The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has a lot to offer, even in winter.
The area’s 1,200 acres are busy with 8 miles of cross-country ski trails and 8 miles of snowshoe trails. But by far the most popular trail, year-round, is the Three-Mile Walk. (Check trail conditions at arb.umn.edu/winter.)
Taking a stroll on the Three-Mile Walk in winter is a way to see the arboretum in an entirely different light. Far less tree cover and a blanket of fresh snow makes it possible to see more wildlife. There’s also an otherworldly softness of sound when the world of insects, running water and leafy plants have gone to sleep.
Jean Larson, manager of the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services Program at the arboretum, says walking outdoors with mindfulness of your surroundings can lead to improvements in both physical health and emotional wellness.
Larson recommends awe walking, using tips from the Greater Good in Action (ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/awe_walk). “Awe is a positive emotion triggered by awareness of something vastly larger than the self and not immediately understandable, such as nature,” she says. “Experiencing awe can contribute to a host of benefits, including an expanded sense of time and enhanced feelings of generosity, well-being and humility.”
Sarah Jackson is a media specialist at the arboretum. She lives and gardens in Minnetonka. Learn more at arb.umn.edu.