Recently, an old coworker challenged me to post nature photographs on Facebook for seven days. I was dubious, but took up the call and now I’m glad I did.

Going through old photos reminded me of the amazing places I’ve lived and visited and that I should take my camera with me more often on our adventures.

It also made me think a lot about why we take Squidget with us when we venture out.

She went for her first hike when she was only a few weeks old and visited Glacier National Park when she was about a month old, quite a feat considering I know Montana-born adults who haven’t been.

When she sees her pack come out, she squeals with delight. There’s no place Squidget would rather be than outside, whether that’s around the farm or on a new trail, and she has been snowshoeing, cross country skiing, sledding, kayaking (which she didn’t like so much), paddle boarding, hiking and biking.

We’ve learned a lot along the way, like don’t let her crawl toward dogs who are eating or else your backpacking trip ends with a trip to the ER, keep a tube of Eucerin Aquaphor on hand for all seasons to prevent chapped skin, sunscreen is your and her best friend, water and more water is essential, and that she’s good for about two hours at temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. (This is a good resource if you’re thinking about spending more time outside with your little kiddos.)

People stop us when they see us and say how awesome it is to see a family out and about in nature.

That seeing kiddos out at a young age is such a rarity that it requires remarking upon always surprises me. But studies show that kids in general spend markedly less time outside than their parents’ generation, which means today’s kiddos are missing out on lots of benefits.

Apart from a healthy intake of Vitamin D, being outside encourages physical exercise, reduces stress and connects kids with the world around them, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Outdoor time also teaches kids about science (think gardening, bodies of water, geology, wildlife, and on and on).

Those are all important in our lives, and hers too.

She never had an option about coming, I tell people. We don’t want her to know there’s any other place to be.

 

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