“I have often thought of the forest as a living cathedral…” -Richard Nelson
One of the things I miss most about living in the states, particularly Santa Barbara, is the freedom to hike and walk and run outside. There is something about the quiet of the trees, the beauty of a forrest, and the stunning views from the top that are just good for my soul. Just to be in nature, without the fear of being robbed or whistled at or a host of other things, is simply put, a gift. You don’t always realize these things when you leave a place where you can run from your front door to the the beach in less than a mile.
Don’t get me wrong Guatemala has a some of the most beautiful mountains and views in the world. Nature really is everywhere, but unfortunately it’s not always safe to be “out in nature.”
But on Saturday Gerber, Elena and I went to El Pilar, a nature reserve less than 5k from our house, and were thoroughly impressed. A 5oQ (about 7$) entrance fee was most definitely worth it for well-maintained paths, easy stream crossings across wooden bridges and just the security that comes from being on private land.
About 1.5K into the hike there are steps up to the mirador (look out point). It was a little hazy, but still hard to believe we were looking down at our valley.
They may have been some pretty, steep steps….or just carrying a 20lb baby warrants a water break.
I love that she likes to drink water. A girl after my own heart.
We wondered probably for a good 30 min through the canyon. It was green and lush and almost felt more like the jungle, than the hills around where we live. Best part was it was almost all in the shade. If you live here you know that’s a good thing, because hiking under the Guatemalan sun at 5,000 feet elevation get very hot, very quickly. After about 2K you arrive at the top of the canyon, where you can either take the path back to the bottom or keep going up along a gravel road to the cabanas.
Gerber was convinced the cabanas were just around the curve. So, we decided to keep going. And an hour or so later we rounded the final curve of the road. Elena had her lunch on the way up. (yes, you can breastfeed in the ergo-another reason it’s my favorite baby carrier EVER!) And we found a perfect little spot to have our lunch once we got to the top. There were bathrooms (with toilet paper! and soap) and picnic tables. Hiking has a way of making everything taste good, even squished, soggy sandwiches.
We started the walk back down and of course, in her favorite napping place…Elena fell asleep. I may complain about some of the challenges of having a child who only naps while being held, but I will say it makes her pretty easy to take out and about. So there’s trade offs, right?
We came home tired and sore and happy.
When we have groups here one or both of us often has work stuff to do on the weekends. Or we often do a lot of weekends where we trade off. Gerber watches E and I go to yoga or to a coffee shop to write. And then I watch her and he goes to lunch with friends. But it’s been awhile since we have done something together, as a family. And I think we could make this part of a new routine.
We’re still figuring this out…life as a family….but this weekend was a great start.
Do you have any weekend family routines or traditions?
P.S. Just one more picture…because I mean, look. She’s got her running clothes on. gah!