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An Audio Postcard From New York's Adirondack Mountains

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Getting outdoors has kept a lot of us sane during the coronavirus pandemic. For some, that means a walk with friends or a bike ride with family around the neighborhood. NPR reporter Brian Mann has been trail running in New York's Adirondack Mountains, and he's sent us this audio postcard.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: I'm running over beds of pine needles winding through the forest - gorgeous sunlight, late afternoon, kind of slanting in over the ferns.

The trail climbs through little white wildflowers toward a mountain pond. It's a place I've taken to visiting when I need to decompress after work. I have creaky, middle aged knees, so I'm no good for road running anymore. But here, the path is soft and generous. It tracks the course of a rocky stream. I cross in a place where the water gathers in an amber pool.

(SOUNDBITE OF WATER RUSHING)

MANN: I run on, ducking under fallen trees and scrambling when the path turns steep.

Another thing I really like about trail running in the forest is that it's just not boring - dancing around roots and rocks just the way we used to run as kids.

After 40 minutes or so, all the busy, hectic thoughts in my head fade back. I start noticing things. I smell the warm pine dust. I feel the sun where it catches my skin.

One reason I love to run in the evening in the forest is that this is one of the times when the birdsong is just kind of crazy and lush. Listen to this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRDS SINGING)

MANN: After another mile, I reach a wetland that borders the mountain lake. It's evening now, but there's plenty of daylight left. So I sit on a rock, watching dragonflies move over the water, and I realize I'm not alone.

(SOUNDBITE OF FROGS CROAKING)

MANN: Listening to the frogs chatter, it feels like I'm about a million miles from anything.

Brian Mann, NPR News in New York's Adirondack Mountains.

(SOUNDBITE OF OSKAR SCHUSTER'S "FJARLAEGUR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.