Fresh Air, Exercise, and Family Time. What better way to kill three resolutions with one stone than a hike in the great outdoors?
Everyone has a great outdoors they can walk in, even if it’s the local mall.
The criteria: A, you must actually leave your house and B, you have to drag a family member along, even if you have to borrow one from a neighbor. You don’t need any special equipment or fitness level.
If you can walk, you win.
Hubby and I enjoy hiking and it’s usually our Saturday morning workout of choice. We made it a habit years ago and it never fails to bring a nice balance to our week, our marriage, and our attitudes.
We bring many things along with us on our walks: anger, frustrations, worries, sadness, hopes, ambitions. Depending on how our week went, we apply hills or plains to the matter. Sometimes a long discussion is called for and others demand an hour of silent thought as we pass small lakes or valleys full of oak trees.
As we climb the steep path heading east, we are temporarily blinded by the sunrise. Once we have summited, the view is of mountain range after purple mountain range. Breathing deeply the tangy scent of California sagebrush, we slowly turn west and catch a glimpse of the distant Pacific.
The perspective puts everything in our minds into a manageable place.
But this is also about spending quality family time.
If only my family thought so.
The kids come along when their schedules permit but it should be noted that they are more eager to join the hike if there is a Starbucks at the end of it. That is usually a Sunday morning jaunt.
Daughter B will be whining at all uphills. Son C is guaranteed to run all downhills. Son A will be trailblazing through the brush, ignoring all public warning signs. Son B is scaling a boulder the size of a Buick, defying gravity and his mother. Very likely, someone will be bleeding by the time we head home.
Daughter A just makes sure her schedule is too full to join us. We walk too fast for her photographic talents anyway.
I imagine we make as much noise as a community garage sale as we walk along the dusty trails, trying to bond over blisters. Once in a while we see coyotes or foxes or mule deer or rabbits. Tarantulas. Quail. A rattlesnake here and there.
But for the most part, the wildlife, sensing imminent doom, vanishes and leaves us to it.
A lot of people bring along their dog. They may be on to something. The dogs are always enthusiastic, encouraging, and obedient. Sure, they may be relieving themselves on every square inch of great outdoors, but let’s hear it for an A+ attitude.
I’ve found it’s the little things that make a family hike memorable. Forgetting water in August. Not wearing gloves in February. The wardrobe miscalculation that results in walking five miles with a grand mal wedgie.
But you are creating memories out of a day that will never come again. You are getting some exercise and fresh air and sharing it with people you love.
You are headed for the nearest Starbucks like cattle stampeding to the watering hole.
But at least you got there on your own two feet.