Family Fun: Hiking is the Perfect Tradition for Our Family
In 1997, I was a in the mood for a change. I had been sober for a couple of years; I was just beginning to stop spending all my time working on staying sober and was ready to begin pursuing other family activities. But after years of hanging out in bars and then hanging out in recovery meetings, I didn't know where to start. Luckily, it was just about this time that we were invited to join a friend on a short hike in the woods.
That first hike was rather hilarious. My husband wore his regular street shoes since he didn’t own sneakers and I was so incredibly out of shape that I could barely manage the short climbs on the trails. But we got bitten by the hiking bug, and within a few short months, hiking became our obsession. That first summer we were blessed with a magical summer. For fifteen weekends in a row, it did not rain (a miracle, really), so each weekend day we were able to hike to our heart’s content. I adopted the (incredibly nerdy) habit of seeking out and identifying wild plants on our hikes, and soon I was making salads with weeds and bringing home bags of wild berries. It was fun.
But in 2003 we started trying to have a baby, and it turned out it wasn’t going to be easy for us. Part of the extensive infertility treatments I underwent required that I not do strenuous exercise, and hiking began to fall by the wayside. Once my daughter was finally born in 2006, we tried to get back in the habit but it turns out hiking with a baby is challenging and we didn’t enjoy it. We still did a few rare hikes as she got older, but she didn’t really enjoy it...until, finally, this summer.
My husband and I are a lot older now (shhh, he’s turning fifty this year), so getting back in hiking shape is harder than expected. But we are blessed here in the Philadelphia area with a huge range of fun, short hikes (by short I mean under five miles, easy for out of shape parents and little legs) that we can go on as a family. I’ve begun to share my wild plant knowledge with my daughter which is ridiculously fun. We can even bring the dog!
The best part about hiking with the family, I think, is the fact that it’s a technology free activity. Yes, I bring my iPhone, and yes, my daughter likes to climb things and then insist I take a picture, but it provides a screen-free time for us to talk about stuff while we get fresh air and exercise. At this point, we’re trying to hike at least once a week, but I’m already itching to do more. There is no doubt in my mind that hiking is our new favorite family fun tradition.
Do you go on hikes with your family? What is your favorite part about getting out in nature?
Cecily Kellogg is the mom of nearly six year old daughter, a wife, and the social media strategist for AboutOne, an online family organizer that turns your phone into a remote control for your life, working with your existing calendar and contact tools so you can automatically organize, store, and share family memories and household paperwork. Through web and mobile apps, AboutOne guides you along the path to organization, rewarding you along the way for meeting your organizational goals.