The crunch of snow under my hiking boots is a sound that I hadn't heard in a long time.
The quiet solitude of rucking around Ashland Reservoir was what my mind needed and what my lungs craved.
Twenty nine degrees is cold, but with no clouds in the sky and the sun out in full force it was a perfect Thanksgiving weekend day.
A day to get outside, clear my head and put more miles in.
As much as I would have liked to have Roxie with me, her legs would not have done well. I knew the trail would be slippery and jagged. Lots of tree roots, mud and rocks to climb over. She doesn't realize that at twelve she has to be careful out there and it is my job to remind her.
She saw me lacing up my boots and instantly got excited. "Not today girl. I'll make it up to you."
Those puppy dog eyes looked up at me with sadness as I walked out the door.
Ashland State Park is an amazing place off-season because everyone has their dogs there. It is known that the dogs will be off leash and everyone is cool with it. This was the first time in a long time that I was there without Roxie.
Thirty pounds, a bottle of water and the 3.4 mile loop around the lake was the goal.
From the time I started the Map My Fitness app, until I stopped it at the end, it was 4.2 miles in total.
I crossed paths a few times with others. Everyone had a dog, one had a ruck.
My lungs filled over and over with the cold, crisp, clean winter air. I'd take off my hat to cool off and stop now and then for water and to take in the view.
Sure, I could have spent the ninety minutes a million different ways, but this is what I chose and it was perfect.
I'm still not sure how well things will work this winter with a ruck and snowshoes, but I'm looking forward to finding out.
Rucking during a New England winter is going to be something new for me, but I'm certainly not stopping.
Get outside. It'll make you feel better!