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The How-to of Contemplative Hiking

Today my children and husband said they were headed to the State Park to do some geo-caching so I could get some work done. I made the conscious decision to join them and practice my Contemplative Hiking skills. During my endeavor, I decided it would be better received by you, the audience, in the form of a skit. As you read, take some deep breaths, focusing on your breathing, and use your senses to follow me through the forest.

Husband: You are coming with?

Mom: Yes. Do you have bug spray?

Mom thinking: I am a guest on your adventure, I am only here to take pictures and contemplate things.

Husband: Yes.

Family gets out of the vehicle and the mother takes a deep breath, breathing in the forest, a wonderful scent. She looks around to gain awareness of her environment and notices Child #1 is in sandals.

Mom thinking: I am a guest on your adventure.

The family sets off into the forest, a trail that is familiar to the mother. Even though it is humid out, this should not be a big deal. There are only 3 geo-caches on the agenda.

Mom thinking: It is so peaceful in the woods. I can hear the birds. I can see the squirrels. Deep breath in, slowly let it out.

Child #2: How long until the first one?

Husband: 2/10 of a mile.

Child #2: How long is that?

Husband: Almost there.

Mom thinking: Okay, this might be difficult, I can do this. One must learn to meditate in whatever environment they are in, it is a state of being. Be present in the moment.

The children and husband go into the woods off the path to look for the geo-cache, the mother turns the other way to look over the cliff, and then continues up the trail alone.

Mom thinking: It is so pretty, look at all the black squirrels, all the little mushrooms. This is a beautiful trail.

The rest of the family catches up to the mother as she points out the black squirrels.

Child #2: How long until the next one?

Husband: 3/10 of a mile?

Child #2: How long is that?

Husband: almost there.

Child #1: Mom did you see this bug? Take a picture of it.

Mom: No

Child #1: Please Mom!

Mom thinking: these are the moments they will remember, I will take the picture.

Mom: Ok

Child #2: How long until we are there?

Husband: I will tell you when we are there.

Child #2 to Child #1: What are you going to leave in this one? (then a small argument breaks out.)

Mom: Stop it boys! We are being mindful in the woods and listening to the birds!

Child #2: Caw! Caw!

Child #1: laughs

Mom thinking: I need to Contemplative Hike so I can write about it……… look at the woods, look at the woods… gosh I am getting hot and sweaty. We are not going down the correct trail. Why is he taking us the long way?

Then the mother stops and sees two deer bedded down in the grass off to the side of the trial.

Mom: Shh… quiet when you walk, we do not want to scare them. (everyone gets quiet)

Husband is looking at his phone to find the next geo-cache as the family is walking down the new unfamiliar trial.

Mom thinking: take a deep breath, focus on your breathing. Everything is going to be okay.

Mom also thinking: I am focusing on my breathing, I am dying. Why is he looking at his phone like he is lost? This is not like we are lost on the road in a car, I am running out of steam here…… I need to make the best of this. Be one with your moment.

Child #2: How long until the next one?

Husband: We are halfway there.

Child #2: How long is that?

Mom thinking: Why are we playing this game?

Husband: almost there.

The husband and children go into the woods off the trail to look for the geo-cache. They can not find it. The mother is getting eaten by mosquitoes because the above-mentioned bug spray never made an appearance. After an extended search, the mother is forced to barrel into the wooded area and help look. The boys were about to give up and the mother finds the geo-cache.

Mom thinking: That one is over, on to the next one.

As everyone heads down the trail again, the sun is beating down, the butterflies are out, and there are more deer walking across the path Infront of them.

Mom thinking: It is a beautiful day after being cooped up inside on quarantine.

Child #1: look at the big pile of poop.

Child #2: Eww gross

Child #1: laughs

Child #2: Hey Mom!

Mom: No.

Child #1: laughing still

The family went on to find the last geo-cache. It was an adventure for sure. There were bug bites, there were arguments, there were bird noises, and fart noises. But the mother realized that the contemplative hike is about being in your moment, no matter what moment that is. Even though in her head she thought that would be a quiet peaceful walk in the woods, the reality is that it is with two children who love the woods. That is what is important. The smiles on their face.


I enjoyed my Contemplative Hike, and even though I was not contemplating what I set out to, it turned into a great learning experience. Sometimes we need to take the energy that is presenting itself around us instead of waiting for the perfect moments to come. Chances are, we would be sitting around waiting for the perfect moments to come while the time is slipping away. Take a walk in the woods and become aware of EVERYTHING going on. Think about it. That was my Contemplative Hike.


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