This past Friday was a day off for my kids as this is our Thanksgiving weekend. I too was not working. The default is for them to find friends or distractions on these days off; and for us to get them to those friends or distractions. There is no issue with this as time with friends is a good thing. This time though, I said no to friends and distractions, and I took the girls for a hike.
There are lots of places to find a path or trail in the Ottawa area. The ones closest to home are generally flat. True, you are still immersed in nature (and I am thankful for Ottawa’s preserved green space), but the experience is provided at eye-level. True, there is much to to garner from any walk, but my favourites include birds-eye views and broad horizons, which require elevation. This means some travel.
Ottawa is good for this too thankfully. One can head up to the Gatineau hills, which offers spectacular views and incomparable sunsets. The thought of getting through the downtown core these days is daunting however. So I head west.
For this walk with the girls we headed to the Eagle’s Nest Lookout in the valley’s highlands (an interesting oxymoron). Located on the backside of the Calabogie Ski Resort, you can walk for hours, or you can find a trailhead that will take you to the Eagle’s Nest Lookout with only about a 1.5 km hike in. This is great for walks with kids. Now, you need a walk that has some distance and time commitment as the kids will only open up with time and distance, but I have found that a destination always helps them relax into it. When they don’t know to what end they are walking the grumbling can persist. It is nice that a promised view is enough of a destination for them now.
I do let them bring their phones. I also encourage them to stop and take photos as I think this helps them ‘see’ their surroundings. Sure, when we get to the top it becomes a selfie photo shoot, but I like to think this is more about sharing than narcissism. I’m going with it anyway.
On this weekend of Thanksgiving (for us Canadians, that is) I simply want to say thank you to my kids for sharing their time with me. I am grateful for their health and our relationship. If life was only these shared moments of discovery and presence, it would honestly be enough. I hope for many more, but I will take as many as I can get; trying to be present in each as it comes.
This is another busy weekend for me, so without further ado, I offer Happy Thanksgiving to the Canadians reading this, and well wishes and gratitude to everyone else. Up here in Canada we are lucky to have this season of colour and transition. Gratitude.
I want to finish today by sharing another blog I discovered in the writing of this post. I haven’t dug too deep yet, but it speaks to a similar theme as mine, is written by a female, and, who is also a veteran. It reads as a local hiking guide but also an interesting journey. I will be exploring this one on Sunday mornings with my coffee. Then I’ll likely be finding one of the highlighted hikes to embark upon. Enjoy Girl Gone Good.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir