Bathing in the Glow of the Forest – Walking the Air Line Trail

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of old, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

–  Introduction to Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie  by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Exercise outdoors is always more fun when you do it with somebody else.  That’s why my beloved and I have two single kayaks. And a tandem kayak. And a canoe. We can choose all sorts of ways to paddle together, and with other friends and family!

And paddling isn’t the only way we choose to enjoy the great outdoors together. There’s also the simple, year-round option of walking. We really enjoy walking our street – the Fall and Spring are especially nice for meeting neighbors doing the same. We’ve enjoyed meeting both people and pooches on our rounds! When we want a long walk, though, we’ve found a wonderful  place.

There are lots of walking trails, but we’re partial to the Air Line Trail, which is nearby, and tree covered most of the way. It’s one of many unused railroad corridors across the US which have been converted into recreational public trails. Each state funds and supports these trails (through Connecticut DEP Greenways for us.) They are also part of the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.  This is a fabulous way to use already cleared paths.

There are different sections of the Air Line Trail that we wander for up to 6 miles at a time, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the forests around us.  The character of each walk is affected by the time of day, weather, and season, but a visit to the Trail always leaves us feeling invigorated. We think we know why.

The Japanese call walking in wooded areas Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.”  There is serious evidence of the therapeutic effects of the practice – it’s been called natural aromatherapy.  It’s also peaceful, lovely, and a wonderful way to enjoy the natural world around us.

Often we walk for quite a while without even speaking, just taking in the aromas and views around us.  For us, there’s no better way to hit the reset button on a frantic and frazzled week than to step into this quiet wooded world hiding just a few miles away from our home.

As we look forward to our (we hope, increasingly healthy) retirement together, forest bathing will definitely always be a part of our plan.

Try it; you’ll like it.


For more on forest bathing, see these links:

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30 Responses to Bathing in the Glow of the Forest – Walking the Air Line Trail

  1. Pingback: Weather Forecast – Time to Play Outdoors! | The Retiring Sort

  2. Pingback: Weather Forecast – Time to Play Outdoors! | The Retiring Sort

  3. yepirategunn says:

    Very nice post – enjoyed my visit to your blog – will meander back – all the best!


  4. What a coincidence that you write about the nature aspect of the Airline Trail. A friend of mine–Stan Malcolm–walks each morning on the trail and takes pictures of the flora and fauna he encounters along the way. His site is: and he’s won awards for his astounding photography of the trail. Check it out. You will be amazed.

    Also, next Friday evening October 12, from 5:30 to 8:00 we’ll be hosting an event at our art gallery in downtown Northampton that will feature the winners of a photography contest where the subject is photos [and videos] of the rail trail network around here. More info at .
    Craig Della Penna, Northampton, MA 413 575 2277 cell.


  5. As always, you’ve Amazing photos and idea. Water in the forest is still clean, away from pollution. It’s our duty to protect the forest from pollution and destruction. Nice article and photo @TRS. Have a nice day 😛


  6. “Forest bathing” – I will remember that. One of my favourite occupations. Lovely walking with you.


  7. bluebee says:

    We used to have a double kayak but decided two singles would be better for our marriage, haha. Lovely photos.


  8. I have never heard of “forest bathing” and it rings so true! We are cleansed after a walk, run, or time in the woods. I always feel refreshed inside and out. I bookmarked this post for future reference to explore some of the other links you noted. ~ Kat


  9. caliroe says:

    Evangeline… and your beautiful images… what a marriage of beauty.


  10. Beautiful place. The soft greens looks brings a sense of Zen, calmness, purity. A great place indeed for exercise of both body and mind.


  11. sharechair says:

    We have a few rail trails nearby, too, and I use them frequently. We also have canal trails, where, years ago, donkeys walked the edges and pulled barges. All these trails are especially wonderful in the Fall!


  12. adinparadise says:

    All these places look so cool and shady. Walking is so healthy and I also love it. I have a lovely picture in my head of you and your ‘beloved’, walking together through these pretty glades, and also kayaking silently down the river. 🙂


  13. My absolute favorite exercise is walking with a friend and not speaking. I’ve recently found that swimming has an even more surreal effect.


  14. Beautiful photos. I love the shades of green.


  15. deepa says:

    Forest bathing? Nice idea! I remember going ‘forest bathing’ when I lived in Germany briefly. It was a new and lovely experience!


  16. Forest bathing. I like that. These picture are so, so pretty. 🙂 What a beautiful place to walk together, in silence or otherwise. 🙂


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