I’ve had a few people ask me why we decided to start this adventure. It has been exciting to speak to a lot of you via social media and in person about our upcoming trips. The main question has been, “Why would you do this backcountry hiking with your family?” When trying to answer this question ,to get to the why are we doing this, I have to think back to the what. What happened to get this idea rolling.
Our children were enrolled in an online school. It had been a great way to educate and have flexibility for our active family. It was a week before the start of the second semester when we received an email that said the school was abruptly closing. Imagine my frustration realizing that I had to plan the last half of my school year in 7 days.
The idea of studying National Parks, geology, topography, and the history of America was one of the first things that came to my mind. I knew I could combine the 3 younger kids into the same “class” and add different learning activities that were grade appropriate. As I was working on the plan, my husband suggested not only learning about these places but GOING to these places and backcountry hiking. It did not take me long to jump onto his traveling school idea!
Honestly, we did not know what we were getting ourselves into. The planning, the gear, the physical exercise, and the mental preparation were all suddenly staring me in the face. I admit for a moment I thought, what and the heck are we thinking. We are not the most physically fit, we own NO backcountry gear, we are just your average family living life. I think it was when I thought the word average in my head, that it clicked. We would no longer just be your average family. We would become an average HIKING family!
Gearing our family has been the most difficult aspect of this preparation process. It is expensive and there is a lot to choose from. I am learning that ounces make pounds. Pounds make heavier packs. Heavier packs will make grumpy kids and worn out parents. I am learning how to put together a pack.
Why are we doing this? I’ve answered the what happened to get us doing this and now to answer the why.
We have gotten bit by a hiking, outdoor bug. We have put away the fear of being outdoors when it is cold. The snow is no longer a reason to stay inside, but a reason to get outside. We realized that life is flying by while we sit around and wait for the sun to come back out. The outdoors is FULL of things to do winter, spring, summer and fall.
We have found out that Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a winter sports facility. It’s an hour and 30 min. from Columbus, Ohio. It’s just a short drive away. We can’t wait to get there! http://www.nps.gov/cuva/planyourvisit/winter-sports.htm
Columbus Metro Parks have activities at all their parks during the winter. Metro Parks don’t close down in the winter. Winter is one of the best times to visit. The trails are still well maintained and the crowds are less. We’ve enjoyed talking to the rangers and naturalists. Check them out at http://www.metroparks.net
The why we are doing this keeps getting bigger and bigger. Our excitement keeps building and building. Why go backcountry hiking and enjoy our local, state and national parks? I believe the answer to the why is we want to expand our horizons, enjoy creation, love our natural treasures and be adventurous!
If you like what we are doing we would love for you to support our local metro park by making a donation!!