Hiking with kids

What Is Your Perfect Day?

May 28, 2016

I was 40 weeks pregnant with my first child and I was out at a summer neighbourhood party when a neighbour I’d just met asked me “If you could do anything for a day what would it be?”  Perhaps it was my state of pregnancy or some other blissful feeling when I recounted a day I had shared with my husband earlier that summer.

What was my perfect day? In some ways it was a regular day for us, but in others it was my perfect day when we hiked Mt Tuam on Salt Spring Island.  Some of the hike was on trails but most was route finding.  We traversed a lot of country, we got our exercise and I spent the whole day with my best friend out in nature.

Fast forward four years and two kids later and everything has changed. I don’t feel like the person I used to be.  I don’t do much for myself anymore.  Everything is about the kids for better or for worse.  This year on my birthday I decide to do something for myself.  What is my perfect birthday day? I took the day off work and we went hiking.

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I wanted to hike the trail behind Molly’s preschool.  It was a trail we hadn’t been on since Molly was an infant in the baby carrier.  Since she’s been hiking with us we’ve always ruled it out as too long for her.  Today I asked if it was possible and we decided to try.  Pre-kids this was our go too hike and we did it almost every week. Hiking the trail again reminded me why we always enjoyed it so much.  It is such a beautiful place!

Hiking a trail with a 2 and 3 year old changes it. You move a lot slower so you see things you hadn’t notice before.  You might stress over every root and rock they could trip over as they charge ahead.  But you also observe how the light comes through the trees and see the wildflowers blooming on the hill through the trees.  You notice all the slugs, lichen, moss and salal flowers your kids point out, over and over.  They love being able to climb over a log or down a steep hill by themselves. You see their joy at everything.

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Our destination on this day was a beaver pond. It’s a nice place that we had always hiked right past before. Today it was the furthest place I thought we could hike successfully.  As we got near I thought maybe we had pushed them too hard.  Chuck was asleep in the backpack and Molly was fading fast.  When we arrived at the pond we fed them (a lot of) lunch and they got their energy back.  Then we all had a great time checking out the beaver dam, two beaver lodges and tree after tree that the beavers had cut down.

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The hike out went a lot faster than I had imagined even with Chuck hiking most of the way at his amazingly slow pace. Sometimes I was tempted to urge him on faster.  But he was so excited and interested in every leaf, every rock, and every stick.  How could I rush him through that experience?

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I was in wonder at my kids stamina, but most importantly I was amazed to realize that my perfect day today is actually the same as it was 4 years ago, before I had kids. Sure my day to day life is different and often feels more restrictive, but it’s exciting to think maybe I haven’t changed that much after all!

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Comments (4)

  • Michelle Beks Reply

    May 28, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    All those slow hikes really do pay off in full when your 27 year old son tells you his best day would be fishing at Tenquille Lake.

    • sarahcarty Reply

      May 28, 2016 at 10:54 pm

      That’s great to hear Michelle. So far the kids love hiking & camping. I’m not going to worry about when they start saying they don’t want to go. I’m just going to hope it doesn’t happen! Sarah

  • sara Reply

    May 28, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    This sounds like such a great day, Sarah. It’s nice to find out how we can combine all our great loves together like this!

    We are just starting to get into hiking but my favourite day of the past year was a hike we did with the kids in Algonquin Park to see the beaver pond. I think about going back often.

    • sarahcarty Reply

      May 28, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Sara, It’s so great to hear you had such a similar favourite day. I have a lot of great childhood memories from Algonquin Provincial Park. I hope you get back there this summer!

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