Friday April 19, 2013

While many of the images coming out of Boston recently have been utterly horrifying, others have been equally heroic and uplifting.

That pendulum swings wide in both directions. But one image I saw, among the thousands that have flashed across news media in recent days, really clicked for me and started me thinking about what’s going to be important long term for everyone, whether they were touched directly or indirectly by the horror.

It was a still photo, taken near sunrise the morning after the marathon bombing, of a lone runner stretched out and flying along the Boston side of Charles River. In the background were two or three rowing shells with multiple oars working in perfect unison to propel those supremely sleek craft along the water. It was a beautiful moment, just a few city blocks away from a crime scene that just hours before had looked more like a war zone.

I only saw that image for a second or two, but it’s stuck with me. It’s the one image I’m choosing to remember. Now, I’m neither a runner nor a rower, but I understood the impulse that drove those people to get outside and heal mind, body and spirit in the aftermath of terror and tragedy. The truth is, getting outdoors, getting some fresh air and sunlight, getting some exercise is more than just fun, it’s an antidote to much of what the world throws at you, a way to improve your health and your sanity in good times and in very, very bad.


Advertisement

We’re all grieving in our own way for the innocents killed or maimed by the Boston bombs, and the innocence we all lost to those blasts. Sometimes, simply getting up off the couch, away from the TV and getting moving can help that grieving process and turn it toward healing. There’s a wonderful story on EasternSlopes.com (the URL is long, but just go to the search box and type in "grief") about exactly this. Though the grief was for a different reason, it’s still grief, and the prescription is still the same.

With that in mind, I’d like to ask everyone: What do you have planned for outdoor adventures this weekend? If you are a winter addict, there are still, I believe, eight ski areas open in New England. One more day of skiing anyone?

But, for most of us, spring has arrived and with it has come literally infinite opportunities to shake off any malaise and refresh yourself. Simply going out for a walk or a run or a bike ride around home is going to help you enjoy your weekend more. So would paddling a canoe or kayak (just remember the waterís still very cold and many lakes and ponds still have ice on them).

A good hike or a climb up a popular mountain like Greylock, Monadnock or Kearsarge might be just right for getting your heart pumping and clearing your head. It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get moving and do something.

There’s been too much bad news too close to home lately, and it would be easy (and, in some ways, natural, I suppose) to focus on recent atrocities and tragedies and tumble into a spiral of fear, anger, hate, depression, grief... or, you could use that same energy to make your life better, healthier, richer. It’s a choice that we all have to make. Dum vivamus, vivamus! While we live, we live! Or, to put it another way, "Life isn’t a spectator sport. Get out and enjoy!"

May I suggest?

I know, I know, your hiking boots are hidden somewhere in the back of the closet, your bike tires are flat and the lawn needs raking. It’s hard to get yourself out the door. May I suggest that the next few weeks would be an absolutely perfect time of year to go out and do a zipline or aerial challenge course? You don’t need any special gear, and tip-toeing and flying through the treetops is a wonderful change of scenery, a perfect combination of exercise and adrenaline rush. Highly recommended for getting you to enjoy a day outdoors.

Where you used to have to drive long distances to find a treetop adventure, now there’s probably one in your backyard. Here are some options:

Open now

Alpine Adventures (www.alpine
zi pline.com) in Lincoln, N.H.

ArborTrek at Smugglers Notch (www.arbortrek.com or www.
smug gs.com) in Jeffersonville, Vt.

Bretton Woods (www.bretton woods.com) in Bretton Woods, N.H.

Zoar Outdoor (www.zoaroutdoor. com) in Charlemont.

Opening in May

Berkshire East (www.berkshireeast. com) in Charlemont.

Bousquet Mountain (www.bous quets. com) in Pittsfield.

Catamount (www.catamount trees. com) in Hillsdale, N.Y./South
Egre mont, Mass.

Cranmore Mountain Resort (www. cran more.com) in North Conway, N.H.

Gunstock Mountain Resort (www. gunstock.com ) in Gilford, N.H.

Loon Mountain Resort (www.loon mtn.com) in Lincoln, N.H.

Mount Sunapee (www.mtsunapee. com) in Newbury, N.H.

Okemo Mountain Resort (www. okemo.com) in Ludlow, Vt.

Safe Kids 500 on May 1

How cool would it be to let your kids ride their bikes on a NASCAR racetrack? On May 1, Safe Kids 500 has a free bike ride event for kids of all ages at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

The goal is to promote helmet use and safe riding. Free bike safety and helmet checks will be provided by S&W Sports, Bike Walk Alliance of N.H. and the Brain Injury Association. The actual ride on the track will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with registration beginning at 5 p.m. Anything that gets kids riding bikes, and promotes safe riding at the same time, is a very good thing. No pre-registration required. Information: Injury Prevention Center, 877-783-0432.

Tim Jones is the executive editor of the online magazine easternslopes.com and writes about outdoor sports and travel. Email: timjones@easternslopes.com