Paddling toward a good night’s sleep

I often struggle to fall asleep, tossing restlessly in bed, unable to quiet my racing mind. Sometimes I’m thinking about all the things on my “TO DO” list. Other times I’m replaying words or actions in my mind, considering the “should haves,” “could haves” and “what ifs” of my day. I wish I could just tell my mind to be quiet and go to sleep! Thankfully, exercise and fresh air help.

Last Thursday, Greg and I made a snappy post-work departure and were on the water by 5:30 p.m. at Marshall Millpond. We started our paddle by skirting along the southwest shoreline, startling the geese and ducks nesting along the island of trees, causing a loud barrage of distressed honking. We saw several nests and eggs, so I expect to see lots of furry goslings and ducklings on our next visit.

On the other side of the lake, we entered the Maunesha River. The water level was high, and although the river contained several fallen trees, it was all easily passable. We traveled upriver farther than we’d gone in the past, enjoying the birdsong and soft breeze. I saw a beaver and examples of his work along the river! Finally, we encountered a tricky blockage and decided it was time to turn around. (Next time, we’ll work a little harder and try to make it through!)  

At this point, we had the novel idea to use the GPS in my RunKeeper app to track the second half of our trip back downstream to the lake. In the end, the app showed just more than a mile trek downriver, so with one mile upriver and at least another mile paddling around the lake, it’s fair to say we had a 3-mile paddle. It wasn’t strenuous—quite the opposite: a relaxing paddle and a peaceful evening, a great reward at the end of a workday.

When we left the park, we stopped for a visit with some friends in town who we haven’t seen since the “Stay at Home” order was issued in mid-March. We had a wonderful visit, staying outdoors, standing six feet apart and giving air hugs! As we chatted, I could feel the fatigue of a full day settling into my body. As we pulled into our driveway at 9 p.m., all I wanted to do was get ready for bed.

Nothing seems to beat several hours of physical activity and fresh air to push me toward a peaceful slumber.

Hope you’re staying healthy, active and well-rested!

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