If you have read any of my blogs you know that we as a family hike a lot (Hiking with Kids). No matter what the season we usually pack a lunch to eat so that way we are no rush to leave. When you have hungry kids you have a tendency to rush everything. Our solution has always been to pack a lunch for the day. That way when we spend our day in nature its not a rushed event.
We took another winter hike the other day. It was a day before another snow storm so there wasn’t fresh snow but still snow everywhere. It’s calming in the winter because not a lot of people are out when it’s a certain temperature and as I like to say a lot, the forest is even taking her winter slumber. The few animals and birds you do see are nothing compared to when spring has arrived. Where we hike there is a man made waiting pool they had built to help gather run off from the mountain and give wildlife a small habitat. It was frozen with small ice crystals creating a swirling design. In the spring you will see hundred of frog eggs and newts swimming. The flowers and lilies will be coming back up to greet the sun. For now though they are hidden beneath snow and ice. The winter nights are long and the days are short but now since the winter solstice you can slowly see the daylight returning.
The forest where we hiked had a stillness to it. It’s a interesting feeling you get when you are secluded and since there is no one for miles it can make the stillness even more exaggerated. We tracked on though. The kids you could tell had needed a good walk and at some points were running on the flatter parts. Getting everyone some much needed outdoor time.There is nothing quiet like the fresh crisp winter air to help clear the mind and relax the soul.
One of the amazing adventures we did on our family vacation was walking on a frozen lake. One trick to enjoying the frigid temperatures is to dress properly, when I am nice and warm I am no rush to go back inside. We headed out on a blustery bitter cold morning to walk to the lake. It is a nice short walk through a snow covered forest path. When we arrived there were about a half a dozen of ice fisherman scattered around all trying to get their luck at catching the big fish. We walked down to the beach of the lake and started our trek across the ice. The wind was blowing that you could see powder snow form snow twisters on the ice. The sheer quietness of being on the open lake. The only sound besides the wind blowing was the distance sound of augers cutting through the thick ice. With ice fisherman in the distance we began to have fun on the frozen lake. My daughter loved holding onto her dad’s hand and pretending to be a ice skater. My youngest son got down on his belly and started sliding on the ice to see how fast and far he could get. He would stand back up again move a little bits away and try to slide again on his stomach. It had snowed the night before so there was a fine dusting of what the wind hadn’t blown away. My oldest son who had a stick with him began drawing designs on the little bit of snow he could find. He would make little swirls and designs. The wind would blow it away and he would find his next patch of snow. The sky was just clearing enough to see peaks of blue show through. Hearing their laughter and seeing the pure joy on my children’s faces experiencing their childhood made my heart warm. We were not alone on the lake but with how vast and open it was it felt as if we were the only ones. It is a strange thought to be standing on something that when it warms becomes pure liquid. Something humbling about the whole experience. It was neat to explore what we could find frozen in the ice. There were leaves ( which I have shared on my Instagram) and veins from the ice shifting and refreezing. It was the lakes life line being shown for all to see. In its own way it was art like a fingerprint original only to the lake. Nothing like that could be created again. When we were done with hours of fun we headed back to our cabin with great memories and wind blown faces. I took so many wonderful photos on this day but shared one of my favorite to be the feature photo for this blog post.
(Please before you go walking on a frozen lake etc. check ice conditions and make sure it is safe to walk on. We had an ice report and it stated approved for ice fishing).
Blogging on my trip has been fun. The reason is I only have a notebook and pen. Our little cabin in the woods has no internet or cell service ( I didn’t feel like bringing my laptop). It’s hard to believe with modern day technology that anything like that exists. It is one of the many perks of vising this cabin. Here I am jotting down some notes to then retype when I return home. The thing is I love being able to get back to the basics. It’s nice not having technology for a little bit and to just enjoy the silence of it all. My husband can’t take any work calls, it is 100% family time. We go on a lot of hikes while we are here. The kids love to try to figure out what animal made the snow track. There are a lot of waterfalls here even though they are frozen in time. Even they enjoy the slower pace of winter. This is our battery recharge. We come here to reflect and realize what is really important to us. We bring our telescope to do a lot of star gazing. My daughter dreams of one day being an astronaut veterinarian so I figured it’s a good start ( I love hearing there aspirations). It’s so quiet here the only sound beside trees creaking in the breeze is the sound we create ( which can be loud sometimes with kids playing). It is also so dark here at night since there is no one near, no distant city, nothing… just you and the forest around you. At night we build a camp fire and make smores. It is so neat to see the contrast of fire and ice. Our campfire is surrounded by mounds of snow which the kids have carved out into seats and sitting areas. It’s nice to be sitting surrounded in snow that is now glowing in the campfire. We have time for the little things in life. My son is now trying to figure out the very complicated game of chess. Something that sometimes we don’t always make time to teach. I have to admit that I am terrible at the game but my son is having fun learning. At home I sometimes find myself zoning out on my phone for a while but here we play chess and talk about life and enjoy the fresh air. Since we go for a while cut off from the outside world we are not distracted. Instead we can focus on what matters in the moment.
Another weekend and another hiking trip. Did I mention we go for nature walks and hikes often. Something about getting back to our roots is a comfort. The primal instinct to go walking around in nature and to be apart of it. Lets think at one time human kind didn’t know that there was a possibility of living inside the way we do today. To never leave ones home or just sit outside to get some fresh air. Our life is not designed to always live a life of recycled air from a building ( I love AC when it is super hot outside). We are meant to be apart of the Earth’s pulse. That is why when no matter what is going on in our family life. When we step out onto that trail it gives you a sense of clarity. My mom always use to say to me ” go out and get some of that vitamin D.”
Our trip was a beautiful sunny day. It has been very cold and wet lately so it was great to finally see the sun. Though is was sunny the wind still had a bite to it. My family and I bundled up and hit the trail. It was so peaceful. We only came across one other family when walking. You can imagine how quiet the woods was. My kids explored some of the tree bases looking in their nooks and crannies. My daughter has this amazing wild imagination ( I hope she always has it). She was imaging that those were little fairy homes. When she got home that night she of course had to draw some of the tress with fairies coming out of them. The woods even though it was sunny they still have that deep shadowing. It has that effect of pulling a blanket close to your face to bring you comfort at night. Where we hiked the whole forest is all pine trees, so there were millions of pine needles lining our path. Oh and the aroma of those pine needles every step released the smell on the ground. It was a moment of clarity that my family needed. To just step out into the world and explore the big and little things it has to offer. I was able to do a lot of photography ( I will share that throughout this month on my Instagram) which is one of my many outlets in life. I love being able to capture that moment in time and to look back at it years from now and appreciate it even more. I have always loved photography. It wasn’t until I was in collage and majored in art was I able to get better at getting that great shot.
Nothing beats getting some fresh air out in nature. Close your eyes and imagine. You are walking along a trail all you can hear is your footsteps, along with small rustles in the leaves. You hear the soft drip of rain drops falling onto the leaves and then slowly onto the ground. You take in a deep breath of fresh air. You can smell wet leaves along with a hint of evergreen. You feel relaxed and at peace with your surroundings.
We did our annual new years hike. This is a hike tradition we try to keep up with every year. Yes we hike often with our kids but it is something special about a fresh start to the new year. Getting some much needed mountain air. Where we live it is very cold in the winter. We bundle the kids up wear some boots and hit the trail. It was such a chilly damp day. The type of damp that unless you are warming up by a woodstove you never feel warm. It still gave a sense of comfort walking around in the forest. Growing up I was always hiking with my mom. We camped a lot in the summer and early fall. We were always on an adventure to some place or something. I don’t know if I dragged her along for the ride or she me. Some of the best memories you have as a child are the ones that weren’t a planned event or even a big event. My best memories were just having fun out in the wilderness with my family. No big moments just memories.
The great outdoors is in my families soul. Hiking and camping is a generational thing. I am glad we can keep it going with my family. I hope one day my kids will pass it onto their kids and so on.
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