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p40100121With the kids at school and spring break for one parent, we decided the adults should get out for a rare without-the-kids hike. The weather was a bit gray, so we started in fog and rain, and got snow as we gained elevation. Oyster Dome looked windy, and we knew there would be no view today, so we snacked at the Bat Caves and talked about how all this would be a great setting for a northwest hobbit.

We also felt like we had a moment of hiking solidarity with our friend Mary, who began her 5-month trek on the Appalachian Trail today. I figure we and she were hiking at the same time, just across the country from each other. We wish her well and we’re hoping she was having better weather than we were. When I got home, I googled the weather in northeast Georgia and found 67 degrees. Nice.

While a good fitness hike for us, this would not have been as good a family hike. Cold drippy weather and sloppy slushy footing might have made this frustrating for the kids. Spring is coming though, so I hope we’ll be hiking more as a family soon. 

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Catching up mailwith these friends, I got to hear about their family hiking plan. With their less-than-a-year-old kiddo in the backpack, they’re hitting the local trails every weekend. The goal is to hike all of every trail in a particular area, one peice at a time. What a great way to get outside as a family, in increments that work for them. Mom and dad can stretch their legs, and their son is getting introduced to the outdoors at an early age. I bet by summer, he’ll be walking some of those trails.

Whatever your kids’ ages, pick a goal that works. I’m tempted to get a trail map and copy my friends’ plan. Their little guy has been out hiking more than I have this year, now that’s inspiring. Here in the gray northwest, we may need to set goals like this to remind us to get outside even if spring weather hasn’t found us yet. If my kids don’t vote for this plan, we can at least open the discussion of what goal would inspire us to hit the trail together.

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