Last weekend Chloe earned her hiking badge with her American Heritage Girls scouting troop. One of my co-leaders owns some beautiful property about an hour north of where we live, so we all converged on her place in the afternoon for a bit of hiking and crafting. The girls had already spent one of their meetings learning about hiking safety, and they were ready to put their new knowledge to work when we arrived. We had worried that it might rain, but the clouds made way for sunshine around lunchtime and we were blessed with a lovely, chilly afternoon - perfect for a walk in the woods and marshmallows roasted over a bonfire.
The girls learned all kinds of cool stuff that little girls need to know, like always hiking with a buddy, what they need in their backpack to be prepared for an emergency, and what to do if they ever became separated from their group.
Here's what I learned:
The woods have a very particular smell in the Fall, a potpourri of musty leaves, wet dirt, and plants giving their encore before winter. You can't smell it anywhere else.
Kicking up piles of brightly colored leaves as you wind down a well-worn path never gets old.
The sounds of the woods are a symphony in their own right.
No matter how old you are, you should get your sneakers nice and muddy at least a few times every year.
Life gets busy and you forget how beautiful the world is... how the most simple things are often the most fun. There were so many things fighting for space on my calendar last Saturday afternoon, screaming their urgency at me. I silenced them and spent the hours in the woods with my little girl, and I am glad.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
-Henry David Thoreau