Taking The Trail Less Hiked
Let’s get real. During the Summer if you’re a SAHP (Stay At Home Parent) like myself, you take your kids everywhere and do everything together, then come home in happy tired bliss, leaving your gear and bags unpacked with dirty shoes and socks at the door. At least that is how my Summer days are. When we go hiking, the first thing that comes to mind when I have all of them with me is,
How the hell am I going to get through this with all of them?
It seems crazy right? The ratio is 1:4 and most days, its 1:5 because we bring Gus–our energetic, 100-lb. lab with us. I also have a carrier, my hiking poles, and leash in hand. If I decide to let go a bit, then I’m giving my big kids free reign as their own substitute hummingbird parent with my littlest, Poppy. Good luck, guys! But what’s even more crazy is now I’m going to tell them that we are not only going on a hike, but we’re going a different way than we’re used to. Let that sink in.
My kids are always good. They take it as a new adventure with a “Woo!” and “Yay!” I do too, but not without the first horror thoughts flooding my mind supported by fear, angst, and dramantics (this is what I call me being dramatic and whiny.)
If you’re new to hiking and getting outside, this is what it might look like: You get to your local park and see the signage for the trails you want to go on. Or maybe you don’t and you ask someone to point you in the right direction. After milling over a few minutes to yourself if the lonesome trail near the water or the fire road would be your choice, you gladly go with the fire road for reasons like safety! and it’s safe! and it’s safer than the other trail! The other trail looks fun and you want to do it, but nah. Then off you go, walking toward your destination, content.
I’ve gone the way that everyone else has gone. It is the same every. single. time. The only thing that changes when I come back is the weather. Other than that, it’s the same path that’s led me to the same place. There’s nothing wrong with going the “safe” way.
The thing is, you might miss some really awesome things that will get you and your kids stoked to explore the outdoors even more.
I can’t name all the things you may or may not run into. I do know it will be hard. It will be tough, it might even be excruciating having to endure a hot trail and bickering from your tired offspring. Your littlest will want you to carry her another mile before she willingly hops back into her carrier–and even then, if her shoes aren’t off before the harness snaps connect, you’re getting yelled at by a slobbery, dirty mess. (Yes, this has all happened to me!) But I can say that taking that trail you’re unfamiliar with will give you more than just a detour from your map. It will be something you’ll remember because it’ll be new and your kids will have fun–it will be an adventure no matter what. You’ll be proud of you and your kids for doing something out of the ordinary or for doing it at all. I can truly say that being on any trail, all anxiety and worry works itself out because fresh air does that.
Taking the trail less hiked is what has molded me as a lover of nature, loving exposing my kids to the outdoors. Every time I decide to take a new trail or visit a new destination, I’m directly impacting me and my kids’ attitudes toward how we conquer challenges and take on new experiences. Sure, it is hard–if you’re a parent I believe it can be easy too. I’m never a perfect parent on the trail, but I’m always grateful of the new experiences.
I hope you decide to take that other trail and open a whole new world of exploring for you and your kids. If you experience overcoming an obstacle or taking a trail less hiked, be sure to tag us using #raisingkidswild to be featured on Instagram.
Happy trails to you and yours!