Did you know that June is designated as Great Outdoors Month each year through a Presidential Proclamation? How perfect is this as we enjoyed Utah’s beauty last week and are now experiencing the wonders of Wyoming.
President Obama’s past proclamation stated, “Great Outdoors Month is a time for all Americans to share in the natural splendor of which we are all proud inheritors. Whether camping, fishing, rock climbing, or playing in a neighborhood park, nature offers each of us the opportunity to get active, explore, and strengthen our bonds with family and friends. This month, let us celebrate our natural heritage by experiencing it together.”
On this trip, we are doing a lot of hiking as a family. Hiking is a challenge for our bodies and a sanctuary for our spirits. A beautiful hike through one of America’s National Parks absolutely cleanses your soul. We all can be consumed with electronic media and gadgets that sometimes we can forget to just put them aside and take the time to get out and explore. Being in a National Park reminds you what a beautiful country we live in!
What you can gain from a Family Hike…
I am a climb to the top of the mountain kind of girl. In all areas of my life, I like having a specific goal to accomplish, so hiking is the perfect activity for me. What goes up, must come down. You have no choice in this. I love seeing my kids persevere through times when they are weary and think they can’t go on. Hiking is a perfect way to show them they can push through and make it to the top or the end of the trail, if they are determined enough!
It’s always motivating to keep going when you are hot, tired or feeling weak when you see little kids and much older adults pushing through on the same hike. If they can do it, you most certainly can! I love the friendliness of fellow hikers greeting and motivating one another while enduring the same trail.
3. An appreciation for our country
There is nothing like being in nature. I wouldn’t consider myself “outdoorsy” necessarily but since moving to Arizona I have grown to love hiking. I have seen majestic views, interesting landscapes and wildlife that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I didn’t realize how many international tourists come to our country just to see the beauty of our National Parks, that just doesn’t exist anywhere else!
4. Affordable entertainment
After we hiked The Narrows in Zion, our daughter said that must’ve been really expensive! She couldn’t believe that doing such an amazing thing as a family was actually free! (Or just the cost of our National Park Annual Pass of $80). We pack our lunches when we hike too, so we can stop at our convenience and enjoy a little picnic along the way. Entertaining kids during the summertime can be very costly for large families, so spending quality time in our Nation’s parks is a really inexpensive way to have fun quality time together.
5. Physical Strength
Staying healthy and physically fit should be a priority for every family. No matter where you are there are always a variety of trails and hikes to choose from depending on what your family is up for. It’s important to keep active as a family and hiking together is a perfect way to stay physically fit. Some days you may feel like doing a leisurely path while other days you may be up for a more strenuous climb. Whatever your abilities, there is a trail for you!
A lot of trails have signs telling about the plants and landscape surrounding you. National Parks also have visitors centers and museums that you can further learn the history of the area as well. The NPS Junior Ranger program is an excellent way to motivate kids to learn through a workbook that needs to be completed and signed off by a Park Ranger in order to get each park badge. It’s a fun and free thing for the kids to collect!
7. Quality Time Together
We have enjoyed many laughs and conversations together along the trails. Getting out in nature helps you forget about any stress and opens up opportunity for casual connecting with your loved ones! Take time this month to get outside and celebrate Great Outdoors Month with your family!