My wolf-tracking trip to Yellowstone National Park was a huge success, not just because we saw wolves in the wild, or had perfect weather, or toasted the New Year under the aurora borealis.
It was a massive success because of the wonderful imprint the wilderness left on each of us.
One of the participants, Jean, said it best: “I not only learned a lot about wolves and Yellowstone, I learned a lot about myself as well.”
Her statement got me thinking.
Here on Long Island we are blessed with so many wonderful parks and beaches. If you have not already done so this year, please treat yourself to a wintery hike in one of your favorite outdoor places.
Take a quiet hike. Allow the sounds and sights of nature to fill your thoughts. Sit on the ground, a log, or a rock and let yourself feel the cold bite of winter for a few minutes at least. Feeling small and powerless against nature is a great way to get perspective on the New Year and appreciate all of the wonderful things and people in your life.
Winter in general is both exceptionally beautiful and brutally honest. Everyone on our trip thoroughly enjoyed themselves, however we all took moments to reflect on our lives and this past year, and using the template of the wilderness we began contemplating the paths of the rest of our lives.
My point is, you don’t have to travel to an exotic wilderness to reflect on your life or contemplate your future. We have a beautiful island filled with incredible nature right here for you to enjoy.
Here are some suggestions (all dog friendly):
- Smith’s Point County Park, Shirley (Fire Island National Seashore)
- Blydenburgh County Park, Smithtown
- Prosser Pines County Park/Nature Preserve, Middle Island
Happy New Year! I hope to see you out there.
Eric Powers is a biologist and outdoor educator. He offers educational services, from live animal shows to foreign and domestic excursions (like Yellowstone), through his company Your Connection To Nature.
photo taken at Yellowstone Park by Eric Powers