With Earth Day just a few days ago, one way to work toward a better appreciation of God’s creation, improve our personal lives and connect with others is through nature walks.
Freshman Micah Pinson says he enjoys “hearing the peace of nature.” From the echoing tap of woodpeckers to the rustle of leaves in the rain, nature brings an overarching sense of peace.
In addition, taking nature walks with others is a fun way to get to know friends and acquaintances better by spending time together outside. Nature walks can be a non-intimidating way to reach out to others while enjoying a beautiful day.
“I always think it’s easier to talk to when you’re moving. Also just because you’re in the beauty [of nature],” Pinson said.
This season, there are many opportunities to take a walk on or off campus.
Taylor students can always be seen walking or jogging around Vayhinger Loop for exercise and spending time outdoors, but there are also many other great options.
On the University’s campus, a new trail was just created by students in the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainable Living class, according to Dr. Michael Guebert, professor of geology and environmental science.
“[It is] a short loop trail but away from civilization, and the start of a more extensive trail in the future,” Guebert said. “Personally, it is my long-term desire to create a walking trail around the perimeter of campus. It would be just under 2 miles around and allow for walking and running off the streets of Upland.”
Other areas with short trails around campus include the woods along Taylor Lake and the mulch trail that winds behind the Kesler Student Activities Center (KSAC), Musselman House and the track field.
Taking a stroll off campus not only provides a much-needed change of scenery, but opportunities to walk past open fields, watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets and maybe pass by some sheep.
Just remember to always practice safety wherever you walk: know the area and do not walk alone or without others knowing where you are, especially at night. Beware of oncoming traffic and wildlife as well.
In Upland, there are several trails for residents to take advantage of.
The Eighth Street trail is a mile-and-a-half path that helps connect Taylor’s campus to the Upland community. The trail was developed by Upland Area Greenway. Part of the trail is a smooth, wide sidewalk that can be used for skating activities. Another part is made up of a pleasant gravel trail that runs along fields and Upland neighborhoods.
The Detamore Trailhead is also a popular trail that is located off Main Street near the bridge in Upland. It is a short, marked trail that stretches a mile long and is easily accessed by those who live close by.
People can get to the Detamore Trailhead by walking through the residential neighborhoods, taking sidewalks 1.3 miles from the Larita Boren Campus Center to the trailhead. On the way, travelers can stop and shop at the stores along Main Street.
Guebert also suggests taking a leisure walk from the cross-country course along a gravel road leading to the Mississinewa River. The road is one mile and passes near the Taylor Wilderness. It could be a nice short hike for those seeking a more woodsy experience.
One last option is the cross-country track which Taylor Cross Country Coach Quinn White encourages students to use when there are no practices using the area. He also asks visitors to park out front even if the gates are open, as well as to not disturb the picnic table placement.
There are many more choices for a nature walk than the well-traveled loop. Do not be afraid to seize the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of our campus and the surrounding community of Upland. As the weeks get warmer and God’s creation continues to bloom, enjoy creation and fellowship with others outside.