Get outdoors with your family - the benefits are amazing!

Get Outdoors

We were fortunate to enjoy a break in the weather yesterday and decided to take full advantage of the situation. I have to admit that we haven’t always been great at getting the kids out into the wilderness as much as we should. Now that our youngest is over a year and our oldest is 3 years old, we find it much easier to get out and enjoy the Pacific Northwest outdoors. We woke up early, got the kids ready, and hit the road with our camera gear in anticipation of a fun day outdoors.


I’m guilty of sheltering the kids a bit much, and I’ve always been hesitant to hike very far with them since I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to make it back. This time we picked a semi-local trail that was a little over two miles total, out and back. It it a well-known trail, but there is a bit of elevation change along the way and it is too narrow for any sort of stroller. We opted to put the little guy in a LILLEbaby carrier and my wife carried him when he wasn’t running, and I carried a camera gear backpack and second pack with kid gear, but my daughter set out eagerly on the path unencumbered.

Stop and smell the roses

As we started down the initial descent, we didn’t get far at all when we stopped and asked our daughter what she could hear. Well, there was the obvious stream next to us that she pointed out, but after thinking about it for a little bit, she started to pick out sounds that we normally wouldn’t think twice about. Was that a squirrel? There was a bird, a second bird. Wait… are they talking to each other? Taking some time to observe led to some really interesting and insightful conversations with our daughter.

After we listened, we started to look around. This is when our son really got excited. Seeing all of the different plants and being able to put his hands in the stream really got his attention. Despite the low temperatures, if we had let him, I bet he would have jumped right in! The kids found a bunch of really neat plants and flowers, and then we started to move along.

Sometimes the things we take for granted can truly be amazing to the little ones, so it isn’t a bad idea to slow things down and let them take it all in. As a parent with a hectic schedule, sometimes I have to remember that it isn’t crossing the finish line that matters, it is the journey along the way.

Socializing on the trail

We met several very nice families along the way and almost everyone said hello to us and the kids, which was a great experience. There’s something about being out in nature – it seems like everyone we meet is incredibly friendly and always wants to talk. I think being in situations such as these gives the kids a different perspective on life and the people they’ll meet along the way.

On our way back, we ran into a park ranger who was carrying a small log he was bringing back to the visitor center as an example of a host log. He stopped and talked to us and asked our daughter if she had any questions about what she experienced. Now usually, she’s pretty shy, and I sure didn’t expect her to say much, but instead she shared some things she saw, including the “gigantic” tree along the trail. We were really surprised to witness that conversation, but it was absolutely great.

The obvious

On top of everything else, of course the hike was great exercise for our entire family. The combination of fresh air and getting our blood pumping put everyone in a great mood. As a slight bonus, the kids were super tired afterward and bedtime was a breeze ;).

Do more of it

Our family goal this year is very simple. Do more of what we love, and this definitely fits the bill. It is great for the mind and the body, and I can’t help but feel that small trips like this help bring our family much closer together.  We’ll spend much more time outdoors this year.

All said and done, I can honesty say this was one of the best days I’ve had with my family. I hope you can get out and do some hiking with your families as well! In fact, we had such a great time, we did it all over again today.

Enjoy the weekend!

Get outdoors and spend time with your family!

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