Midweek I stole away from my chores with my mother to take a walk in Williamson Park in Darlington, a lovingly maintained walking area consisting of dirt and chipped paths and boardwalks through a cypress swampland. It’s a place I know like the back of my hand, and is a pleasure to visit at any time of the year. I often run into town folks I haven’t seen in ages, and catch up on local news.

It was so nice to walk around, take pictures, chit chat with my family or other folks, and just settle into being in these places. I highly recommend it (as you all know).

Readers, have you been somewhere outside nice lately? It is local? Far away? A favorite? Someplace new? I’d love to hear from you.

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