This past summer’s events should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that New England Regional Ski for Light goes well beyond winter cross country skiing. With three separate and successful events taking place, we had the opportunity to share in the pleasure of being outdoors in temperatures well above freezing. It was good to trade in those ski boots for hiking boots and those ski pants and polypro’s for shorts and tee shirts.

A warm Sunday in June found over 30 early risers gathered at World’s End Reservation in Hingham, Massachusetts, for a relaxed and scenic walk along leafy green wooded trails and by rocky coastal waters. The narration of naturalist Mike Tougias made this an educationally as well as a viscerally pleasant experience.

The weekend of August 13-15 made history for both New England Regional SFL and the Appalachian Mountain Club as our two organizations joined forces for the first time. The site was the AMC’s Pinkham Notch lodge in New Hampshire: the activities included canoeing and hiking. The AMC staff were top notch as they expertly planned and led our activities. A lecture on mammals indigenous to the area, complete with skins and skulls from everything from a weasel up to moose antlers supplemented our outdoor explorations. Canoeing, even in the warm and gentle rain, in the presence of a VERY large bald eagle’s nest felt peaceful and freeing. And PB&J (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) never tasted as good as when eaten against the backdrop of a cool and rushing waterfall on our Sunday mini-hike.

The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary was the setting for the final in this trio of warm weather activities. Again, with the help of Mike Tougias, we were able to stimulate mind and body at the same time as we learned the history, geology and botany of this lovely Mass. Audubon Society preserve. The rock cave, designed by a Japanese landscape architect, was a particularly popular spot along the trail, seconded only by the stop in Topsfield for home made ice cream by some of the group at the end of three hours of exhilirating walking!

We wistfully bid farewell to the summer, knowing that the prospect of a long cold winter will be made brighter by NERSFL’s plans for cross country skiing and snowshoeing in New Hampshire this winter. STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS!!

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