There is something about it. Something magical.
It pulls you back, over and over.
It’s two miles from my house. But the peace and tranquility of it make it seem like a world away.
I’m talking about the Noland Trail. Anyone who has ever walked or run the five-mile trail knows exactly the feeling I am describing. I have ventured out on the trail hundreds of times over the years. And not once has it disappointed me.
No matter how crazy the day, being on the trail makes everything seem OK. It shrouds you in nature and serenity, a quiet that can’t easily be duplicated in our nutty lives.
The trail makes you breathe. And think. And realize just how majestic the world is. It brings it all home as you stroll or jog alongside docile deer, families of sunbathing turtles, hungry herons, soaring eagles and the occasional snake slithering across the path. Its canopy is thick and the leaves are gorgeous as the seasons change. The pristine views of Lake Maury and the James River from spots along the trail are magnificent. No screens. No deadlines. Just you and Mother Nature.
What is so hard to believe is that this trail is in our city. I take for granted that I can get to the trail and then to the grocery store in short order. It’s literally across the street from my neighborhood, a natural oasis just minutes away. It’s a gem, something I think makes the city truly special. Newport News would not be the same without it. It adds depth and purpose to city living.
The trail is not easy to walk or run. There are plenty of hills and steps to climb. It’s challenging. But I guarantee that it’s worth the effort.
The only noise you will hear along the path is the crunching of leaves underfoot. Occasionally, another walker or runner will pass and say “hi.” That’s it. No other distractions. The solitude allows you to focus, to reflect. I have had countless ah-hah moments on the trail, solved many problems as I ran the dirt path.
In this fast-paced world, the Noland Trail is a sacred space that enlightens you with waves of clarity, granting you the time and ability to process thoughts and ideas.
Each time I go, I see something different—a fresh perspective, both of the nature around me and the thoughts going through my head at the moment.
There is an addictive quality to the trail. I don’t think anyone has ever said, “I’ll never go back there.” On nice days, it beckons. And when it calls, you just have to answer.
We are so very lucky to call the Noland Trail our own.