Little Feet in Big Canyons: The Joy of Sharing the Outdoors with Little Ones

Life with kids, at least little kids, has been an interesting transition for two adults that used to roam about the hills and mountains of our home countries. My husband, a Nicaraguan native that still shudders at the word “camping” (why would people willingly do that to themselves anyway?), no longer scales mountains on a motorcycle. He traded that in for a 4-passenger car with the arrival of our second baby. I no longer am able to skip into the mountains for an overnight hiking trip at the drop of a hat – I have two little people (and one big person, let’s get real) that depend on me.

My husband and I knew what we were getting into when we had kids. No, we don’t have amazing Grandparents that take our kids for weekends at a time or 24-hour daycare options that allow us to cultivate our passions for the outdoors. We are two people, who had a couple babies, and are with our kids all. the. time.

To keep from going crazy, we ditch the itch to keep up the responsibilities of our home and we take off. Our luggage is not packed for one, it’s packed for 4 and we always forget something. The goal is not to go the fastest or climb the tallest, but rather dotted with water and apple breaks, and stops to look at red grasshoppers and spiky horned toads. The normal worries of the suburban capsule that we live in disappear into the slow trickle of the stream littered with tadpoles and algae.

Yes, it is amazing to watch the thrill of new experiences through my kid’s eyes. But I won’t pretend that I can only survive on that. I’m taking this new phase one outdoor adventure at a time, cherishing the little stuff but also knowing that we are taking baby steps towards bigger and better adventures in all aspects of our lives. We passed a woman on the trail that commented, “Enjoy them while they’re young! Mine are in college now.” I hugged my little one closer and skipped alongside my older son, and yet fantasized about the overnight camping trips we’d do when they were old enough to set up their own tents. Maybe we’d leave Dad at home.