Friday, August 10, 2012

The Hills Are Alive or Black People Like Trees Too

Guess what?
 I'm black AND many of my "hobbies" take place in the woods or in/near bodies of water.

For some, these two concepts are mutually exclusive.


Some people think that I became an outdoor enthusiast during my time in boarding school or in college, because how could I, a little black girl from Bushwick even know that there were trees and mountains outside of the ones in the annual Thanksgiving airing of The Sound of Music? The hills are alive....

This is not the case. I blame it all on my parents.

First they sent to me to sleep-away camp Upstate New York at the tender age of eight. I was hurled  into a world of nighttime stream hikes, swimming in a LAKE, playing in grass, climbing trees, camping out under the trees next to the lake, and taking walks in the woods for the sake of taking walks in the woods.

Then in middle school they signed me up for trips to the Adirondacks. The purpose of the trips was to reward those students with good grades with a chance to get out of the city for some quality time with the teachers we loved in the sticks.  (Imagine a busload of urban kids hanging out in the mountains for a few days, living it up in lean-tos, scaring the "hard" boys of the group into believing there were black bears right outside their shelters in the middle of the night. Imagine.)

I discovered pretty quickly that I preferred to do this kind of stuff rather than worry about not being invited to popular kids' parties. I felt an immediate and reciprocated kinship with anything green and outside. As an adult trail-running, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and ZIP-LINING!!!! are among my favorite things to do for exercise and for simply being in nature. 


All of those activities bring back myriad memories from camp and those yearly trips up the Northway to the mountains.  I breathe in the scent of pine or sassafras and I'm immediately taken back to that one time we shivered in the lean-tos in the late April snow....


  1. I think that you are a big inspiration to people who are struggling with there weight and health, I love reading your blogs, i do go out and walk more often. Thank you

  2. Cool blog Mirna! I love nature too. I remember camp in Northern AZ. I miss it. I hope I can get back to it someday. Keep it coming!!!

  3. I love your blog. And I like nature, too, but I feel that if God intended for me to camp, then why did He invent Marriots? Camping is what made me break up with the Girl Scouts, all those years ago. And it's what came between my son and Boy Scouts not too far back. So the fact that you get out there and sleep so close to those critters makes me even more full of respect for you.

  4. And you swim too? Outdoors with the fishies? Consider my mind blown!

    Keep up the great work and hope to see you on a trail some day!

  5. Love lake swimming-although I'm terrified to do it by myself! Robert are you a Jersey/NY local?

  6. I can't believe I never commented on this post. I love, love, love it!