Nature is the Foundation

“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.”

~Aldo Leopold

Alum Cave Bluffs Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, July 2012

Alum Cave Bluffs Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, July 2011.

It is never too early to get your children out into Nature and the Wilderness.  We took our daughter camping for the first time when she was 18 months old, and when she was a baby I would put her in a sling or carrier and take her for walks and talk to her about the trees, flowers, animals.  She started hiking when she was probably 2 1/2 (and hiked the whole trail herself– not in a carrier or stroller).  We always made it a priority to spend time outside every day when she was young– whether it was walking to the pond to throw rocks, climbing trees, playing in the mud in the garden, looking for earthworms, or camping and hiking.

We didn’t “help” her overly much– that is, we tried to let her do things that she could do herself and encouraged her to pay attention to what she was doing, and to what was going on around her.  I believe those were the building blocks— I believe spending those formative years in Nature helped her become the person she is today– compassionate towards people and animals, well-rounded, creative, independent, strong and self-confident.  (And self-confidence in a teenager is not the most common thing.)

Now that she is a teenager it is harder to get her outside, although we did take her backpacking in Yosemite National Park last summer.  But I know the foundation will always be there.

Happy Trails,


Originally posted on January 12, 2014 by Ginger.

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