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When I am feeling stressed, one of my favorite things to do is head outdoors. Whether I am kayaking one of the many lakes or rivers around Orlando, cycling, swimming, or hiking nature trails, I find peace in nature. The farther I am off the beaten path the more I can experience stillness and contemplation. When I find the right spot, I can sit for hours just listening to the sounds of nature. Even if I don’t have a whole lot of free time (like today), just getting away for a hour or so can do a lot to better my mood. For me nature seems to break my preoccupation with myself and whatever situation is bothering me at the time. Getting outside helps me to refocus.

These days it is becoming increasingly harder for me to find time to unplug and get away. Today I decided it had been long enough and took a short hike. Although I wasn’t completely unplugged, I was only equipped with the camera on my smartphone so its all good. I limited myself to only a few pictures and didn’t even check my social media channels until I got back in the car! That’s kind of like being unplugged right?

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Walking a couple of miles through the oak forest situated within Lake Runnymede Conservation Area, was just what I needed to hit my reset button and keep me on the path of productivity. The busier I get the more I appreciate moments like I had today. I don’t always have the luxury of being able to drop what I am doing like that.

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Lake Runnymede Conservation Area is the smallest preserve in my area. There are two trails that loop around the property that are approximately 0.9 miles long with even shorter options cutting through the middle. Markers are placed everywhere to keep you on track. This is one of the best marked trails around so you don’t really even have to pay attention to where you are going. Just walk and enjoy nature.

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Lake Runnymede Conservation Area is home to some of the most ancient oaks in Central Florida. Some of these trees, turns out, are over 500 years old! Although I rarely see much wildlife on this trail, I have seen a few owls, hawks, and armadillos. Today I didn’t see anything but squirrels and a few lizards but I could hear songbirds high above me, nestled somewhere within the dense mossy canopy.

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Whether you are looking to get away and center yourself or just want to enjoy a nice and easy walk in the woods, Lake Runnymede is a great place. There are benches and picnic tables scattered throughout the property so you can even bring a bite to eat.

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