The last couple of months, I’ve been practically stuck to my computer, and stuck indoors. It dawned on me one day a couple of weeks ago that I couldn’t remember the last time I had been outside for more than 20 minutes.
Deciding this wasn’t acceptable, I tried something I had never done before: hiking. Let me warn you, things did not go as planned.
There is a nature park near where I live. I’d driven past it countless times, thinking, "I‘ll definitely have to check that out sometime," but until then, that day had yet to come.
I put on some comfortable clothes, along with my tennis shoes that had been collecting dust in the corner of the entryway, and headed out the door.
Once I got to the nature park, I saw a couple of different trails I could take. The plan was to drive to this park and go for a nice, relaxing hike. I would be surrounded by trees and the sounds of chirping birds, an absolute natural at navigating the trails.
What actually happened was that I chose the wrong trail. The first trail had steep hills and was full of slippery rocks. My face mask made it harder to breathe, and being unfamiliar with the landscape, I slipped and fell a handful of times before I finally decided to retreat.
I went back home that day, covered in a few scrapes and scratches, feeling discouraged and embarrassed.
Not ready to give up quite yet, I decided to go back the next day. This time, I chose a different trail. The second trail was even better than what I had imagined a hiking trail would look like. There were towering trees that provided so much shade it felt as if I was in a tunnel. Thanks to those same trees, it was cool, even on that sweltering day. These trails had smoother hills and did not have slippery rocks.
About 30 minutes in, I found myself at a decked area overlooking a huge field of grass, wind blowing, birds chirping. I noted this spot in my head and began to make my way back out … or so I thought.
After hiking for about 20 minutes more, I realized I no longer recognized the trail I was on, and I began to panic. There was no one in sight, so I just kept walking. Eventually, I reached a parking lot, although it wasn’t the one I had parked at, and found someone to help me find my way back.
While that second hike ended up being significantly longer and more complicated than I had planned, it definitely allowed me to spend more time outside.
Hiking that trail has now become a regular part of my week, and when the weather is especially nice, I’ll take a book over to that decked area to be surrounded by lush trees and the sounds of birds chirping … just like I had planned.
This column is a regular feature of the Tribune's monthly WAVE page. Do Yeon Kim is a Detroit Lakes High School graduate who is now a college student at Harvard.