Taking the Family to the Trails

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One of my favorite things about the summer is having extra time to do all of the fun stuff that gets neglected during the school year.  Now that the kids and I aren’t spending every day in school, we’ve been filling our days with lots of fun simple pleasures – visits to the library and the playground, board games, reading, and cooking.  I’ve also made it a goal to try to get us outside for at least 30-60 minutes every day, and while we don’t have a perfect record, we’ve been doing a pretty good job.  One of our newest activities is to go hiking together.  Running on the trails has become such a source of joy and peace for me that I want to share that experience with my whole family.  Today we set aside the morning to take a group trip to the Wissahickon, which is home to my favorite running trails.

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When we arrived, the children were immediately drawn to the water, so before we had even stepped foot on the trails, we made our way down to the water’s edge.  After exploring for several minutes, we finally got them off onto one of the technical trails.  Not surprisingly, Graham took the lead and began to charge up the trail at a surprisingly speedy pace.  After several minutes, my husband jokingly exclaimed, “Alright, who sired the mountain goat?”  I swear, the child is a born endurance athlete.

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Of course, since we were hiking with children, we took more than our share of breaks.  Surprisingly, one of the favorite activities was spotting all of the different types of fungi growing on the trees along the way.  We also paused to say hello to the many dogs that we encountered, to examine numerous spiders and insects, and to admire every little waterfall that we passed.  And of course, we stopped for snacks and water breaks as well.  After crossing the covered bridge and joining back up with the main path, we followed along the creek for awhile until we found a good picnic spot.  Along the way, we spotted several surprisingly large fish, several ducks, and a turtle slowly trying to swim his way upstream.  After a picnic lunch, we all practiced skipping stone across the water, before crossing another bridge and returning to the trails.

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Aubrey was starting to lose energy at this point, so we tried to take a more direct route back to the car.  Proving his natural talents once again, Graham decided that it would be more fun to take off running.  I followed behind him, expecting him to quickly tire, but the child is clearly a more gifted runner than his mother.  He shot along the technical trail at a pace that was close to what I run when I’m on my own, and he maintained it for more than five minutes.  He probably could have kept going, but we reached the end of the trail at that point and his sister was clearly done, so we called it a day.  It looks like the next time we go back, I’ll have to be sure to wear my running gear so that I can fully enjoy the experience.

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