This week, Joe and I decided to change things up a bit by going for a midweek hike. A big snowstorm was in the forecast for the weekend and we didn’t want to miss our weekly hike. Fortunately, Joe was at a conference near home, so we were at the trail head by 4:00 p.m. on a weekday. I almost felt like we were breaking the rules by hiking on a work day. It had the feeling of watching a movie on a school night when I was supposed to be doing homework, or being in the hallway without a hall pass.
To prepare for the hike, I made Macaroni and Cheese with Hemp Hearts and Broccoli. Since we were hiking at dinner time I figured we might as well have a picnic and what better outdoor food then a little Mac and Cheese; It’s easy, portable and one of the few complain proof foods for the kids. It also served as a good motivator to keep a pep in AJ’s step.
We kept our hike easy by staying close to home. We went to Matthew Winters Park, a family favorite. This park never gets old with its sweeping views of Red Rocks and the foothills.
AJ lead the way to about the half mile point where we decided to turn around because we were all starving. The goal of today was to change up the routine a bit and to find gratitude in our ability to create and embrace change in our lives. Joe and I reflected about how our relationship with the outdoors has changed from one of trying to conquer (physical and natural limitations) to one of gratitude and even meditation. Hiking used to mean going as fast and as far as we could. Now hiking means giving the reigns over to our kids to provide them with opportunities to learn, grow and succeed, and not just on the trails but in life. Of course Joe and I still get our workout fixes – Joe’s a runner and I am a HIIT feign; but we have learned that hiking is so much more then an outdoor workout. It is a teacher, a church, a community, and an experience (a free experience!).
As we hiked along the trail today we witnessed storm clouds move east from the mountains, covering the sun and giving way to the darkness of an impending snow storm. People are funny when it comes to news of a snow storm. For example, grocery stores are packed anytime there is news of snow in the forecast. I suppose we, and those on the trail today, are not like most others. We probably watch less news and prefer to view life from a place of adventure versus a place fear and doom. It is not to say one is better then the other. It is more to say that we have choices in life and that by viewing today as another day of adventure we experienced the serene calm before the storm not in a grocery store, but outside, in the elements and in community with every other hiker, runner and biker on the trail. It feels good to know that the lifestyle we are choosing makes us part of a much larger community of people who are also choosing to seek adventure in spite of the news forecasts calling us indoors to live out a sedentary existence.
To end our experience we had a picnic at the trail head which just happens to have a river flowing nearby. It was so peaceful to eat a simple meal surrounded by the natural beauty of the river and mountains. AJ and MJ were filthy by the end of our meal and I, of course, did not have napkins or bibs to manage the mess! We ended up washing our hands in the river and using diaper wipes to clean their faces. As we packed up and headed home a cold chill filled the air and it seemed as if we had timed everything just perfectly – we arrived home with full tummies and ready to embrace the sleepy days ahead. We did indeed enjoy a massive snowstorm over the next two days – from the comfort of our home.