I believe as parents, it is important to plan adventures in the outdoors with our children on a regular basis. To be deliberate about getting outside to enjoy the amazing creation that God has prepared for us. Adventure is about getting outside to explore the wild, to hike and experience nature together. And, to be thankful to God. Getting outside to experience nature is vital to our inner selves. Adventure is important throughout the year, on days off, and especially during the summer months.
Two years ago I started a deliberate summer tradition, a way of being intentional regarding adventure with my children during vacation days. A way to make sure we take in the great outdoors together, to explore new areas, to escape X-box and cell phones and the internet. And, to make us feel as if we are doing things together.
I called it Weekly Summer Adventures.
This week started Summer 2011 Adventures.
I base where we will go on our outings on how much time we have. We had less than half a day on this first adventure of the summer, so I needed to find a location within a half hour or so. And, I knew I wanted trails and woods. Kids need woods. Moms need woods. Families need the woods.
I googled Adventures with Kids and after some research I stumbled upon Mount Talbert Nature Park found via a Metro Oregon website: http://www.oregonmetro.gov/index.cfm/go/by.web/id=22177
Sounded like the perfect spot to explore. And close in. With woods. (The only complaint about this first adventure of the summer was not having my two college age kids with me–Rachel’s in Germany and looks forward to being home for summer adventures next month and Ryan is working full time. My family is changing-But that is for another blog post!)
. . .The description of Mt. Talbert read: “The largest undeveloped butte in Northern Clackamas County, Mount Talbert rises as a forested green sentinel overlooking the web of development that surrounds it and the busy I-205 and Sunnyside Road interchange. Stretching from Portland’s Rocky Butte southward to the Clackamas River, a group of extinct volcanoes and lava domes lend unique geographic character to the region’s east side, providing important wildlife habitat and panoramic vistas. Mount Talbert is the largest of these undeveloped buttes in northern Clackamas County.”
I thought of our friends the Hansens who live in Happy Valley, an over-developed, high priced neighborhood with very few parks and very expensive houses, many not lived in. Wow, to find a natural area near Happy Valley sounded neat.
Then, right before we were to leave, the twins’ friend Daryl called to get together with my boys, and so we invited him along as well. It’s always fun to have other kids and moms with us on our adventures.
Mt. Talbert turned out just as pretty as it looked online. It had woods and wild flowers and hills and open spaces and meadows and trails. Plenty of room for the boys to roam and run and race to the top and squabble over who had to carry the backpack and other issues, but I just tried to breathe deeply. I was loving it.
I thought of the book, Last Child Left in the Woods, by Richard Louv, http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/ which covers the importance of kids and nature. And what is missing in our wired world.
As I shared with the moms at Hearts at Home last month, it is so important for moms – and dads – to explore the outdoors together. And, what better time than the carefree days of summer. it is possible, even when you don’t have an entire day. And, perhaps even only a couple of hours. It is about the experience, the laughter, the joy, the running, the celebrating of God’s beautiful creation, the deliberate adventure, the extraordinary ordinary. Together. Outdoors. In nature. Near or far.
Summer Adventures with kids are here!