I have never really thought of myself as the athletic type and exercise never was one of my favorite things to do. So, to tell my much younger self that I would go hiking regularly with my family years later would have been a funny thing. Honestly, to think of a hiker or finding trails makes me think of someone in a khaki vest wearing binoculars around their neck with a goofy hat on their head. In reality, hiking is a wonderful blessing to my family that I can't recommend highly enough.
It's FREE! Unless you have to pay to enter the area, like a national park or something, most trails are free and just require finding out beforehand where they are. When you are raising a family, free activities are a must - especially on a vacation. We cooked 90% of our meals and limited ourselves to cheaper or free activities, but we still manage to spend more than we would like.
It keeps us TOGETHER! One of the burdens-turned-blessings of homeschooling is that we are responsible for most aspects of everything. That means delegating and job-sharing abounds most days, especially since the race car has come along. Hiking together highlights how we are learning to work together as a family. From carrying each other's snacks to waiting for the tired one, we can't always just do what we want when we're ready. For each to be successful, we require support from each other. We look out for each other and move together. Relationship building is a huge part of their future and it all begins here.