First Day Hike

I’m an avid, amateur hiker. I’m no Cheryl Strayed or Grandma Gatewood, but I like to hike and I’ve been hiking since I was about 13, when I joined the 8th grade hiking club in middle school. There is something about the outdoors, the dirt, the aroma, the sounds of water flowing or birds singing, leaves crunching and twigs breaking that grounds and calms me.

Hiking is a hobby and passion that I wish to pass on to my daughters, so far with mixed results. I’ve had them join me on a few shorter hikes, and while they claim to enjoy the time outside, there have been tears, complaints, and downright tantrums. Needless to say, my enthusiasm for bringing my children with me hiking is not tops. There’s nothing quite so disturbing as to be screamed at during a favorite past time. (insert side eye here).

First Day Hike is a January 1st tradition for hikers, and I decided today would be a nice time to try a short, guided hike at a nearby NC State Park that was billed to be intentionally family friendly. I figured if other families with kids were there, the girls would naturally decide this was a fun event and maybe the seed would be planted without them knowing it was mom who planted it.

My daughters, begrudgingly joining me for a First Day Hike

The seed was not planted today.

I chose a 0.8 mile “hike” on the Alder Trail at Lake Norman State Park. Park Ranger Greene was our guide and he did a great job of telling us about the trail, that specific portion of the park, various flora we saw on the trail, and allowing us to stop and watch a fisherman throw a cast net with no success. There were about 20 people on the hike, most with small children. While I wouldn’t consider it an actual hike, seeing as how I didn’t need a backpack or water bottle, it was a good super-beginner outing with enough interesting things to see to keep everyone’s attention.

I was able to log 1 mile for my 100 Mile Challenge, so that’s a plus as well. My hope is that we’ll be able to find other trails at other places that the girls will like, and that I’ll be able to complete some of the more challenging hikes this year. It was a nice way to start 2020 off and I encourage all women to find a place to go walk outdoors, in the dirt, with nothing but nature to keep you company.

A view of Park Lake from behind the Lake Norman State Park visitor’s center

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