Hiking is so much more than just walking around in nature with a hiking stick, a back pack, and some provisions. It can be a way of escape, it can be a time of meditation, it can be challenging, it can be educating, it can be down right frustrating. For us… it’s all of the above.
We usually set off on hikes in search of the beauty they have to offer. And we always walk away with so much more.
It should be no surprise that we don’t always stay on the trail set a head of us. On longer hikes we do, but on little short hikes we always ditch the trail in search of something more. This can be exhilarating, fun, and dangerous at the same time. Fortunately, or unfortunately (I haven’t quite decided), I live with three wild boys who seem to live for danger most days.
What would seem as a nice leisurely two-mile hike to a hidden lake turns into scaling slippery rocks, on a very vertical hill, crossing over a stream by way of fallen timber on your hands and knees, bushwhacking through Devils Club (it is as horrific as it sounds), and of course being eaten alive by swarms of mosquitos. I can still hear those buggers buzzing in my ears!
We always leave the trail with some bumps and scrapes, tired muscles, and happy boys.
Through these impromptu adventures we are teaching our children every step of the way. They are learning teamwork. We never leave anyone behind and we always help the person next to us. They are learning problem solving skills. Like finding the easiest route when there doesn’t seem to be a way through the brush, or over the stream. They are learning their own limits of what their little bodies are capable of doing and what they aren’t quite ready for. Although they seem to test these the most thinking they might be able to fly ‘this time’ if they jump off the next rock. They are learning that it’s ok to take the path never traveled because most times it leads us to hidden gems.
They learn to count on others. They learn that nature is delicate and beautiful and unforgiving.
So hiking isn’t just hiking. The lessons learned and the conversations we have during our trails go much deeper then just walking through the woods.