Hiking We Will Go

Living on a mountain near park lands means lots of hiking opportunities. We’ve been exploring near our home with our kids. I’ve quickly learned how to make it really enjoyable for us: hats, sunscreen, windbreakers/light jackets, comfy close-toed shoes, Neosporin + bandaids (yes, I’ve used this for the bumps and bruises that sometimes happen on the trail), and a backpack with water and a snack (and a place to keep the litter if any). “We’re just going for a walk,” my husband will say, and I’m tempted to put on some flip flops and head out, but his “walks” have always turned into actual hikes, so… now I know better! He actually blushed and didn’t even deny it when I pointed out that a walk isn’t just a walk with him, and we need to bring the stuff, haha! I’m very blessed to love a man who enjoys nature like me.

My 3-year-old is the biggest fan of “hiking on the mountain”. Being the pirate-loving kid he is, he seems to think there’s treasure somewhere around here. Now he asks for gummy treats of some kind because he’s been hiking with his father who always brings a package for him on their special hikes. There were a couple of days that Jer took off from work to take care of his finals and papers for his Master’s program, but ended up spending one-on-one time with his little buddies hiking for part of it since it was a rare time he was home during the school year. Jer finally explained to me that if he can do anything to get W excited to go hiking instead of dreading it, and reward him for it—he’s going to stick with it! That got me on board with the gummy treats.

The kids are learning about keeping safe by staying on the trails, drinking water consistently, asking all kinds of questions whenever we find an animal carcass (deer bones, owl pellets, etc.), and practicing “leave no trace”. On one particular morning, I had just run over 3 miles before our hike and my knees weren’t in the best shape, but I had to keep moving because my kids didn’t want to stop hiking! They were on a “waterfall hunt” as my 3-year-old called it, and he wasn’t turning back until he found it. I was so proud of them hiking and climbing all the way to the top of one of the mountains where we saw a great view! We make note of the flowers or plants we come across because usually the next time we come around, something else has bloomed there instead. The meadow of yellow flowers (pictured below) was gone when we returned 2 weeks later.

I like that you can explore places when the trail wouldn’t normally be open to vehicles because of snowfall or other road access issues. We found that the road was closed due to fires and an avalanche, and it has to be completely rebuilt. Since the road had been closed for a while, the forest and trail in the “undisturbed” area seemed to be recovering and we felt like rare visitors to a special place. You’re able to notice things a little better when you’re on foot and taking everything in slowly, like the thick smell of Christmas tree (one of my favorite scents) as the forest changed from deciduous to evergreen trees further along the trail. We found some plants that had grown along a rocky wall! Jer and I were able to talk with the kids about erosion, especially with all the fallen trees and rock formations we saw.

The pics below were taken on Mother’s Day on a bridge at the end of the trail right before entering Bear Country. The bridge connects both sides of the water underneath, but when we crossed it and explored on the other side we saw that some of the picnic areas were hanging on the edge of a cliff-like concrete slab that had been mostly eaten away, and it wasn’t very safe! We’d like to come back here to use fire pit, however, and the rest of the fun picnic areas. I’m so glad my family enjoys being outdoors with me! It was such a special Mother’s Day having those quiet moments together.

Adventure awaits you! I hope you’re able to get outside soon and enjoy the gifts of nature safely!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *