You’ve heard about locavores, right? People who try to eat locally grown/produced food. Locavores (or localvores) are part of the broader sustainability movement. Local purchasing and supporting local economies by buying locally produced goods and also services seems like a good idea, especially in these tough economic times. Buy at the small bookseller instead of the chain store. Try the local bakery or cafe.

You can read plenty of books about the locavore movement and I’m all for the idea of a local diet for a healthy planet, but this post is really about local walking and hiking.

I’m calling it locahikers, but that’s just my name for it. This weekend was a beautiful, crisp, sunny, fall one. I went for a walk (maybe too short to call it a hike, but…) on a nearby hilltop.

It’s one of those places that urban sprawl surrounds and is always in danger of being developed. This hilltop may very well end up being a housing development. That’s being considered right now.

This hilltop is only beginning to go back to a natural state. It was hospital grounds for many years. It has even been featured on TV as a ghost-haunted place, so it was a good place to go on this Halloween weekend.

Nothing ghostly was spotted, but the foliage colors were peaking, and there were loads of acorns on the ground from the dry summer weather.

The trail I followed is only about 2 miles, but I wasn’t trying to get a workout for my body as much as one for my brain.

I think we locahikers and walkers probably like the idea of really getting to know an area intimately.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

That immediately makes me think of a book by Annie Dillard. It’s one of my favorite non-fiction books. I took down my old paperback of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

It’s a book about a year that she spends in Virginia’s Blue Ridge valley really studying up close her little area around Tinker Creek. As a book blurb says, she finds “mystery, death, beauty, violence” on a small and local scale.

I’ll bet there’s such an area like that near you. And there’s a good chance that there is some group of volunteers who are trying to promote and protect the space.

Preserving our own little Paradelles is important. These small nature preserves provide habitat for native wildlife and plant species. They also offer a sanctuary for us, simple enjoyment, healthy exercise and learning opportunities for young and old.

Some local New Jersey hikes

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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