Cabin fever? Hiking a natural remedy

  • North Quabbin Trails Association members enjoy a hike with President Bobby Curley's dog, Celts. In order to encourage families to continue enjoying the natural beauty of the valley, the association is releasing two membership trails maps a week, for free, along with access to its blog and other services. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • North Quabbin Trails Association members enjoy a hike. The association is releasing two membership trails maps a week, for free, along with access to its blog and other services. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • North Quabbin Trails Association members enjoy a hike. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • North Quabbin Trails Association members enjoy a hike with President Bobby Curley's dog, Celts.The association is releasing two membership trails maps a week, for free, along with access to its blog and other services. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • North Quabbin Trails Association members, led by Celts, enjoy a hike. The association is releasing two membership trails maps a week, for free, along with access to its blog and other services. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2020 11:28:12 AM
Modified: 4/2/2020 11:28:01 AM

WARWICK – Over the last couple of weeks, families across the county may have realized just how quickly cabin fever can come on. Perhaps this is why North Quabbin Trails Association President Bobby Curley saw several families hiking when he went for a walk by the Newton Reservoir.

“The remedy for indoor, self-isolation is to get out and hit the trails,” Curley said.

Curley wants families and their young children to continue enjoying the natural beauty of the Valley long after the current health crisis passes. To encourage continued hiking, the North Quabbin Trails Association (NQTA) is releasing two membership trails maps a week, for free, along with access to its blog and other services.

“I believe this crisis is a wonderful opportunity for re-inventing the family time and NQTA will be by your side in customizing any outdoor trail adventure that you may need,” Curley said.

In an attempt to stop the COVID-19 outbreak from spreading, Gov. Charlie Baker issued a “stay at home advisory,” urging non-essential businesses to close, and residents to remain home if possible, except for required travel to the grocery store or pharmacy. While it’s important to follow these orders for everyone’s health, Curley said getting outside — while maintaining a social distance from those other than household members — can be a strong remedy for the self-isolation, and the mental and physical fatigue many people may begin feeling.

“This has shown me how important it can be to get outside and have some separation from the news and rest of the world for a minute,” Curley said.

To combat the fatigue, the North Quabbin Trails Association is offering free digital map publication of the two membership maps a week on its website at www.ngta.org. It will release one beginner trail and one more experience trail each week. The trails association also has services to help families find various trails to change up their hike, and give advice on proper gear for each expedition.

The Beginner Trail Map is comprised of an easy-to-walk trail, which is perfect for families with children, Curley said. The first week’s beginner trail was the Cutthroat Brooke Gnome trails on the Feldmans’ property. This is a meadow conservation area type of hike with butterflies and dragonflies.

The Experienced Trail Maphas a more of a physically strenuous hike. The first week’s experienced trail is the Fall Brook Gorge on the Tully trail and New Hampshire state line. It is a more physically strenuous hike “through millions of years of nature’s sculpturing.”

The association will also be posting a weekly blog or email written by its members and partners. The trails association has partnered with Linda Styles of Lynrose Farm and Wellness Center in Warwick, along with Matt Sheldon, an extreme mountain biker and instructor, for this blog expansion project.

“The idea is that people are spending more time sitting around with time to read, too,” Curley said.

Styles will be highlighting one wellness product a week, along with educational tools for a various healing practices. For the first week’s blog, Styles discussed the healing practice of Reiki — an energy healing method originally practiced in Japan. She said it is being introduced as part of a healing and wellness programs in many hospitals across the country because of its capacity to help with relaxation before surgery and during the healing process after. According to Styles, Reiki “helps to balance ithe energy centers (chakras) in the body, as well as the emotions, establishing a balanced state in which the body can then heal itself.”

Each week Sheldon will be presenting and joining the trails association digitally with mountain bike trail locations, stories from his time biking and instructions for novice mountain bikers. Sheldon said the Tully bike trail is great for beginners and experienced riders. Riders should park at the boat launch by Tully lake campground and enter the trail there. Sheldon said there is only a few hundred feet of climbing for the whole 7.5-mile trip so it is relatively flat, and there are some quick but rocky sections. These are short and give riders a chance to practice or develop the technical skills required to mountain bike.

“There’s a perfect spot for a picnic on the side of long pond at about the 1.3-mile point and a great place to see some wildlife on the lake,” Sheldon wrote in his blog post. “If this is your first trip on a mountain bike it’s not a bad time to turn around as the trail does get a bit more demanding after that, but first it’s worth ditching the bikes for a small side hike to check out the falls along the foot trail for Tully trail.”

Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and business can operate normally, Curley said the trails association will work with Styles to set up Lynrose Farm and Wellness Center as an outdoor activity location for daily yoga and healing arts demonstrations. They are also working with Sheldon to premiere a basic mountain bike course for youth and adults, also at the Lynrose Farm location.

Since its foundation in 2012, the North Quabbin Trails Association, a nonprofit organization, has worked to build a community partnership organization and has mapped the 250 miles Quabbin to Monadnock experience, along with its 42 overnight shelters. The association has more than 30 maps of local Quabbin regional trails, normally obtained through an association membership. Membership fees go to maintain the trails and provide updated information on the Quabbin’s outdoor resources.

The North Quabbin Trails Association office is located at the Orange Innovation Center, Room 305 in Orange. Further information on the trails association will be published in the future, and can be found as it releases the weekly maps and blogs.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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