Refreshing air, the smell of pine trees, and the company of thousands of trees. Today, I spent my Monday afternoon hiking through the George Mitchell Nature Preserve. With a backpack on back and smile on my face, I enjoyed the chance to break away from the daily craziness and be active in nature. The United States is known for its commitment to preserving the forests and nature, and the town I live in is no exception. The George Mitchell Nature Preserve in The Woodlands, TX is a forested land area outfitted with 2, 3, and 5-mile trail loops. There, you can hike, bike, or run through the various trails. I chose a brisk walk – to get my heart rate up while still feeling relaxed.
The first thing that I noticed as the hike began was the silence – the utter lack of cars, sirens, and civilization. Even though the preserve is located near a road, the trees serve as excellent sound cushions. The peace was broken only by the sounds of birds chirping and the occasional conversation of passersby. I have a long history of backpacking and hiking growing up, so I had the gear I needed for this short trek.
I chose the REI flash pack for this mini-excursion – it’s lightweight, water resistant, and has tons of great storage space. Inside, I made sure to pack my rain gear (top and bottom), first aid kit (you can never be too prepared!), and snacks. Trail mix, dried fruit, and a full water bottle were plenty to get me through the trails. After hiking 2.5 miles – halfway through the loop – I took a short break to eat. The trails were clear and the sun was shining – perfect conditions for a trek. The rest of the hike finished without a hitch, except for a single mosquito bite. I guess bug spray isn’t impermeable!
You don’t have to travel all the way to Texas to get your own taste of a great nature trail. Check out the article “The Top 10 Hiking Spots in the United States” and see if the perfect adventure is nearby. Still can’t get enough of the great outdoors? UNC Campus Recreation offers several outdoor excursions every year during the academic semester through the Carolina Outdoor Recreation Center (OEC). You can also check out our Get Outside! blog post with 22 North Carolina outdoor destinations.
Are you a first year student arriving at Carolina next year? WAFFYS – Wilderness Adventures for First Year Students – are the perfect ice breaker for you. Learn more about these small-group outdoor programs to help first –year college students adjust to college life by clicking the link.