It has always been a dream of mine that I would hike with my Family, that my Children would grow up hiking. Since moving to Montclair, the Girls have relished walking in the woods. Daily they have said to me “Mummy can we go for a hike today?”. I have noticed that in the 10 days we have been hiking regularly that they are walking further and further each time, and that the steep hill up the mountain from our house is seeming less and less steep. The street walking culture of New York has been a good start to walking long distances for them, and now they are tackling inclines and rocky knolls enthusiastically. Walking was so much part of our daily life that they would walk (or ride their scooters) blocks without complaint. We have taught them that walking is so good for you, and a simple pleasure in life and we just do it.
Yesterday we spent two hours in the forest exploring, playing and picnicking. We hiked up to a lookout that we had been to a few days before – that Maya has named “Headline Top View”. There are a few tracks to get to this spot and both times we have taken a narrow rocky path that navigates the cliff edge to get there. The path is slightly back from the edge, and so no immediate danger, but a few steps off the track is a deep drop. I have to say I have felt moments of butterflies when looking over the edge, and can be heard warning the Girls of the dangers, “Maya you have to make sure footed steps” I say, being sure to keep them safe. Hiking is supposed to be fun but it also comes with responsibility to take take care of yourself – and the environment.
Our hikes mostly feel like a ramble in the woods and we stop a lot, to study things and to eat and drink. We talk non stop and we sing a lot too, “I love to go a wandering, along a mountain track, and as I go I love to sing…” (do you know that one?). Walking in the forest is one of those things in life that is so good that you want to share it with others. We think about our friends and family that we want to walk in the woods with. Yesterday when we reached to open view Maya said “Uncle Garth would like this hike”. I loved that she said this.
The woods is so refreshing and so good for you, the moist clean air, the calming colour therapy of being surrounded by green, and the gentle light. Shade is such a relief to hot summer sun. I keep imagining what it will be like in Autumn when the leaves change colour and drop. The new things we will notice and see with my two little trail blazers!