Benefits of being out in Nature

Aristotle believed that the outdoors clarified the mind. Darwin and Einstein claimed that a walk in the woods helped them think. John Muir felt that we should fight the tendency to become “ tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people of the city”, and Walt Whitman warned of the city’s “pestiferous little gratifications in the absence of nature.” And now neuroscientests are showing that nature makes us happier, healthier and more creative.

It is the mission of the hiking group to help you derive not only these benefits but to also have fun doing so and developing lasting friendships with your fellow DMA members.

We schedule at least one hike a month, on Fridays at 10.00 am – weather permitting.  Hikes are usually between 3-5 miles, last 2-3 hours and are followed by lunch at a nearby restaurant. The lunch has become as important an activity as the hike itself.   Spouses and significant others are welcome and some have become regulars.

We select trails which are no more than 30-35 minutes driving distance from Darien and they vary in difficulty from an easy walk in the park to more challenging trails that will get your heart pumping. The following rating system is used to describe the level of difficulty of a trail – I’ll try to rate the area and the specific trail for each hike.  Example: I’d rate the Red Trail in Trout Brook Valley an “A-” but the White Trail a C+.

Trail RatingDescriptionSuitabilityTrail Examples
CEasy, flat, smooth terrainAnyone who can walk at least 3 milesGreenwich point Beach
C+Slightly more difficult, relatively flat terrain with some gentle slopes.Requires sure footedness and a sense of balance to navigate rocks and roots on trailPomerance Park, Greenwich
Saxon Woods, Mamaroneck
BMore hilly terrain, but not steepRequires more stamina and sturdy shoesMianus River Park,
Bancroft Preserve, Leon levy Preserve
B+Significant hills and valleysRequires experience and staminaMianus River Gorge, Zofnass Preserve, Devil’s Den
A-Most difficult, steep inclinesHiking boots and lots of stamina. Reserved for most experienced hikersTopstone Park, Redding (pictured above)
AWe don’t attempt this level of difficulty

Hikes are announced two weeks in advance at the DMA meeting, posted on our website, and an email reminder sent the week of the hike.

See you on the trail!

Sunil Saksena