Go take a hike


A hiking trail in the Facing Rock Woods.

Audrey Pilon, Staff Writer

Hiking is one of the best ways to leave the civilized world behind, even if it’s just for a little while. What better time to do it than in the fall? The leaves are changing to beautiful red and orange colors, and you can see some really breathtaking views. It’s also a great way to refresh your mind and body.

Going hiking is a good way to get in shape and condition your muscles, and you can also have the experience of your life. For example, if you’re hiking up a mountain, of course you’re going to be tired but there is no better feeling than reaching the top and seeing the amazing view.

One of my favorite places to hike is Facing Rock in Ludlow. The entrance into the woods is right down the street from my house, so it’s easily accessible. It’s about an hour to an hour and a half hike, and at the top there is a giant rock and a huge clearing. You can see Ludlow and as far as few towns over from us.

Another great area to hike in is anywhere in the Holyoke Range. There are so many different trails and they’re all so beautiful. Look for the Horse Caves, Mt. Tom, and The Notch. Some of them are very steep and rocky, but the view at the top makes it all worthwhile.

The right gear is essential to a good hike. Strong, sturdy sneakers or boots are a must. Depending on the season, you should bring bug spray, and wear long pants and long socks to protect yourself against ticks and harmful plants like poison ivy.

Make sure you have a bottle or two of water; you’ll definitely be getting thirsty! Taking a few snacks such as trail mix, a granola bar, or fresh fruit would be a good idea. These snacks will help replenish your energy level.

A small first aid kit should also be in your hiking backpack. You never know when you’re going to fall or scrape something, and you don’t want it to get dirty and infected.

For more information on hiking in Western Massachusetts visit http://www.mass.gov/dcr/recreate/hiking.htm