The outdoors is an amazing place to come to relax, challenge myself, teach and learn, and build a life around. The outdoors and nature is my passion. I take a lot of pride in passing my fondness of the outdoors on to C, my daughter, especially in the age of digital technology and people being outside less. It is empowering for me to teach my daughter what I know and for her to feel confident while doing activities.
We collaborate as a group and focus on teamwork. I have been blown away by her abilities when teamwork is front and center. As a rule, we go as fast as the slowest person. As I have said before, it is not the distance or the time spent on the trail, it is about what I gain while out there. If we need to take time to stop and rest, it can be made into a beautiful moment instead of being focused solely on the end goal, which will always be there. Practice gratitude for all of the moments on the trail.
When it comes to packing for camping and hikes, C is in there like a dirty shirt. She insists on carrying her own bag, packing her own food, and offers to carry necessary gear. I was prepping my bag for our overnight hike coming up and she grabbed her backpack and began to add stuff to it. She is responsible for carrying her sleeping bag, hot dog roasting sticks, first aid kit, and her pajamas. She is also bringing two books and a deck of cards.
On one of our day hikes this summer I admired her initiative to want to prepare, pack, and carry the food. She chose dry Lucky Charms for us to eat for lunch. I helped her round out the meal with bagels and cream cheese and apples, all of which she carried for us. In time she will learn that dry Lucky Charms are not a substantial trail food to nourish bodies, as delicious as they are. It is the effort that I praised.
Hiking and camping has opportunities for trial and error and the outdoors is a place of ongoing learning. I want C to see me make mistakes, see me problem solve, and see me learn from situations. Learning how to problem solve is incredibly important in life. Where we venture for now, we are never too far from help and I let my common sense and gut instinct lead the way, which is something I want her to learn to trust for herself too.
I am raising my daughter to be strong, courageous, and to know how to fend for herself should she come across a time in her life (on the trail or otherwise) that she can’t rely on anyone else but herself. I want her to seek adventure and soar where her heart desires and remain rooted, grounded, and humble. I want her to feel empowered and inspired to forge her own trail through the uncharted. Learning to hike and camp is just the tip of how these goals will become a reality.