"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."- Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I look back on my childhood some of my most fondest memories are the ones spent outdoors exploring nature. I think that is true for a lot of us. The fresh air, the soothing sounds, the gentle breeze, the tranquility, and the good company, what more could we ask for. Spending that time outside with loved ones, without any distractions from the busy city life, can really replenish the soul and build deeper personal relationships.
I had the opportunity to join the Hiking Club earlier this month on hike up Hilton Falls and I brought along my 4 little ones. It was a perfect winter day and though slippery in places and a bit of a long trek, the kids and I really enjoyed it. We roasted hotdogs, mades mores, marvelled at the icy waterfalls, and laughed and enjoyed each others company. I had a chance to ask sister Shehnaz about how she started the hiking club, what inspired it, who it is for, and what places they have gone to in the past. Here's what she said:
I’ve always been a hiking addict. A constant quest for longer, farther, remoter and more breathtaking wilderness. An escape from noise and hustle into calm and quiet. A chance to reflect on life and the glory of the Creator.
My kids and I became serious hikers three years ago when my youngest turned three and could handle our two to three hour treks. I felt a little uneasy hiking through deserted terrain alone, so I began a hiking club for homeschoolers. Not all my kids share my love for hiking so having friends along provides extra motivation along with a sense of safety in numbers. The shared experiences of navigating trails, spotting wildlife, capturing vistas and persevering through mud, ice, heat, cold, rain, mosquitoes, blisters, fatigue, hunger and lots and lots of whining, makes for special bonds of friendship and priceless memories.
This has been the most satisfying part of homeschooling for me -- exploring empty parks and trails and watching the kids play freely together in nature.
The TMH Hiking club meets once a week at a different location in the GTA. Hikes are suitable for kids who can handle rough, steep and rocky terrain. We usually hike 2-5 km, with multiple breaks for exploring, eating and collecting the group. We cover forests, lakes, rivers, marshes, waterfalls, beaches, meadows, caves, escarpment and lots of other exciting terrain.
If you're a TMH member, we'd like to invite you to join the TMH Hiking Club by getting in touch with sister Shehnaz on the members forums. What was the best place you ever hiked, or what would your dream hike destination be? Share it with us in the comments section below!