A Hike in the Woods

Being a teacher, summer symbolizes more than warmer weather and being outdoors for me.  It is a time to rest my mind, renew my spirit, and get things done.  A hike in the woods is a great way for my family to unwind. At the beginning of summer break I am always focused on everything that I need to get accomplished, especially now.  I am reminding myself as I write this that I need to make time to have fun each and every day!

Summer Fun

Everyone who knows me knows that I love to do fun things with my grandkids, nieces and nephews.  I gain joy through their joy.  Everything that I plan usually has some childish abandon behind it.  It seems that I have lost a little of that lately in the overwhelm that is life.  I’m going to get that back this summer.  We have already taken a couple of the grands on a hike while their parents went on a day trip and it was a wonderful experience.  In the back of my mind, I have several more hikes in mind. 

grandkids on a hike in the woods
grandkids on a hike in the woods

If you want to hear about some of the hikes that we have enjoyed over the years, I will drop the link to the travel section of my blog.  Kenny and I work together on this section because he is the vacation planner among us.  We almost always include hiking in our travel plans.

Hiking with kids

When our own children were still at home, we took lots of hikes for fun.  Hiking is free after all 😉.  It also allowed our children to run off some energy and unplug from technology.  As they got older our children would sometimes balk at the hiking plans, but they always joined in and enjoyed it.  Now they plan hikes for their own kids so I know these adventures that we went on were worthwhile.

So when we plan hikes, we typically think about how strenuous the hike we are looking at is in comparison to the abilities of our group members.  I look at this more than Kenny does because I am naturally a much more cautious person (he says he is more fun).  We know someone is going to want or need to be carried at some point if the smallest members of our family are joining.  We also know who is scared of heights (me) or afraid of going through snaky looking places and plan for it.  Beautiful or unique scenery and fun breaks during the hike are always on our agenda, too.  It was (and is) also awesome for our family if the hike had a swimming hole or a sliding rock!

What you need for a hike in the woods

Having at least one good backpack is important.  Ours isn’t new or fancy.  In fact, the ones that we use now have probably been with us for twenty or more years.  Making sure to pack lots of water and snacks makes the trail more enjoyable, too.  We try to take snacks that pack well and don’t need to be kept cool. 

kenny on a hike in the woods

We never leave home without the sunscreen and bug spray. A jacket or long sleeved shirt in order to layer if the weather changes is a good idea, too.  We don’t usually pack a rain poncho but always wish we did when caught in an unexpected rain storm.  If traveling with young children, obviously, you would have to pack for their needs as well.  Also, don’t forget a towel and dry clothes if you plan to get wet.  We don’t leave home without a roll of tissue paper just in case of unexpected emergencies either. 

Just remember that you should always pack out what you pack in.  There is nothing that disappoints me more than seeing litter along a hiking trail.  I don’t understand how a person can enjoy nature and contribute to destroying it at the same time.

When we want to have an inexpensive, fun activity that is also educational and healthy, we plan a hike.  Almost every area has a natural space that is good for hiking or nature walking.  Plan ahead, bring along a picnic to enjoy before or after your outing, and enjoy the outdoors!

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