When I think of going back in time to experience Jane Austen’s world, I imagine myself embroidering, playing cards, or drinking tea by the fire while my servants ready the table for supper. Yet, when I read about my favorite heroines, it seems that most would rather be out of the house than in–walking in the garden, exploring the streets of Bath, and enjoying the mountains of the Lake District.
In her walk to Netherfield, Elizabeth crossed “field after field at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles with impatient activity.” She arrived at the house “with weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise.”
Mrs. Hurst later criticized her for having a petticoat “six inches deep in mud.”
Elizabeth certainly enjoyed her walks. As she said later, “What are men to rocks and mountains?”
A daily constitutional may seem quaint and old-fashioned in our technological age, but it turns out our Regency Era friends were wise to walk daily. It wasn’t just for the physical exercise either. Psychologists have found that walking in nature improves our mental health. (Perhaps, Marianne was actually onto something when she went on that fateful walk to see Willoughby’s estate. If it hadn’t been for that storm . . . )
I’ve found that a walk will usually cheer me up as well. I especially love hiking in the mountains during the summer, and I wanted to share some pictures from my latest hikes.
The picture at the top of my post is of Bridal Veil Falls. When I went up to the top, I climbed through the water. Going back down, I went the wrong way and got stuck. I felt a little like Marianne Dashwood when she fell down the hill and hurt her ankle. Although I didn’t actually hurt myself, my teenage son came to rescue me. (He’s a lot nicer than Willoughby.) I was literally six feet deep in mud at the end of that hike.
In the picture below, we found evidence of Autumn’s approach. I felt a little like Anne Elliot on this winding hike, not only because of the gold and red foliage, but because we weren’t quite sure when we would reach our destination. Also, with a couple of little kids tagging along, we stopped to rest quite a bit.
In this next hike, I felt as adventurous as Catherine Morland, exploring new surroundings. This was a harder hike with lots of mysterious sights to see. We found a cave, as well as a couple of waterfalls and some ancient cars that somehow got to the top of the mountain.
Lastly, this beautiful hike around Mirror Lake reminded me of Elizabeth’s walk on the grounds of Pemberley. The views here were majestic and awe-inspiring, and I can’t help thinking how nice it would have been to fish with Darcy in this lake.
How about you? Where do you like to walk? Is there anyplace that makes you feel like you’ve walked into one of your favorite books?