“I don’t want to go on a hike!” whines my 9-year old son James, “My ankles hurt” groans my 12-year old daughter Ella. The complaints are constant these days, but I’m not phased. It’s natural for kids to push back, but there are times when we as parents need to press in and not give in. There is great value in spending time together as a family and what better way than to have some family hiking fun!
We’ve been hiking with the kids since they were infants and have made it a family tradition to participate in the Fall Hiking Spree sponsored by the Summit Metro Parks. If you’re a first year hiker, after completing 8 hikes you earn a hiking staff and a commemorative shield. The four of us have long since earned our hiking staffs and the number of shields trailing down our staffs are rather impressive if I do say so myself. Earning our annual shields while hiking in gorgeous Northeast Ohio is just the icing on the cake. The real prize is the time we spend together. Sometimes we quietly shuffle through leaves walking arm-in-arm and other times we rambunctiously throw rocks over a bridge or swing from a 50-foot grapevine. This is invaluable time well spent. It’s totally worth the effort to unplug from the everyday ‘can I go play with so-and-so’ and the ongoing battle with screen time. You’ll never hear parents say ‘Man, I wish we’d spent more time watching Netflix’ but rather ‘Man, I wish we’d spent more time together as a family’.
There’s no time like the present to round up the family for some family hiking fun! This is the last weekend for peak fall color in Northeast Ohio so unplug from those screens, grab your coats and navigate your way to a hiking trail! If you need a suggestion in the Akron area, I recommend F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm which has a little bit of everything. There’s an indoor nature center, activities, ponds, bird feeding, picnic tables, herb gardens, a picturesque overlook of Sand Run Valley, beautiful arbors and a great family photo op on the suspension bridge. It’s even fun to hike and visit in- dare I say it- winter! So before it gets too cold and the leaves are long gone, head out on the trails for some family time. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Jamie Dunlap is the intake coordinator and marketing specialist on the Married Life Counseling team. This is her first family blog post, but it won’t be her last.
For additional resources to strengthen your family, visit our Family Resources section at Married Life Counseling.
Jamie Dunlap joined the Married Life Counseling team as Intake Coordinator. She has a diverse background in marketing, team management, and customer relations. Jamie is a Copley gal, married to her high school sweetheart, Greg, and mom to two spirited children who keep them very busy and sleep-deprived.