Boasting 37 state parks, six national parks, and an abundance of other hidden getaways, West Virginia is the perfect place to get in touch with nature.
A study from August 2022 by the University of Tokyo uncovered that nature can provide many positive benefits, including physical and mental health improvement, spiritual fulfillment, deeper social bonds, and a stronger sense of place.
The Mountain State is home to endless hiking trails that accommodate all skill levels. Hiking builds strong muscles and bones, improves balance and heart health, and may reduce stress.
Hiking is also a great way to bond with family, friends, and romantic partners, as this activity allows plenty of time and space to talk and get to know someone better.
The feeling of completing a trail is unmatched, especially when you’re rewarded with a pleasing vista. This feeling of accomplishment can boost confidence and self-esteem.
The land offers West Virginians many options for engaging with nature and getting grounded. Sky-gazing, which can consist of simply watching the clouds go by, birding, or even just looking to the sky and daydreaming, can help ease one’s mind. Gardening can also combat feelings of anxiety and depression and is proven to aid in recovering from stressful events.
One can’t deny the tranquility of experiencing the trickle of a small stream or the rush of mighty rivers crashing over rock formations. For those looking to tap into the spiritual element of nature, conscious breath-work through outdoor yoga and meditation provides fresh air and an overall grounding experience. Letting your bare feet or other parts of your body contact with soil is also a great way to connect with the earth.
For those a little more adventurous, mountain biking, rock climbing, white-water rafting, ziplining, mountain rappelling, and ATV riding are also exciting outdoor options.
Whether you’re exploring the New River Gorge in the southern part of the state or enjoying the historical offerings of Harper’s Ferry National Park in the Eastern Panhandle, the healing properties of the mountains are accessible to all.
Kabrea James is a contributing journalist to Black by God. Her website is LEUPHORIQUE A Space Journey to Love and Light
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve https://www.nps.gov/neri/index.htm
Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park https://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm
West Virginia Hiking Trails https://wvtourism.com/things-to-do/outdoor-adventures/hiking/
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