Being Active – Hiking with the Family
This weekend we finally started our hiking season. We would have started sooner, but we had several projects around the house to fix up first before getting started. Masha’Allah – how I have missed the outdoors. You have to understand, I lived in the mountains – I grew up to the sound of birds – climbed trees – planted in our garden – listen to the sound of frogs and crickets at night – tried to catch fireflies – essentially, I got my hands dirty and I loved it. Now, we live in a suburb – no frogs, no rabbits, no fireflies, no crickets, nothing. You can hardly see the stars in the sky because of all the light pollution. I remember lying in the grass under a tree and watching the clouds pass by – I remember the smell of green (if you lived in nature, you might understand that one) – we picked wild raspberries from our front yard each morning to add to our breakfast cereal and once in the winter we actually turned on our outside lights to find over 30 deer in our backyard. Masha’Allah – those were definitely the days. So, my children get to be a part of nature when we go to hiking – and they love every minute of it.
We watch the different types of bugs and spiders we see. We look at the different types of flowers, trees and plants that grow in the different areas we have hiked. We’ve seen marmot, elk, moose, beavers, foxes, and snakes up close. We also returned to our car after 6 hours hiking (we were quite tired) to find a porcupine under our car trying to find a way in. He wasn’t too happy we found him – so he waddled off into the forest. We also saw a bear cub and its mother across a valley from us. We kinda walked faster with that one, but it was an experience. We’ve been able to observe beaver dams, animal tracks and even bear claw scratches on trees in the forest. We’ve also been able to cross a creek by log bridge – seen cave paintings and I can’t even begin to explain the gorgeous views we have seen.
Of course – it’s not only about the nature – we also love the exercise – to breathe in that wonderfully fresh air and all the sights and sounds that go with exploring in the forest. Also, I have to admit – hikers (at least most of them) are among the friendliest people we have ever met, masha’Allah. Now, I must say that we are not the type of “hikers” that just take a trail for 30 minutes and then pack up the car and leave. Since the kiddos have been young they have been hiking with us. In fact, dh actually carried them on his back, masha’Allah. They are used to it. Besides, strangely enough – when we take our kids walking in the neighborhood – they often whine (especially our middle child) “are we there yet” – but when we go hiking in the woods the kids will be upset if we leave too early. It is like a huge adventure for them, masha’Allah. We usually take a hike for 4 hours or more with the kids – we take snacks and plenty of water, too.
This past weekend we went hiking. Now, before I mentioned that we usually hike quite a distance – this time we didn’t. We actually went out for breakfast and when we were finished “on the spur of the moment” decided to take a walk. It was only 2 or so miles (one way). If we had planned our hike – we would have tried to choose a longer one. Anyway – it was pretty nice walk and I got to take quite a few pictures. Usually we go to this part to take the trail that winds through the mountain – but this time we took the roadway path. Both paths take you to a reservoir.
The picture at the top of my post is when you first enter the park. Here are a few more pictures of sites in the park:
This is along the creek. You walk quite a while along the creek on the roadway path.
It’s so nice, masha’Allah to hear the water gurgling. You might even hear a frog or two! We’ve also seen a few beaver dams across the creek and a beaver once stuck out its head from the water – only to escape, once again, below.
Before you get to a second reservoir (the end of this trail unless you want to go up to the dam or to return through the mountain trail) you find this small waterfall. Last year it didn’t have as much water gushing – but a few days ago the area had quite a bit of rain.
This is the second reservoir. Here, the water gushes from the dam above – here’s a picture we took last year that shows the area better:
Above is the dam and in the lower mid-right corner you can see where the water empties out into the creek. The water shoots out this area with great pressure – but because of recent rains it was really shooting out this weekend, masha’Allah. It came out with such force that it created wonderfully cooling breezes to anyone within the area. This was greatly appreciated, masha’Allah, as it was a bit humid.
Here’s a picture of the water shooting out – you can see how much pressure it has – it gets pushed out way across the creek.
Last, but not least, there are many beautiful wildflowers in the area as well (many more are found on the mountain trail). These are a few of the flowers we found:
Anyway – I wanted to share this with you in the hope of inspiring you and your family to take a look at your own local parks. Alhumdulilah, here there is so much you can do outdoors – but there may even be parks within your own area. It is so nice because it really brings you and your family together – sharing time together – you get to talk together and learn and experience nature together. One real benefit – unlike when you are stuck in the city – there are are so many reminders of Allah there. You can’t help but make constant dhikr in a place like this, masha’Allah. This is definitely one great way to keep your family healthy – have a great time – and enjoy the creation of Allah. I can’t think of anything else that is more satisfying, masha’Allah.
We’ve also started going on vacation to places that we can go hiking (instead of visiting places like Disney World or other expensive, unhealthy and boring activities – sorry, I’m just not a fan). Last year we went to California and hiked along the beaches. We are hoping to go again sometime to travel to another area for hiking, insha’Allah. So, that is something else to consider – if you don’t have natural surroundings around you – you could always choose to travel to such areas as a family. Insha’Allah – if you’re like us – you’ll be glad you did.
By the way – I should mention – if you or your family are not used to being active outdoors – especially hiking, you can start out easy. At first, find a small hike or do a larger hike but only go a certain distance or time. Take it easy and insha’Allah at some point you will be able to tackle larger hikes. It really is wonderful to be outdoors – I hope you decide to try it, insha’Allah. Also – if you don’t know if there are parks in your area – the Department of Tourism for your state should have information. Also, I usually go to the local library and find books about our state. They have many books about hiking trails, walking trails, bicycle trails and even equestrian and jeep-riding trails, masha’Allah. You can easily find the parks that are in your area. Last year I found a book about wildflower hikes in our state. We got to visit a few and saw row upon row of beautiful wildflowers, masha’Allah.
Have you ever gone hiking as a family? Where did you go? What did you do? I’d love to hear more.
Sumayyah Umm SAA