Jess Royer: Restore, Rejuvenate, Energize with friends

Owls Head
Franconia, NH

We started hiking around 1 pm and were back in the car by 5:30. I’m not exactly sure how far we hiked but somewhere between 6 and 7 miles. The view from the top was awesome and we had a couple of girls with us who had never seen the foliage. The hike up was more difficult than I expected but I think everyone still had a great time! On the way back we decided to take a different trail rather than go down the same way we came up, we ended up about 3 miles from where we had left the car. Afterward, we stopped at this super cute burger shop and chomped down burgers and fries. All and all it was an excellent first hike as a group and I can’t wait for the next one!

Bridgeman Hill
Hardwick, VT

All of us had packed schedules and couldn’t find the time for a hike so we settled for a run on a local dirt road with awesome views. Bridgeman is about 4 miles uphill before it flattens out into rolling hills. It’s an old dirt road lined with old maples and working dairy farms. As a group, we decided to just run until we got sick of it and then turn around. We turned around about 3.5 miles in making the run about 7 miles total. It was definitely refreshing and a great way to spend the afternoon with some friends. My favorite part was watching some of the girls who started out thinking they couldn’t do more than three miles end up doing seven and have fun doing it! The fall smells and the sound of footsteps combined created a perfect fall afternoon run!

Jay Peak
Jay, VT

We left around 9 am and got to Jay at about 10:30. It was already warm outside so we shed a few layers before heading up the mountain. On the way up the group kind of split into two smaller groups, one that wanted to reach the summit as fast as possible and another that preferred to take it slow and enjoy the woods. We reached the top at 11:30. This time we had a slightly larger group of people join which was so fun! The summit was a little crowded since the tram was running and many people rode it up. We stayed at the top for about 40 minutes before heading back down to the parking lot. On the way home, we stopped at the Jay Country Store for snacks and then continued on our way.

Presidential Range
Randolph, NH

We left home around 11:30 and reached the trailhead around 2. The hike started out pretty mellow then gradually increased until the trail become a vertical rock wall. Although it was super steep and wicked hard, the hike was so fun. The views were also amazing! We got to camp around 6 and settled onto a tenting platform because the shelter was full. We decided instead of sleeping in a tent to camp out under the stars. It was freezing but so beautiful. The next morning we spent the majority of the time above tree line, we summited Mount Adams just after 10 and then started back towards the car. It was such a fun hike, impart because we were above tree line most of the time, something that is relativity rare while hiking in Vermont.

Moon Run
Hardwick, VT

Since a bunch of us were super busy we decided to just go for a short run at night under the moon. It was so calming and relaxing. We did around 5 miles and then we got cold. With red noses and cold fingers, we turned for home. The moon had come up and was shining brightly. When we reached home we all sat around the kitchen table drinking cocoa and talking about our day. It was the perfect ending to the day, a chilly, refreshing run with friends and warm cocoa.

Camels Hump
Huntington, VT

We left Hardwick around 10 and were at the trailhead by 11:45. The parking lot for the Burrows Trail was packed! As we started up the trail we again fell into 2 groups, many of us were anxious to get to the top. It took us just over an hour to reach the summit. It was freezing! The wind was whipping and the temperature was cold to start with. We only stayed at the top long enough to eat a snack and snap a quick picture. On the way back to the car we stayed as a group and enjoyed talking with other groups of hikers. We got back to the car at about 3:30 and almost immediately half the group was asleep. The ride back home was peaceful until we stopped for dinner and then everyone was wide awake. I think one of my favorite things about hiking or running with a group of people is the chance to just have simple fun while doing something that is good for all of us.

Old Stone House run
Brownington, VT

My mom and her friend wanted to explore the Old Stone House and a group of friends and I decided it would be a fun area to go for a run in. We ended up exploring random dirt roads for just under 2 hours, I have no idea how far we went but we had such a fun time and we got to see parts of Vermont none of us had ever seen before. The leaves crunched under our feet and the fall smells filled the air. There is an Amish community in Brownington and we ran into a couple of their buggies on the road. Some of the girls had never heard of the Amish and it was a cool piece of our culture we got to share with them.

Boston Commons
Boston, MA

We had a small girls’ trip and went to Boston for the weekend to celebrate one of my friend’s birthdays. As we explored the city we walked through Boston Commons, we hadn’t been planning to run but the park was so pretty we decided to come back later that afternoon and go for a run. The park was filled with all types of people and just about every breed of dog. A couple of the exchange students were fascinated by the squirrels and spent most of their time trying to pet them. It was nice to get out of Vermont and still be able to go for a run together even if it was short and sweet.

Caspian lake
Greensboro, VT

Turkey Trot! On the morning of Thanksgiving, a couple of friends and I decided to meet up and run around Caspian. There is a 7-mile loop that follows the lake and it’s pretty mellow. It started out a little chilly but soon we were warm. It took us 50 minutes to complete the loop. It was super cool to be able to share the turkey trot idea with an exchange student who had never heard of such a thing. I had such a good time! I’ve learned running with a group is one of the easiest ways to stay motivated.

Sunset run
Hardwick, VT

All of us were super busy so we decided to just go on a short run after we had gotten home from after-school activities. We started our run around 5:30 and ran just under 6 miles in the dusky light. It was a little chilly but the hills kept us warm. The crisp air burned my lungs. The sound of the feet hitting the frozen gravel was oddly satisfying. Out of all my group runs this one was one of my favorites. The cool air combined with the beautiful sky was one of the most perfect ways to end a day.

Caspian Lake
Greensboro, VT

We loved the lake run so much we thought we’d do it again! This time with a larger group. We met in the morning and headed out. It was warmer this time but there was more snow and it was a little slick. The footprints in the snow were so refreshing to see. I love winter and running in the snow is one of my favorite things in the world.

Wellness during COVID series – Staying Active

Staying active and maintaining a regular exercise schedule is essential for our health in so many ways. It helps our bodies maintain optimal condition to function and more importantly, an environment to heal from inflammation and infection. Exercise also increases endorphins – those feel-good hormones that help with energy and brain function.

Additional benefits include:
– Manage and prevent some diseases like type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer including breast and colon cancer
– Improved sleep
– Reduce levels of stress and anxiety
– Control blood pressure
– Improve mood and reduce feelings of depression

COVID-19 left gyms and fitness centers closed to the public and some still remain closed. If you are unable to head to the gym or don’t feel comfortable doing so just yet, there are many ways you can stay active at home.

– Get outside as much as possible (even in the rain or snow! You will learn to love nature no matter what the weather) for long walks, snowshoeing, or skiing.
– Many places continue to offer virtual fitness classes you can attend, even some for free. You can also always head over to YouTube to find any type of exercise class you might be interested in.
– Make fitness at home fun! Use heavier bottles as weights, dish towels as sliders, or a sturdy chair for step-ups.
– Stretching is equally as important before, after, and independently from a work-out. Stretch while watching a show, do as many push-ups as you can during commercial breaks or take the stairs instead of the elevator to add in forms of movement as much as possible into your day.

I hope you find space in your day today to get active!

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