I like walking for a lot of reasons. When I was studying abroad in Seville, Spain, I walked almost everywhere I went – the city is just small enough that it’s possible to do so. I didn’t find it a hassle to walk, I just had to get used to doing a little extra planning so that I reached my destinations on time (although being on time, in Spain, isn’t quite as important as it is here in the United States). Every day I walked to and from school, and I found that the 40 minute walks in the morning and afternoon were sometimes my favorite times of the day. If I walked alone, I found that it was a nice time for organizing my thoughts, reflecting and letting my mind wander. Walking accompanied was equally pleasant because it gave me time to catch up with classmates and friends and reflect with another person. Either way, by myself or with others, I felt more aware of and part of the city when I walked because I was more in tune with my surroundings.
Luckily, living in Ithaca, I am able to enjoy this same routine of walking. There are all sorts of different walks to be had in Ithaca. I live close to the South Hill Recreation Trail, which connects with the Six Mile Gorge Trail. The “Rec Trail” is nice for jogging on because it’s relatively flat and runs through a nicely wooded area of the woods. The Six Mile Gorge Trail that connects to the Rec Trail is a little more interesting in that there are little off-shoot trails that stem from it. These little trails invite exploration. They lead to lookouts, streams and gorges.
This past summer, a waterfront trail opened on Cayuga Lake. Recently, my sister Emily visited Ithaca and we decided to check it out. It winds beside the Cayuga Lake Inlet, passes by the Ithaca Farmers’ Market and cuts through Cass Park. It was an unseasonably warm day when we walked, and so lots of people were out skating, biking, running and walking. Emily and I certainly enjoyed ourselves on the trail. We brought along our cameras and we progressed slowly. I especially enjoyed photographing plants along the trail, a checkerboard that we found on a table set with rock stones as moving pieces, and the lake itself. Benches along the way allowed us to sit down and enjoy the lake and sunshine before continuing on our way. We weren’t able to walk the entire trail (hunger beckoned us back) but it was a beautiful day to be beside the lake, and I was happy to be spending time with my sister.
Walking allows me to slow down. It becomes an important part of arriving at a destination, when there is one. If there’s not, it’s just a simple pleasure.