for the weekend | a family day hike


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Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity. ― John Muir, Our National Parks

We live in Central Texas, far from foothills and mountains. Still I can agree with Muir’s words just the same: being outdoors is the best way to clear my mind, my nerves, my heart. On a typical day, when I’m feeling anxious or exhausted, stepping outside my door is an immediate cure. Nature has a way of quieting my soul and thoughts, of reminding me of the simplicity of life.

On the weekend, when we have a larger block of time together as a family, we love being outdoors together for the same reasons. It reminds us of the gift of time, the simplicity of family life together. Plus, in a really practical way, it’s good to be in spaces where the kids can run-a-muck with loud voices and laughter, where we can step away from the demands of the home. Deep breathing, fresh air, sunshine–every bit of it is good for the soul and body.

Most weekends, we may simply enjoy our yard or a local trail or park. On my favorite weekends, we make a day trip to the coast or a nearby state park. In the fall and spring, we try to camp for the entire weekend. These trips don’t require the fanciest gear or even a ton of preparation, but I love how they inspire curiosity, how they allow for idle conversation and thought, how they bring us together with a fresh experience (even when we are familiar with the place).

We took one of these day hikes on a recent weekend together. We packed the kids’ water backpacks, snacks, binoculars, a notebook, pencil or colors, camera, local field guides and drove to a state park. We mapped out our hike, taking consideration of how far our youngest can walk, 3-4 miles at most right now. The goal for us isn’t length or speed, and I find it’s more fun for all of us if we pause and climb trees or skip rocks or draw when everyone needs the pause. When possible (like this day), we stop by the ranger station to grab a junior ranger backpack. They’re free to check out for the day and include paper, crayons, binoculars, nature guides, and a little packet of things to look for and activities to do while on the trail. We’ve also been enjoying the Wild Explorers Club, an online adventure program, to help lead us through nature exploring and basic wilderness skills. The lessons are self-paced and easy to adapt to our own outings as we go. Likewise, they inspire us to get outdoors together!

Do you have plans to be outdoors this weekend? Even if it’s sitting on a porch, make some time for it. Happy weekend, friends! xx

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  1. I’m enjoying catching up on your posts this evening. I’ve been trying to make the most of getting outdoors this summer and to be thankful for the amazing places we have not far from our doorstep. My kids are happiest when they are at the beach or on a bush walk. I can so easily take for granted the beauty that surrounds us living in New Zealand. And as much as I love being at home it does us all good to get out into the fresh air and explore.

    1. Author

      It’s so relieving for me to leave the confines of walls and management. Whereas in my home, I can become fixated on creating order and routine, those things occur naturally outside my door. In nature, I’m not in control, but rather am subject to life that is larger than myself. I like that balance and find I need it regularly. Thanks for checking in!

    1. Author

      A walk in the countryside sounds lovely. We live in a neighborhood, so I’m always grateful when we walk in nature, large fields and forests alike.

  2. Love this! We live in North Texas. Which State Parks in Texas do you like to visit?

    1. Author

      We were visiting Huntsville State Park on this particular day. Garner State Park and Enchanted Rock are also some of our favorites, although we usually camp there. Inks Lake and Lost Maples are really wonderful, too.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Janice. Our weather has been so lovely here all month, but it has concerned me that we’ve already reached 85F in February. I can’t imagine what June may be like.

  3. I love this. I noticed from the very beginning of my son’s life that he was much happier and calmer outdoors, so even though he was born in January in North TX, I bundled him up and we went outside. We’ve continued doing the same thing these past 2 years, especially when I notice he is getting a little anxious or out of sorts. Outside, son!

    I know the same, however, is true for myself and other adults- a little time spent wilding is so good for the soul.

    1. Author

      That’s so true. When my oldest was an infant, taking him outdoors was the only way to calm him when he became over-stimulated. That led us to walks/hikes at least twice a day all through his early years (even as we had other children). I’m so grateful for the habit that we formed then.

  4. We have the second wolf assigment to do, but I’m not sure how we’ll do it before the snow melts (all nearby trails are closed!) We might venture into the country skying trail, now that snow and ice have stop falling down.

    Your pictures makes me very eager for springtime!!! Beautiful as always. And I love your hat!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Andréann! We have a long season of warm/hot weather where we live, and I’m sure my children would love the experience of snow if ever possible. We lagged behind in our WE journey with the Christmas holiday and have just started up again. The best part of the program is moving at your own pace. I hope you’re able to get out exploring again soon. x

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