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  • Writer's pictureJayna Newbold

Take a Hike!

Dear Hearts,

We are well aware that with several states in the U.S. still in quarantine -- or at least semi-quarantined -- and essential travel remains in place -- there is less available summer activity than usual.

However, never fear! We can still enjoy walks, bike rides, and one of my favorite things to do almost all year round: hiking!

Trails are in abundance all over the country these days. Many are wide enough to naturally social distance, and trail heads are accessible from multiple locations. Quite a few are handicap / wheelchair / stroller friendly as well. With the exception of a nominal parking fee in some state parks, the activity is free.

Too hot? Hike early in the morning or later in the evening.

As much as I love to hike -- and have been actively doing it for a couple of decades, I am still quite the novice compared to some of my friends. A couple of them are much older than myself; yet I am hard-pressed to keep pace, especially on an uphill climb. My hiking buddies may wonder whether or not I'm okay as I huff and puff my way to higher elevation. I assure them I can make it (and I can). I'm just S-L-O-W.

One such person -- who is actually younger than myself and, actually, with whom I've yet to enjoy the pleasure of sharing a hiking adventure -- is a beautiful soul by the name of Denise Redeker. A two and a half year heart transplant survivor, Denise is a lovely wife and mother with a generous smile and strong work ethic.

While you can read all about Denise's story on her website, Heartfelt Help, she has included a section what she calls "Heartfelt Hikes" on the same site where locals or visitors in her area can check out trails. Denise has hiked all of them and the photos are worth a look-see.

Even if you don't live in her corner of the world, and are not able to visit at this time, the site will inspire you on several levels. Just jump on your Google machine and research trails in your area. I guarantee they're out there . . .

. . . or . . .be like Denise and blaze one of your own. OK, so it's not February -- the specific month of the year when we focus on heart health. But Dear Hearts, heart health should be celebrated every month! Our tickers are worth it!

As you peruse the journey of this brave soul, be sure to donate to her cause if you can spare a buck or two (every little bit helps). Denise is a Grateful lady who simply wants to help other transplant patients / survivors and their families navigate the unknown waters of a similar experience such as hers.

So . . .Dear Hearts: In this roller coaster of a time period where we find ourselves sometimes stir crazy and in need of mental and emotional clarity, get out in nature and take a hike! It's one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and spirit!

If a heart transplant survivor can do it on the regular, so can you!

No excuses.

See you on the trail!

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