Near Arcadia University, within the confines of Montgomery County, there is a nature reserve that stretches just over 50 miles when all the trails are accounted for. This strip of land is a hidden gem, a paradise for some. For many it’s just known as Wissahickon Valley. The expansive park contains individual trails scattered throughout the area, trails such as Forbidden Drive and Mt Airy. These trails are the perfect place to destress during heavy exams and school. Where one is within nature, yet not entirely confined, there is a serene beauty to the foliage within the Valley.
I frequent the trails as much as I can. During all of my excursions I have discovered different landscapes and fauna that live around the park. Each trail holds a distinct steepness or task upon your body; some are all uphill across gravel paths, while others are flat and peaceful, often surrounded by steep rock faces and boulders scattered across the steep domain. They are shaded by the canopy of trees, and a cool breeze often accompanies the river’s flow. The large trails are not so desolate that one would feel lost in nature. There are many landmarks, of both old and new times, such as cobblestone houses and taverns. The park can still make one feel secluded in their own world with many less-traveled trails within the expanse of the Wissahickon. Whether one decides to bike, hike, or even just wander aimlessly, there are definitely trails perfectly crafted for the occasion.
It is a breath of fresh air to hear the flow of nature, and rush of water over a shallow waterfall. When the world seems isolated within papers and assignments, I have found that taking a glance at nature is always cathartic, grounding me back into reality. To me the pressures of the world leave with every exhale, and I breathe in the calm of the woods. The insight gained from sitting upon a random boulder in the woods and just admiring the oaks and everything in them also provides valuable reflection between writing papers. I’ve always felt that taking breaks is important to a person’s mental health, especially when the intensity is at its highest point. When everything seems to be boiling over, try escaping to nature–and the many trails that Wissahickon holds. It could alleviate as much stress as you let it.