Welcome to the October 2019 North Quabbin Trails Association Newsletter
Enjoy and please know that you are all welcome to join us here at NQTA in Anything or Everything!!
Due to the October 18th event at the Red Apple Brew Barn NQTA's monthly Gathering on Monday October 14th is moved to this date.
Also please note included invitation to this Sundays October 6th event at the Feldman's Cutthroat Brook trails, all are welcomed on this beautiful naturalist walk.
Please got to nqta.org for further details
Upwards and Onwards
We are inviting all of you to our “Celebration of The Trails” membership event on October 18th, 2019 from 5-8 PM at the Red Apple Farm – Brew Barn in Phillipston, MA.
NQTA was formed in 2012 by Bobby Curley, a thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail, who used his experience to envision and create a similar experience within the North Quabbin Community. Today, the NQTA has grown into a group of committed citizens, professionals and organizations encompassing 22 towns and serving a population of over 250,000. Together, the members and leaders have reached an awe inspiring vision – the completion of the 250-mile Quabbin+Monadnock Experience. This trail, with 42 overnight shelters, is now open for thru-hikers and day hikers.
Through its passion and vision, NQTA has created many options for day hikes and thru-hikes as well as opportunities for volunteerism and stewardship to open the way for others to enjoy and benefit from the beauty and health our forests have to offer.
Through its evolving mission to increase accessibility for all, NQTA now actively promotes full trail usage for those with challenged mobility in addition to opening the way for usage by those who wish to take to the trails on bikes or horses.
Looking forward, NQTA is incorporating programs to support our Vets and provide programs that engage holistic healing modalities to contribute to the healing of both Vets and the larger community.
At NQTA each person’s participation and ideas are welcome! All are encouraged to come to the Orange Innovation Center in Orange MA for our Monthly Gathering, the 2nd Monday of each month, for wonderful food (bring your favorite dish or dessert) and enlightening and inspiring programs. We hope you will join us and become part of a growing mission of building health, friendship and community.
We are inviting all Members, Supporters and Future Supporters to our “Celebration of the Trails” October 18, 2019 from 5-8 PM at the Red Apple Farm – Brew Barn in Phillipston, MA. This is a FREE family event with music, food and drink, prizes, trail maps, 50/50 raffle, Health and Wellness Information and so much more.
Please visit our website www.NQTA.org for on-line Membership using PayPal, to donate (simply click the donate button!) and/or to follow and like our Facebook page to receive a free gift!!
Membership Options and Benefits –
- Individual and Family Memberships, Partnership Rates, Benefactor
- Maps of the 250-miles of Q+M trails
- Holistic Wellness Programs and Events – Yoga in the Park, Holistic Healers
- Veteran’s Programs
Thank you for your interest, enthusiasm, and support!
The NQTA Board and Membership team
By Bobby Curley - NQTA President
Back in 1985 as the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico was drying up, my job as a commercial diver was in jeopardy.
Taking a $10,000 payment for services as a diver and after watching a PBS program, I decided to go hike the 2,400-mile Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.
Starting at Mount Katahdin in Maine, I set out without a clue on what I was doing and carried almost 80 pounds of nonsense on my back.
Immediately the problems ensued, taking 2 days just to get to the top of Mount Katahdin.
Map of the Month:
Red Apple Trail Systems
For the next couple of days this brave soul did his very best to give me both an education and enthusiasm so I at least made it out of the 110-mile section to my first stop in Monson Maine where over 50% of the hikers coming through quit. But somehow, with my new trail name as Packtramp, I carried on
Please visit www.NQTA.org to obtain all the NQTA Trail Maps with complete descriptions and directions.
By Lisa Richards NQTA Contributor Writer and Editor
Being on a trail out in the woods can offer many gifts. There are the obvious gifts of exercise, recreation, breathing fresh clean air, adventure and spotting wildlife of all kinds to name a few.
There is also a benefit that, perhaps, is becoming increasingly prevalent, as well as necessary, in a world filled with chaos, trauma, and tragedy. This benefit is the unique ability of a forest to engulf us in an energy that helps us to remember and resonate with our deeper most true selves. To some, this may sound too esoteric. But, for others, it speaks of a basic necessity if they are going to survive and find ways to “keep on” after some trauma or tragedy has befallen them and/or a loved one.
While entering into a forest is not the only way to re-group and re-connect…….A forest has a quality that cannot be found elsewhere.
I am a survivor of many types of traumas …… such as; a severe car accident, serious medical issues and violent sexual trauma. From this place of being a survivor, I am sharing the following poem for all those who have lost that sense of connection with their deepest self as well as for all those who are supporting someone who is experiencing these types of difficult passages along the trail.
Doubt & Hope - A Prayer
Will I rise from place of strife
To find a balanced kind of life
A life of Mountains, skies and seas
A life of love and harmony
A life that flows as gentle breeze
Blowing softly through the trees
A life that glows and shines with truth
A life of God‘s existence proof
A life of faith that weathers storms
And ne‘r from hope in God is torn
A life that shares it‘s joy with all
And rises boldly from each fall
Oh reach through traumas of the past
And save me from the stormy blast
That I might know my higher self
And not hold fast to worldly hells
Please grant me strength to start again
To all past errors cease to bend
To forgive with love and patient be
To glorious fruits of forgiveness see
Help to make my visions true
And start to act on what I knew
When I arrived upon this earth
And newness & wonder form me did burst.
Lisa M Richards
By Alex Graziano - Vet Services Coordinator
Nature doesn‘t judge you. It doesn‘t care what image you‘re giving off. It is pure.
In many ways, nature is the opposite of structure. One definition of structure is, an artificially created set of conditions which enable people to perform tasks with a collective organization.
Structure, itself, is neither good nor bad, but carries with it good and bad results. Without structure we would not have been able to go to the moon, have expert surgeons assist internationally through the Internet, or be able to purchase a rare item with two-day free shipping. Yet, the costs can be painful.
Structure limits what we are capable of, can suppress our natural instincts, and can compel people to live in the future, rather than being mindful of the present. Individuals count the hours until the end of the work day, live for the weekend, and sometimes ‘suffer’ until retirement is reached.
The Veteran‘s Community has been indoctrinated with structure to the point of complete institutionalization. In combat, groups of people must operate in unison in order to accomplish the unimaginable. Anyone can perform ‘a’ task. It is orders of magnitude more difficult to perform the same task under ‘dynamic pressure.’ In order to deal with this pressure, management tools must be discovered.
Sometimes the tools can be familiar ones from our past.
As I was lying on the hood of my HMMWV at the border of Kuwait and Iraq, I found myself looking at the stars in the desert sky. They were beautiful. Despite a massive amount of anxiety and anticipation surging through my veins, I found comfort knowing that those stars were the exact same stars I saw back home as child.
I was with a group of highly trained Soldiers who were chomping at the bit for Combat. I knew that in a few short hours I would likely be receiving my first taste of real combat as I rolled across the border. It was essential that I found ways to calm myself. There was a constant asset that I was able to maintain throughout my entire life which enabled me to reduce my tension. That one constant was nature.
In order to be successful, an individual must become ‘one’ with the rhythm of the environment they are operating in. Instead of being ‘crushed’ by the environment‘s pressure, the individual is then able to ebb and flow ‘with’ its changes, much like vegetation flowing with the breeze. At that point, the environment ceases to become an obstacle and instead becomes a key asset.
Whether it‘s the Middle East or Central Massachusetts, nature has a Holistic healing quality to it. After spending too much time in a world of emotional triggers, stepping into nature can have tangible physical effects. It can enable us to achieve mindfulness which compels us to live in the moment.
While I don‘t think that a person has to go to a combat zone to learn these skills, I do believe that the tools designed to cope with the pressure of combat, may also provide relief in our civilian life.
Many Veterans already know this stuff. However, with the countless competing interests we face, self-care in nature often times gets pushed aside. Just as in the military, I submit to you that we need to lead by example, demonstrating to others the positive impacts of returning to nature.
As with most things, self-care is something that becomes more effective the more you practice it. Regardless of our capabilities, it is good to remember that we must focus on progress, not perfection. For many individuals the most difficult move to make is to give themselves the permission to heal.
Take care of yourself and hit the trails!
Alex Graziano, is an adventurer and a dreamer. He was medically retired from the Army at the end of 2014. During his career, he was able to explore experiences of an intensity that offered lifetimes worth of excitement. Most importantly, he had the opportunity to work with some of the finest men and women in the world. He will never forget them.
by Donald Shambroom - NQTA Cultural and Educational Coordinator
of a wide open box, a stair well two stories tall in an old school building, lit by the sun through windows at right angles. I sketched it out in place scampering up and down the stairs, wielding a new NQTA map in one hand and a house brush taped to a long rod in the other. Next, with the help of half a dozen NQTA members, we filled it in greenish blue
for the south shore, bluish green for the north. Finally, balanced on a ladder mounted on a step, I tightened the river‘s edge with a gray line, and marked the trails with dashes of red and orange enamel. I hadn‘t yet hiked more than a hundred yards of these trails, except with the bristles of my brush.
Since then, I‘ve come to know the Millers-Baquag Trail as intimately as the laces on my hiking shoes, and my tool of choice for defining trails in the North Quabbin has transformed into a sharp and sturdy hand saw in a plastic holster. I follow Bobby Curley and his collie Celtz on stewardship expeditions. Bobby‘s newest tool is a gas fired pole cutter, a compact chain saw on a fifteen foot pole. He buzzes through strategically chosen limbs with wide-spread branches overhead, to let the golden sunlight in. I pick up the limbs, execute a few strategic cuts of my own to make them more compact, and hide them off the trail in a slash pile behind a blowdown.
I write stories about our adventures. Here is one --
Our job today is hydration of the triathletes. That‘s why we are here. I grab a mini-cup of water and take a stance parallel to the trail, with fifty feet ahead for a clean hand-off. Number 58 slows as I speed up, and place the cup deftly in his hand as our momentums merge.
The water, with momentum of its own, leaps out like a snake and vaporizes. Number 58 throws the cup in the dirt and vanishes around the bend. My handoff abilities improve in the next half hour. Bobby executes two passes without losing a drop, then returns, as if he has gotten up for a relaxing stretch, to his folding chair.
The woods is a place to think of many things. By the end of our shift Celtz has a new thought. People on bikes can very well be your friends. The final couple to pass our station stop, dismount, hydrate and engage in an enthusiastic visit with a collie. They are in last place, and they are happy.
By Stephanie Simon - NQTA Health, Wellness and Membership Director
I learned about the health benefits of hiking in the woods and yoga when I was in my late twenties, when my health was failing me. Somehow, my mind and body knew the health benefits of both hiking and yoga long before I read any related studies. This is what led me to NQTA, providing health benefits of many worlds!!!
HIKING IN THE WOODS
“There is evidence that being around plants, trees, and especially decaying trees can help reduce anxiety because these plants emit chemicals to slow down the process of their decay, which appears to slow us down as well.”
In a 2009 study published in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, Japanese researchers sent participants to either a wooded or urban area. They found that those who’d taken a 20-minute “forest bath” (a.k.a. a walk in the woods), had lower stress hormone levels than the participants who had been in a city.
Newer research seems to reinforce the idea that being immersed in nature is good for your mental health. A study published last summer, for example, discovered that when young adults went on a 50-minute nature walk, they felt less anxious and had improved memory function.
In a small 2007 study Yoga was found to have a “significant” reduction in depression, anger, anxiety, and neurotic symptoms. The findings led researchers to recommend yoga as a complementary treatment for depression. “The great thing about yoga is that besides the stretching and core strengthening, there is a tremendous focus on breathing, which helps to slow down and calm the mind,” says Michaelis.