In case you have not already left for your own Kripalu retreat, let me tell you a bit more about my adventure. It's okay if you have already left - they have wifi there, so you can still read along. You can sit in the cafe and read my version of Kripalu as you're experiencing your own version of Kripalu and it will be like deja vu except it will be happening at the same time.
One of the things I wanted to do there (besides be able to tell people I went to Kripalu when I got back) was explore. Going to the Berkshires and not taking a hike is just plain silly.
Here's how it goes. I pick up a map at the front desk, follow directions (not my forte) and find myself walking through someone's yard. I double back to the sign I missed, and head up through the orchard. Before I am all the way through the orchard I am panting and wheezing and thinking it must be because I am above sea level for a change (elev. 1,200). But no, it's because I have bundled up as though getting lost and spending the night in the woods is a very real possibility. Going back for a wardrobe change is entirely too much work, so I march on.
Once I'm in the woods it's a little cooler - there are even a few patches of snow. This is why people sign up for "pole hikes." They hike with poles so they can walk safely across the snowy bits, as well as navigating mud holes and patches of wet leaves which hide more mud holes. I have no poles.
Soon I encounter the aforementioned pole hikers. I figure I should give them some space so I keep heading up the road I'm on, figuring it's the outer path noted on my map and it will make a larger loop. I'm game for a larger loop. So I hop over rivulets and keep my eye on the sun as it creeps higher in the sky. I can't tell where I am by where the sun is, but I do know that if it gets too high I will miss lunch. I was a Girl Scout and I know these things.
It looks like I have plenty of time, so I keep walking. And as I'm walking I recall that the map described this trail as "challenging" and I realize, using my keen Girl Scout navigation senses, that I will have to cross a creek twice in the course of my trek and can't help but wonder if by "challenging" they mean "must swim." I am not dressed for swimming, and decide it's a good idea to turn around.
Because it is just me and there are no children weighing my every move, I don't have to explain this to anyone. At home, Lucy always knows where I am. She has that "there's a disturbance in the force" thing when I move more than 10 feet away from her, and she comes to find me. But now, not even Lucy knows where I am.
I start to wonder if this is a good idea. After all, I could be kidnapped right off this trail by some over-educated liberal living off the grid in the wilds of the Berkshires, where he telecommutes via the Pringles can transponder on his roof. True, it would be fun for a bit but I'd miss my family - my family who would have no idea I was eating rabbit and wild mushrooms until I failed to show up on Tuesday night.
I suppose I could maybe call them on my cell phone. Is there a new Girl Scout badge with a cell phone on it?
I keep taking a bit of one trail, doubling back and setting off in a new direction until I am satisfied that what I have done qualifies as a hike by normal standards. If I had a gps unit on me and my trajectory were traced on a map, it would be an asterisk.
Which is all my way of saying "if you go, take the pole hike."