A few February's ago, my wife and I stepped out of Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport and into the warm dessert air.  Robin looked at me with a smile on her face.  When I inquired about the big smile she respond that she was reacting to my smile.  Six hours previous to that moment we boarded a plane at BWI and escaped the deep freeze of winter.  I couldn't help but be excited about being outside...and apparently, the expression on my face said it all.

I've been doing a lot of solo mountain biking after school this year.  Last week, while riding the Lakes, I paused to  the appreciate the amazing Autumn Pennsylvania weather and take in some Vitamin N. -- October 19, 2017

I crave nature and I crave being outdoors.  I don't know the science behind it but I feel better and I'm happier when I'm outside.  There are plenty of studies out there that say that exposure to nature helps with depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, ADD, and just about any other infliction that comes to your mind.  Recently I read a book by Richard Nouv entitled VITAMIN N:  The Essential Guide to a Nature Rich Life....kind of a guidebook for those who need reminding that daily exposure to nature is fun, exhilarating, and potentially one of the most powerful drugs available.  

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, I choose to sit outside and read my nerdy history books! -- October 22, 2017

I'm not just talking about how exercise increases the levels of sarotonin and dopamine in my brain...which helps me battle ADD.  All that it true...but it does't explain why I feel better, both mentally and physically, simply by stepping outside on the porch.  It doesn't explain why reading a book while sitting on a rocking chair in the garage with garage doors wide open  is more appealing for me than reading a book while sitting in the house.  Nor does it explain why sitting around the firepit in my back yard is more exhilarating that sitting on the couch in my living room.  Some might just say that these things are my preference.  Maybe so...but I know others who believe a healthy dose of Vitamin N is not just beneficial, but essential.  Here's what some of my friends and family had to say when I asked them what benefit (physically or mentally) they derive from nature.

My wife, Robin, says that the quiet of nature has a spiritual effect on her that cannot be replicated any other way.  Picture taken in Sedona, Arizona -- February 18, 2015

Tim told me that Vitamin N is his antidote for work and his cure for cabin fever!  Picture taken near Raystown Lake on the Allegrippis Trail System -- July 11, 2017

Matt says that surrounding himself in nature is the best way to clear his head.  Picture taken in Michaux State Forest -- July 25, 2017

According to Glenn, it's one of the few places where his heart can "red line" or "flat line" and he would be smiling either way!  Picture taken near Raystown Lake on the Allegrippis Trail System -- July 11, 2017

The Boss, Mike Alessandroni, says that Vitamin N is needed for his skin and his soul!  Picture taken at the Gettysburg National Military Park -- August 3, 2016

My son, Alex, says nature is the best drug because "it's natural!"  Picture taken in Point State Park -- October 27, 2017

Spending time outdoors and exploring the world around me is such an important part of my life and my identity.  Nature helps to calm my mind, stimulate my senses, and strengthen my body.  It provides relief from stress and adds to my sense of overall well being.  I'm happier and more productive when exposed to Vitamin N.  Is nature a drug?  Yeah...I think so...and I think I'm addicted.  If I've got to be addicted to something, it might as well be something that is good for me.
As far as I'm concerned...I can never get too much Vitamin N.

Last week I got my brother-in-law, Donny, out for a short walk and a healthy dose of Vitamin N.  He really enjoyed the view of York County from the observation deck at Rocky Ridge Couny Park -- October 26, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- October 29, 2017

VITAMIN N by Richard Louv

Here's the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...

Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!