A Father's Day Hike: Good for the Mind & Heart

Benjamin Haas |

My family and I hiked Hawk Mountain over Father’s Day weekend. Desiree had asked what I wanted to do for Father’s Day, and I knew I wanted to escape a little bit. The question was, would I leave her and the kids behind to take that time for myself, or would we all put on our best hiking shoes, stuff my backpack with the hiking necessities and head out all together? We elected the ladder, and I’m glad.

For as much as I’ve come to enjoy alone time in nature (which is a big part of my renewed inspiration to run as frequently as I do), it was great to have my younger two boys hike with me for the first time (Cayden was with friends and couldn’t join us). They are the generation of simulated everything; TV shows, YouTube and video games, virtual reality, etc. Don’t get me wrong – I think by most standards our children are extremely active kids. But hiking is a different kind of active than running around and playing lots of sports. To me, hiking is a peaceful, educational, physically rewarding experience.  

We talked about rocks and trees and animals. We saw hawks and bugs and views as far as the eye could see. We held hands scaling rocky paths and sat down to snack in the peace and quiet of what feels to me like a little slice of heaven on earth. When we got back to the visitors center, they learned about owl pellets and the nature camps put on throughout the summer. They are excited to participate! We signed up for a membership, inspired to make this a more regular outing for all of us. 

The beauty of it all is that I almost went on that hike myself, and had I, who knows if or when my younger boys would have ever taken the opportunity to share that kind of moment with me? Who knows if they would have started to develop an appreciation for hiking and nature in the way that I have? Even better yet, I see that Desiree has already ordered a pair of boots and her own backpack. Looks to me like I’ve converted her too . Now I just have to work on Cayden…

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