Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hiking with 7 kids

One of my favorite things to do with my family is get outdoors and explore together.
Whether we're camping at National Parks, picnicing by the creek, or hiking in the woods...I love it, and the kids love it!

I intended to post some pictures of us "finding beach" at Oak Creek.  I was enjoying shooting with my nifty fifty lens that day, as I don't usually pull that one out.  I can distinctly remember taking a photo of sand sifting through Aubrey's fingers and of Elaina's clear blue eyes as she looked up at me.  I had a picture of the beach chair sitting in the sand and grass. But I can't find those pictures!

What I did find were pictures of our sunset hike on Sunset Trail last month, which, by the way, is an awesome time and trail to hike!  There is mixed vegetation and lots of old growth (a dream playground for energetic kids).

Let me clarify what a family "hike" is actually like.
Dean and I strap on the babies.  The oldest four kids take off down the trail.  I hold Elaina's hand and we saunter after them.  We occasionally capture glimpses of the kids hopping on and off boulders like mountain goats.  They explore any side canyons, logs, boulders, or ravines and run back to show us their findings. They linger long enough for my requested picture (or not), and are off again.  Dean asks if we are hiking or on a photography shoot. I just smile at him. When the twins get antsy, we hand them flowers, branches, and pinecones.  I warn Dean about giving a branch that is too long. When Graham pokes Dean in the head with the branch he handed back to him, I laugh hysterically. He just smiles at me.

After we turn around (having gone only about one mile) we start a game of hide and seek.  The kids run ahead and hide, and we try spot them from the trail. The oldest three take turns waiting for and hiding with Elaina, who protests loudly at being left behind. Eventually the twins get tired of riding, so we let them walk the last few hundred yards.  It's veeerrrrrryyyyy slow going.

But that's okay, I'm quite fine with our leisurely family hikes.  The kids burn a ton of energy, the fresh air is intoxicating, and I get a chance to hold Dean's hand all while enjoying beautiful scenery. 
Also, I'd like to think that we are laying the groundwork for life-long habits in our kids.
Some day, the kids will join us on overnight backpacking trips and then they'll be off going on their own.

For now, the first mile of the Sunset Trail got two thumbs up from all of us.
I'm looking forward to the next "hike" there!

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