November brings with it the beginning of the season for giving thanks. For some families, such as the Hike it Baby community, nature plays an important role in nurturing family, children and personal development. It offers physical and emotional healing to those who need it; it helps grow relationships and bridge people from all walks of life; and it promotes self-care in those who didn’t realize they had stepped so far away from their own needs.
In the month of November, as the landscape changes over from fall to winter and the buds close up for the long, cold hibernation, we reflect on what we’re grateful for in nature.
November 1: Annie Maxine
One day recently, it was the first time I’ve been able to breathe in over a week. When you are going through a tough time emotionally, it definitely affects you physically. I didn’t even realize it until I was out on a hike today with some old and new friends and I suddenly felt lighter and “clearer.” I recognized that a lot was being held inside of me. The emotional grief flooded back soon after that, but I really felt comforted and free for about an hour and a half of my day. Hiking is putting one foot in front of the other … just like in life. It’s not always easy, but when you keep moving forward, the view is always worth it. Or if it’s foggy and there’s no view, but even that’s a life lesson. Work hard and things aren’t always beautiful. So many life lessons with hiking!
Every hike is special to me, but this one was a lot of fun because it was just my husband, my little guy, and me. This was a section of the Appalachian Trail in Smoky Mountain National Park. It was SO HARD with not much reward thanks to the pea-soup fog, but it was the perfect temperature to hike. We got to talk to some thru-hikers, and it was the first time I (and Levi) had ever hiked on the AT!
November 2: Katie Fox
I appreciate how much my kiddos enjoy it. When we stop to look at all the colorful flowers (and maybe even the bugs and bees on them), when we see a snake slither across our path, or when we throw rocks in the creek, they absolutely love it. A lot of it is so new to them. I also very much appreciate how worn out they are after a good walk in nature. I am very thankful that I live so close to some great trails and that I discovered HIB this summer so I can share my love of nature with other families and encourage others to spend more time tiring their kiddos out while outside! 😉
November 3: Vong Hamilton
My kids and I did a spontaneous trip to visit the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska. They didn’t want to go at all but after four hours of fun and still not ready to leave, they couldn’t stop thanking me. I thought, “They’re completely different kids on the trail than they are at home.” But then I realized … no, I’m the one who is different on the trail. I’m always in a rush and have about 20 things on my mind at once. At home, I’m constantly yelling at them to hurry and do this and that. But on the trail, I’m more patient, even though things slow waaaay down because they often stop to play in the mud or decide to grab branches and pretend to fence. I don’t yell; I don’t rush; and I don’t stress out. Spending time in the outdoors has redefined me as a parent. I’m a better mom for it and I know my kids appreciate that. I’m thankful for the lessons of humility and remembering to stop and enjoy the moment with my kiddos because time stops for no one.
Come back next week for more stories in this series of “30 Days of Thanks with Hike it Baby.”
During this season of thanksgiving, please take a moment to consider donating something this Giving Tuesday. It can be $5, $10, $50, $100. Whatever works for your family. It all helps and we appreciate every dime. Any donation you make today is 100% tax-deductible. And this year, as a special thank you, donations of $30 or more receive a one-of-a-kind Hike it Baby Sunday Afternoons kid’s play hat.