Hiking through a Pandemic
This has been a long time coming. A moment amongst the stars, beneath the trees, a whiff of freshly cut grass, the scent of flowers in bloom and the awe of chasing waterfalls. For many it has been a time of reflection, of re-purpose; of truly recognizing the soul connection of our being to influence the dynamic of our lives and possibly those around us as well. If you connect with the words I have just wrote this piece might be one for you.
It was mid March when we had returned from our trip to Victoria, B.C. freshly acquainted to mountain-scaping on the west coast of Canada in the midst of late winter, to visit old friends and our family. We recognize how incredibly fortunate we were for the opportunity and timing of the Canadian border closure all shutting down by midnight on March 17th. Sitting on the edge of our seats, we found we were leaving the day that San Francisco went into quarantine. A cousin of mine was given a 24 hour notice to leave his home there to return to Victoria where we just missed being able to see each other again by a hairline. The day he got home was the day we left. Not knowing what would be in store for us upon our return to Toronto, especially for the kids; we reluctantly boarded for the journey home for our own two week self-isolation.
Now that we are into phase 3 of the Pandemic, I will be posting our adventures there in articles and Instagram posts to come.
As of a few weeks ago, Ontario has been embracing the carefully guided re-openings of businesses everywhere. Still timid about the possibility of acquiring or transmitting the highly contagious COVID-19, we gingerly created a plan to re-integrate ourselves and our kids back into society. Our first stop? Walking through forests.
I am very thankful that my kids are always wanting to engage in nature and explore new places. Now, that provincial parks had re-opened we packed up a picnic and headed out into the depths of the "local" (meaning within a one hour drive, because you know... washrooms) park. Let's not forget sunscreen and bug spray.
Our Canadian winters (specifically, southern Ontario) can see deep freezes into the -30ºC, so upon springtime we tend to absorb in every bit of above zero temperatures we can relish. Not this year. As we spent endless hours, playing every board game, reading every book on Liam's shelf (which by the way I will create another post on our all time favourites that we think you can not pass up, Jolly Postman *wink, wink*; also not sponsored), finding crafts and activities that we could think of while still remaining in the confines of our home we felt an immense sigh of relief when we entered Phase 2; as everyone who has gone through this has felt.
We made our trip to the forests a game, in that Liam was a grand adventurer traversing different realms in the depths of the forest where no one could find us in our little jungle on this side of the Northern Hemisphere. We walked for hours until we were too tired to walk anymore, but in our little escape to the backwoods of the country we felt rejuvenated and able to tackle the next phase of this notorious pandemic. Liam had so much fun being out amongst nature and learned natural science along the way, from the different species of birds, plants and how animals interact with nature. It is such a beautifully natural way of living that I often wonder why we don't spend more time listening to them, I mean to say listen to the animals. Liam not only felt renewed, he felt refreshed, reclaiming his old self; acting and being how any 5 year old should be (curious, excited about new things, wanting to do the best they can, sparking the imagination.)
If you are able, instead of dreading about taking your kids to the local parks and the close proximity to others you and your child could potentially be in, find a nature trail and pack a picnic. Have your child choose a treat, a stuffy/toy and book to take along with them, maybe even a bike if they are able to ride through well groomed trails and don't forget that water! You never know what magic you will find by exposing your kids to the natural world in this crazy time. It could help soothe your energy as well as theirs. We have already traversed through five provincial parks in the past two weeks and have been having a blast on these adventures with the kids, with no plans of slowing down.
Parks we visited in Southern Ontario.
Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara (now open!) it wasn't when we went, but the grounds were.
Ball's Falls Conservation Area
Evergreen Brick Works