It’s New Year’s Day. I usually celebrate it by going on a hike and then watching some football on TV, and this year is no exception. Fifty-degree weather in northern New England on the first of the year? Yes, please. But Mass came first.
As a Catholic, I celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God today. It’s also the World Day of Peace. That’s a lot of freight for one date to carry.
St. Josemaria Escriva is up to the task.
We have to fight – a fight of peace – against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus do we serve notice that the present condition of man is not definitive.
St. Josemaria Escriva, collected in Christ is Passing By: Homilies, escrivaworks.org
There’s a challenge, a reminder, and reassurance all at once.
I really thought I could nail down that Forest Society patch for visiting 33 Society properties throughout New Hampshire. I’ve fallen short. Dalton and Sandwich did me in, which is to say I haven’t been able to manage a trip to Dana Forest or Eagle Cliff. I’ll settle for earning the patch via tier 2 status, AKA the easy way, which involves concentrating on one specific region and answering a few questions about the properties there. I shall send the Forest Society my entry in a New Year’s Day email.
Don’t think for a minute that my time on the patch project has been wasted. I loved every property I visited. Every mile driven was worth the time and effort. Sometimes, I’d go a few miles off-route on a business day just to find one of the reservations or forests on the project list. (Tip: always keep walking shoes in the car.) One gorgeous fall day, I spent hours on the Route 16 corridor plus-or-minus a few miles, discovering four Forest Society properties including High Watch Reserve. I wanted to stay up there on Green Mountain until the last leaf dropped.
Seeking inspiration for your hikes this coming year? Check out the Forest Society’s list. Make a list of state parks you want to visit. Do a web search of conservation commissions in the towns near you; you’ll find a treasury of local trail maps and descriptions.