Thursday, May 12, 2016

It's always fun when we meet someone on a pretty intense trail, Noble perched high in the frame pack on one of our backs and Evie trekking along between Alex and I. One of two things happens - they pass us by with scarcely a word, but their raised eyebrows and dodgy eyes say it all, or they can't stop commenting on how surprising it is to see us out here. Though we all enjoy hiking, I seem to be the ringleader of the whole parade. Alex is usually like, 'We can't do that with the kids,' and I just shrug and say, 'Sure we can!' Maybe it's the military wife in me, but nothing fazes me anymore. We aren't logging any long miles these days, but we manage to get out quite a bit more than I ever thought would be possible before I was a Mama. Most people try to convince you that life is over once you give birth. You can't sleep anymore. (Well that one is a little true.) You can't hike anymore. You can't eat at restaurants anymore. From the very beginning, my determination kind of came in handy because I waved all of that off. The fact is, I can go without a full night of sleep and I can be those people in a restaurant for a few years, but I have to hike.

I wasn't raised in a particularly outdoorsy family. We took a few local camping trips. Two of those stand out a bit more vividly in my mind than the rest - one involved inches of rain in our tent and the other resulted in an emergency room visit after an encounter with a snake. My sister and I used to spend hours in a creek behind our house as kids, but that mostly became a thing of memories as I got older. Looking back, an adventurous spirit was always in me, but I never knew what to do with it. I dabbled in some outdoor hobbies up until Noble was born - some rock climbing in the gym in Albuquerque, a few hikes each year, but nothing enduring. Our hiking log started to increase the longer we lived in New Mexico, but when we moved to Brooklyn, we kind of lost our momentum. It wasn't until a few months ago that it clicked again. I had a hard adjustment period after this last move, so I started seeking some outdoor therapy. The short nature walk-sized goals quickly morphed into a craving for long hikes into the wilderness and has only intensified. I've always found it hard to decide what I want to do, not necessarily for a job, but just with my life outside of being a wife and Mama. What has been even harder is finding the time to do what makes it onto that list. Unlike sewing or drawing or taking pictures, it's easy to make hiking a family affair. I don't need to find a babysitter every time I need an outlet. I'm not pulling my hair out as they climb up my leg while I try to make time for my hobby.

The ease of bringing my kids along is just the tip of the iceberg as far as why I hike.

I hike because with each step, with each trail, with each goal I meet, I'm bridging that gap between who I am right now and the person that I want to be. With each hike completed, I know I made a decision to better myself in a small way.

I hike because I'm inviting my kids to a revolution every time we walk down a trail together, to a world where kids are free to run wild and let their imaginations follow. I'm inviting them to live and explore with their own two feet and know their own strength. They will learn that they can do adventurous things and know that they don't have to spend their lives passively admiring others from the sidelines while thinking, "I wish I could do that.'

I hike to care for myself, to keep my legs strong and my lungs worthy of climbing mountains or swimming seas, wherever life takes me.

I hike because it makes me feel courageous, strong, and capable like nothing ever has, other than childbirth.  It's a strength that I can bring into every part of my life. Each hike changes me. I become a believer in myself. I know that I can do hard things. I bring this confidence into my home, my mothering, my marriage. The benefits of hiking reverberates through my entire life, like the rings that show themselves when you throw a rock into water.

I hike because it quiets my soul and relieves my stress like nothing else can.

I hike to help my children fall in love with the world around us and ultimately advocate for a better world for their children, because you don't want to care for something you aren't in love with.

I hike because I want my children to see me doing things that bring me joy, accomplishing goals, and living life fully.

I hike because it feels like freedom.


  1. I love hiking, too. I really enjoyed reading your perspective on it and agree whole hog that it is a great activity for the whole family!



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