Hitting the Forest Trail

woodsHitting the forest trail is one of the best family activities to do, during the Christmas season. It doesn’t matter whether you have 3 feet of snow, which we usually do in the Canadian north (we resort to cross-country skies – though I’ve always preferred snowshoes) or a light dusting “barely enough to cool a Hobbit’s toes”, as J.R. R. Tolkien once famously said.  The air in a winter forest seems to clean out every cell of your body, invigorating your lungs.

And one other reason my frugal dad like it as a family activity: it’s free!

If you live in the city, there’s sure to be a park large enough to have some forest paths. If you don’t mind traveling, or if you live in the countryside, just look for your nearest State forest in the U.S., or County forest in Canada.

The peace you find in a winter forest is a wonderful antidote for the stress of 21st century life, and there’s always the lure of finding out what’s round the next bend…

I believe in teaching children early to respect and enjoy nature (and wildlife). They’ll never learn it, unless they learn it from you. Besides, you can do things like gather pine cones in the forest, and make easy Christmas ornaments, when you get home.

pinecone-ornamentsWalks in the forest with my dad are just a beautiful, precious memory for me now. He’s been dead for many years and my walking days are past, thanks to disability. But I’m lucky:  I live in a little cabin in the woods, surrounded by forest. I only have to open my door to hear the whispering of the trees and the rushing of the wind; and then I remember the fun I had as a child, on those family walks, long ago.

So if you make it to a State or County forest this winter, take a walk for me. ;)

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