This fall, catch a moment of awe

Summit Metro Parks
2 min readNov 30, 2023

Jen M. Harvey, Chief of Philanthropy

Photo by Craig Walton.

Bring yourself back to a time when you felt awe or wonder. It might be easy to do, since one moment of awe can create a memory that lasts a lifetime. It’s one of the less-understood emotions, but is increasingly thought of as a key to happiness and a pathway that helps us find purpose.

“Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world,” according to Dacher Keltner, an expert in the science of human emotion. Being in nature is one of the simple ways to experience awe and wonder. Think of the feeling you get when contemplating a massive tree or an abundance of stars in a deep-black night sky.

Want to add more awe in your everyday life? The 60th Annual Fall Hiking Spree is a chance to try an “awe walk” in the parks. It’s about seeing nature around you with a new perspective — like you are seeing it for the first time — and keeping yourself open to sights and sounds that surprise and delight, taking note of the moments that give you amazement and perhaps the elusive feeling of awe. The Metro Parks trails and the beautiful natural areas they feature are fantastic places to begin.

Family hiking in 1971.

People have been enjoying the Fall Hiking Spree for more than 60 years, and the spree draws us outside each fall to reconnect with nature and each other. As you walk the trails this year, catch a moment of awe, and create a memory that lasts a lifetime.

To help make these moments possible, the Summit Metro Parks Foundation has established a dedicated fund in support of the hiking spree tradition that we hope will grow to maintain the program permanently.

To donate to the hiking spree fund, visit the foundation’s website or send a check with a note indicating “Hiking Spree Fund” to the Summit Metro Parks Foundation at 975 Treaty Line Road, Akron, Ohio 44313.

For more stories like this, check out Green Islands magazine, a bi-monthly publication from Summit Metro Parks. Summit County residents can sign up to receive the publication at home free of charge.

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Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks manages 15,000 acres, 16 parks, three nature centers and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at www.summitmetroparks.org.