Spring hiking cures cabin fever. No prescription needed.

By Jim Pfiffer, River Friends volunteer.

I need to get out of the house and back to nature. The virus, nasty politics and a winter holed-up inside has turned me grouchy and short-tempered. Good riddance 2020. I want happiness again, and I know just how to get it.

Go outside. Feel the sun on my face. Hike, bike, walk and spend some quiet time with Mom Nature. Science has shown that a walk in the woods can reduce stress and blood pressure, improve focus and memory and stimulate that we’re-having-fun-now dopamine. Add in the exercise and you’re on your way to a pleasant and healthy 2021.

Outdoor recreation in the spring boasts plenty of perks: fewer people, no bugs, comfortable temperatures and leafless trees that offer long-range unobstructed views of nature’s beauty.

Mom Nature awakens from her hibernation in spring, and she brings with her wild flowers, newborn animals and birds returning from their winter vacations.  

A hike along the Chemung River trails brings you to the nexus of three habitats – water, land and air – and all the plants and animals that habitat there. Snowmelt means a rush of spring runoff, and rivers run fast and muddy with dramatic sound and power.

Spring outdoors means mud, pooling water and a few remaining areas of snow in the shade. But you can take satisfaction and ease your mind in knowing that this moisture will soon be gone. Plus, you can get as dirty as you want and mom won’t yell at you.

Below are my top10 reasons to enjoy nature in the spring:

10. Fewer people on the trails means less noise and commotion to frighten away wildlife.

9. Fewer people on the trails provides more photo opportunities of nature.

8. Comfortable temperatures mean you won’t get sweaty, sticky and icky.

7. The wonderfully thick and rich organic fragrance of fresh soil.

6. Watch birds build nests.

5. Listen to birds sing for mates.

4. Watch geese, ducks, herons and ospreys flock to the river.

3. It’s free and you don’t need tickets or reservations.

2. It builds your enjoyment, understanding and respect for our environment.

And the number one reason to get outdoors today:

Squishing through mud and splashing in puddles makes you feel like a kid again, and that cures cabin fever, for sure.

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