My girls, Lily (7) and Ruby (5.5), seriously love the outdoors. They are happiest playing in the hills. Nature is part of us. We spend more waking hours outdoors then indoors, and living in California makes it easy to live this way.
On January 1, 2017, the girls decided that they wanted to document each hike they do for a 52-hike challenge. They often invite friends on their hikes, and they love sharing their favorite trails with friends. We have built a big community of hiking families over the past few years, and try to hike at least once a week with groups of our friends. They want to complete 52 by the end of May, and will reassess their goal and decide on another number to hit for the rest of 2017.
As of April 2, they have completed 31 hikes. On our most recent hike, we did more exploring then actual trekking. My husband and I let the girls lead us. It is such a gift getting down to their level and going at their speed.
They stopped at a beautiful rock outcropping and wanted me to time them for three minutes as they meditated.They closed their eyes and were quiet and still. We all felt the breeze on our faces, taking big breaths in. I looked over at one point to find the girls in a big embrace.
They ventured on and found some mortars, evidence of the Native Americans who once lived off this land. First, they picked up sticks, then they began to mix and make me "food' in the mortars.
The mixing bowl turned into an oven when Ruby decided to measure and lay sticks across the top. Ruby asked me to break a stick for her so it would fit, and instead of doing it for her I showed her a technique where she could snap it underneath her foot. On she went, snapping sticks and cooking her meal.
These are the moments of wonder, the moments of joy. These are the moments that fill my heart. We didn't rush their play. At times, we played alongside them. They were free to imagine and just be.
This is the gift I want to continue to give to my children for years and years to come. Life can feel so rushed. Sometimes it seems like we need to be doing grand amazing things, but sometimes the little moments – the Sunday afternoons spent exploring together – are the most spectacular and impactful.