Green Corner: Healthy hiking in the neighborhood

Wandering along the path, you suddenly stop. The week has been hard. With tests, work and balancing time with friends, it feels as though you’ve been in the spotlight for weeks. As you walk the Johnson Trolley Line all the chaos and clutter seems to disappear for a few minutes, and it’s just the natural world around you.
Hiking can sometimes have the reputation of being a hobby that is limited to active people. That isn’t true, and the students of Rider’s Lawrenceville campus are in luck because there is a trail they can walk right here. The Johnson Trolley Line runs right through the campus, and was built on former trolley lines from the turn of the 20th century.
After days of social and academic stress building up on their shoulders, students need to find a healthy outlet before the weight becomes too much. According to the American Hiking Society, hiking can help combat stress and anxiety, which are emotions that often overwhelm college students.
A physical activity such as hiking can be beneficial both mentally and physically, allowing the release of stress, improvements in balance and strength, and even weight loss or maintenance.
The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is a 70-mile trail that is only a short 15 minutes from Rider’s Lawrenceville campus, and an even shorter drive of eight minutes from Westminster Choir College (WCC). Students can rent canoes in Griggstown or Princeton and go for a ride down the river on warmer days until these rental locations close on Nov. 4.
Another trail that will allow you to let loose from all of the stress is Baldpate Mountain, which is 15 minutes from Rider and an extra 10 minutes from WCC. A short 30-minute walk up the mountain leads hikers to the top for a beautiful view of foliage that looks as if it’s on fire at this time of year. After taking in the view, students can enjoy a stress-free walk back down the mountain.
Not to be confused with the previously mentioned state park, a short drive to the Washington Crossing access point of the Delaware Canal State Park will allow students to stretch their legs on this 60-mile trail that runs along the Delaware River and offers views of farmland, river islands and historic towns. Once traveled by mule teams pulling boats down the canal, the paths are now populated by anyone who needs a little exercise.
The biggest challenge for Rider students might be not knowing where to go for a hike. However, technology can come to the rescue with a variety of apps including AllTrails and TrailLink, or even a simple Google search for nearby hiking trails.
With all the natural beauty around Rider, students have plenty of options to help ease the anxiety and stresses of tests, projects, and assignments.
Gone are the days where hiking was just a hippie fad. Today, people from all walks of life meet on the path, each there for different reasons, but connected upon the dirt trail or asphalt walk.

-Kevin Miller
Lawrenceville Eco-Rep


Printed in the 10/08/14 issue.

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