My little family of four is busy. The four of us collectively manage three jobs, two schools and a seemingly endless stream of soccer practices, birthday parties and homework. We spend a lot of time together, but a lot of it is spent rushing to the next thing. So last year, we made a pact to spend one day every month together to slow down and do something just for us: a family hike.
It sounded pretty easy – one hike for each month. And so it amazed me how difficult it proved to fit it in. There were several months that we literally only had one day free on the calendar to get out and hit the trail. There was more than one month that I would have preferred to curl up on the couch and read a book or watch a football game or clean out my fridge. There were a few cold days, a few tired days and a few wrong turns (never put me in charge of a map and expect it to go smoothly).
But something amazing happened, too. No matter how busy we were, the four of us spent one day together every month doing nothing more than exploring the outdoors and laughing. We climbed to the top of buttes and behind waterfalls. We saw carpets of wildflowers, frozen lakes and watched the sun set over the ocean. And on New Year’s Eve, when I asked our boys to reflect on the past year, these hikes were what they said they would remember most about it.
Learn more about the hikes in this slideshow:
Hobbit Trail at Carl G. Washburne State Park
Horsetail Falls Loop
Fort Stevens State Park
We’re planning on our tackling our monthly hike again in 2014. Here are a few that we have on our wish list:
Watchman Peak Trail at Crater Lake
North Umpqua Trail
Drift Creek Falls