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Hikes with Kids

I have had some of the best conversations with my kids right around the corner from our home. Our favorite trailhead lies 2 blocks north and to the right. The trail climbs for about a mile and then descends into a gulch with countless other route options. My son and I, the early birds of the family, often wake early in the summer to pound out a few miles together. When we started, I was faster than him. Several years and inches later, he could easily leave me in the dust. Hiking topics range from video game ideas to theology to vacation plans to dating. Often when I try to plan some sort of topic, the one that spontaneously evolves is far more interesting.

Most recently, my daughter and I have had a running theme. It goes something like this: if you could create a town, what would it be like? Our hikes have turned into imaginative dream sessions, where nothing is off limits in this world of our creation. It will include a mini-gondola for transportation, filled with treats and warm blankets in the event of a snow flurry while riding. When the river in our town freezes over, there is a little old man who drives his zamboni in the morning to smooth out the terrain for skaters. By late morning, the river is packed with people coming and going to their various locations. Every so often there are hot chocolate stands along the river, to revive the tired skaters. Instead of buses we have horse drawn carriages or sleds, depending on the season. The more we talk about it, the more we find potential stories coming to life. As we came to the end of our hike just the other day, we agreed that our town talks werre way better than playing 20 questions along the path.

This morning I find myself grateful for place and this little trail that we happen to live near. I am grateful for walks with kids that draw me out of my own habitual thoughts and into areas I may not have adventured. What are the places that have become sacred to your family? Do you have a talking walk that you take with your kids? Share your stories.

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