My pillow feels cool against my mascara-stained cheek and my sheets envelope me like a perfect breakfast wrap. Although I went to happy hour last night, I do not feel hungover thanks to chugging two bottles of Poland Spring before passing out. The crispy chicken sandwich probably helped, too.
I can see the bright sun peeking through the closed blinds, beckoning me out of my blanket cocoon. She makes me feel guilty for even debating not getting up but ultimately I know what my decision will be… to go on a scenic 10-mile morning hike.
In years past, I had always loved hiking when I traveled. The Blue Mountains in Australia
, the Longji RIce Terraces in China
, and the Alps in Switzerland
were all trails I had conquered. However, when asked about the hiking opportunities native to my home region of Long Island, New York
, I had no insight.
Anyone who knows me can tell you there is nothing that nags at my brain more than a missed opportunity. So, when a friend told me about a local hiking club called “Long Island Trail Enthusiasts” I signed up without hesitation. In fact, I signed up for five hikes that month alone and wrote my boss a note requesting the shifts off work. It was time for me to explore my island.
Unwrapping myself from the soft shell of covers, I hoisted myself off the bed and touched down onto the scratchy carpet, immediately doing 15 jumping jacks to get my blood flowing. Next step in the wake-up process was an invigorating facial rinse of Morning Burst cleanser and cold water. Feeling the beads from the cleanser waking up every pore on my skin as it tingled and glowed, I knew I was ready for the day ahead.
Before every hike, I always make sure to consume a large breakfast full of energizing carbs, filling fats, and sustaining protein. A just-ripe banana combined with Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal and an egg-white omelet with cheese, beans, and tomatoes left me feeling ready to tackle the 10-mile trail that awaited me in Hempstead.
In the past, the hikes I had done had always been long stretches of rough, rocky terrain, steep climbs, and lush forests with ambiguous paths, all set in the most peaceful settings. Exotic locations added to the appeal of these trails. Although I was often left battered and bruised, I always felt proud of these glory tattoos.
Today’s hike was of a different breed, as we would be walking from Cedar Creek Park to Jones Beach. The flat trail was 5-miles there and 5-miles back, with natural coastline, fresh green grass on one side, and cars and trucks whizzing by at 90 miles per hour on the other. I knew that at times it would be difficult to appreciate Long Island’s pure beauty with this man-made distraction. However, something else that anyone who knows me can tell you is that I never pass up a challenge. In fact, I welcome it like a good friend to a dinner party.
And so, after brushing my teeth, applying SPF 30 and bug spray, and changing into navy blue Nike shorts and a white ribbed tank top, I set off for my Long Island adventure, ready to tackle any obstacles I may face and not missing my soft pillows one bit.