Last week, we explored some of the creature comforts that you can bring along with you on a frosty-day hike. It makes any winter hike cozier when you have warm socks and a hot beverage. Somehow, warm hands and feet make your whole body feel warmer.
This week’s list will give you some ideas for enriching the hike in other ways. We cherish our outdoor time because it helps us appreciate the intangible things in life. We love to appreciate the scenery together. We learn to endure physical challenges and become stronger people.
The first time I went snowshoeing, my friend and I went on a guided hike on the trail and through the woods. We had so much fun encouraging each other while we tried the new techniques we learned along the way. It is also much easier to laugh at yourself when you have a dear friend to laugh with you.
I enjoy some solo time on the trail as much as the next person. But trail time should be a communal experience whenever possible. I love following #trailfamily on Instagram because trail families take so many shapes. Some are like us, parents and kids enjoying the trail together. Others are groups of friends who have bonded over their shared love of hiking. It’s beautiful to see.
A Simple Activity
We love to bring along simple things for the kids to do as we hike. See our post Same Trail, New Activity for some inspiration. Our son brought along a little toy he named Mr. Poppy. We set Mr. Poppy in different scenarios and took photos. The kids loved creating situations for him.
You don’t always need a prop, though. You can find things that start with a certain letter or go through the alphabet. How about a good old game of I Spy? These activities make the hike more interesting and reinforce learning in other areas for your kids.
I recently learned a new word. Apricity means the warmth of the sun in winter. While I’m not a cold weather curmudgeon anymore, I do appreciate some apricity in February. Isn’t it funny how 20 degrees and sunny can feel better than 35 degrees and cloudy?
I realize that the weather is an aspect of hiking that is beyond our control. And I wouldn’t advocate that you only hike on sunny days. Following the advice of Charlotte Mason, I’m learning to define more and more days as “reasonably tolerable.” The sunshine adds enjoyment for me when the thermometer dips below forty.
A Short-term Goal
I used to hate setting goals because it felt like an inevitable failure. You can’t miss marks you never set, right? Through our experiences with Trail Family, I have learned that this is not an optimum way to go through life.
A short-term goal may apply to just that day or week. Perhaps you want to take a winter walk this week. Maybe you can set a goal to go so many miles. Whatever it is, choose something tangible and attainable. My biggest problem with setting goals is not being realistic about what I can accomplish within a timeframe.
A Long-term Goal
Cumulative goals allow us to work on more ambitious projects. Right now we are going for 1000 hours outside. Working on this goal is reward enough in itself if we don’t quite get there within the year.
There are myriad ways to enrich your trail experiences even if you can’t travel to different parks or trails all the time. A little creativity and perspective goes a long way.
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