I did say I wasn’t going to take my kids hiking every week this summer. It was just too much to even comprehend taking the baby/toddler/30+ lb chunk of adorable in the hiking backpack.
So instead of “comprehending” it and realizing it wasn’t going to be a very good idea, I just decided to forget it all and start a hiking homeschooling group for families in my area.
Because I like back pain! Yay! 😦
Actually, because I love hiking.
The name “Hike it Homeschoolers” is an obvious knock off of Hike it Baby, which is an awesome national hiking group with local chapters who sponsor hikes for mamas, babies, and toddlers. Technically I am part of two of those groups as well, but I’ve never gone hiking with them for fear of being rejected, seeing as although I do have a toddler, I also have a 4, 6, 8, and 10 year old. I’m just not sure how welcoming a mama and baby group would be to my boys tearing up the trail! It’s maybe safer not to risk it.
But I do LOVE hearing about all the wonderful trails they go on, although most of them are about an hour away. Last year, with our AHAW (A Hike A Week) program that I made up on the spot, we did drive to a number of those farther away hikes. But THIS particular group I created specifically for my end of the county as opposed to the northern end of the next county up the map.
There are plenty of mountains, forests, rivers, and waterfalls here too, right?
Thus, Hike It Homeschoolers was born. Each week I host a trail. We meet at the trailhead at a certain time and let the kids run around with each other and, when not huffing and puffing with the afore mentioned chunk of adorable on my back, I get to talk to the other moms as well. Other homeschool moms also post and host hikes as well.
So far we have over 150 members of the group. Obviously not everyone can come to every hike – that would actually be overwhelmingly impossible – but hopefully other homeschoolers are getting some good ideas of where they can locally hit the trail with their kiddos, just like I do with the Hike it Baby groups.
And if Hike it Baby decides to sue me for copy write infringement (or whatever it’s called) for altering their name without going through the proper legal procedures, then they can have that $5 in my wallet. It’s all theirs.
(Please don’t sue me!)
Here are a few pics of our June hikes.
Hidden Oaks Trail
It was the last one that convinced me to give up the hiking baby carrier. Let’s face it. He’s just not a baby anymore. And although this will modify our hikes a bit (and necessitate babysitters for those longer hikes I just will not be able to resist), it won’t hold us back. We’ve already been hiking twice this month – and it’s only the 5th!
What benefit is it to my children to have started this group?
Well, besides the obvious physical, mental, emotional – and arguably also spiritual – health that hiking brings AND the appreciation of nature, beauty, perseverance, goal setting and goal reaching AND social skills such as meeting new people, interacting in a group setting, manners, compassion, empathy, friendship, and patience (because sometimes they just have to wait for me to lug myself and my 30+ lb friend up the trail), there is another big benefit that I didn’t realize until just recently.
Find a need and fill it.
Community involvement. Reach out. Invite. Include.
I realized by taking the initiative in starting something new, planning, and hosting events, my children are learning that life isn’t about waiting around for others to provide for them. It is about finding a need and filling it.
Now hiking isn’t going to save the world. Making new friends, tripping over rocks, spotting a moose (or two!), and getting really hot and sweaty and tired won’t really have much an impact on the rest of their lives.
(Unless the moose are really angry! I can see myself becoming traumatized from a bad moose encounter. I’m just a little paranoid of large, wild, animals.)
But confidence, leadership, and the understanding that they can go out and organize, do, build, serve, impact, encourage, and unite will serve them really well. And it will also serve all those around them.
There is a time to follow. (I can share more about that later – I’m a pretty good follower when I need to be.) But there is a time to lead – and hopefully with a little teaching and encouraging, I’ll produce some little trail blazers of my own out in the real world.
Right now, I’m just working on keeping one foot in front of the other.
Sometimes I forget to breathe.
(This is me pretending life is great, I am wonder woman, my lungs aren’t collapsing, and my legs aren’t buckling.)
But this is what I sometimes feel like on the inside! Ha!
(Jk! That’s why I’m choosing a paved “hike” or getting a babysitter next time. 30+ lbs people! That is some form of torture, I’m sure. I would never make it as a fireman. Or in the military. Or anything that required sustained physical labor.)
Mostly, I’m just good at homeschooling.
And being a mom. (At least I hope!)
And organizing hikes! 🙂