Walking in the Woods

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By: Jenn Kovalski

It took a disastrous attempt at a walk in the neighborhood last Fall with my boyfriend, John, and his dog, Dougie, to make us realize we needed to take Dougie for hikes in the woods instead of in neighborhoods.

Dougie is the sweetest dog, but he is also very anxious. He hates wide open areas, fields, golf courses, streets, anywhere where he feels exposed. If he finds himself in an open area, he immediately gravitates towards a wall, or edge of woods and anyone in his path gets herded to the side along with him. So John and I decided to take him to the Braintree Town forest for a hike to get his exercise, and see if he liked it better.

Let me preface and say when we “go for a walk” in my hometown, you go to the beach and walk on the shoreline, or on the bridge, you don’t typically go to the woods. (The forest has bugs, and the beach is pretty awesome, so it’s a no-brainer). So I was skeptical when we first started walking the trails. But it turns out, Braintree takes meticulous care of it’s town forest. The paths are well maintained, and there are little bridges over brooks, and there are stands that offer facts and pictures about the area. They show examples of some of the plants and wildlife that still roam the area, as well as point out the areas that were formally quarries.

The main reason I like the hike is that it is perfect for Dougie, he can be taken off the leash for the most part, and he loves the woods. I also don’t get herded by him into the first hedge of bushes like he does to me when we are in a park. The second thing I like about this location for a hike, is that is not enormous, it is a big loop, with a few off-shoots if you want to take them, but it is a solid mile walk. It’s enough to not hear the everyday car sounds, but you also do not have to give up your entire day to plan for it, you just go.

Regardless of where you live, I bet there is a similar forest to go for a walk. As a beach walker my whole life, I highly recommend switching it up for the woods every once in a while, it’s a total different feeling!