A couple months ago, my husband and I went on our first hike together. It is something we had talked about and planned for, but had to keep putting off because of, well, life.
Since we live in a pretty flat place (South Louisiana) and I wanted to see sights from a tad above sea-level, we headed north to the Kitsatche National Forest. It’s only a few hours from our home, so we were able to make it a weekend trip. (Double bonus: It was the weekend of my birthday and I had my husband all to myself. Happy Birthday to me!)
*FULL DISCLAIMER* I hate, hate, HATE cold weather. And since the temps were dropping below 40 all weekend, we opted to stay in a nearby hotel at night. Some might say this is cheating, but since I have no problem camping in the middle of a Louisiana summer, I say it balances out.
The trail we chose is 7 miles long, with a 3 mile trip back to your car if you only have one vehicle. We thought this would be a good starter trail, as it can be easily done in a day without rushing through. We parked at one end of the trail (which turned out to be an excellent decision verses the other end. Will explain in a minute.) and started into the forest.
At first, the trail was easy. It had rained a few days before, but the trail was only a bit soggy in spots. At the trail head and the tops of all the ridges, pine trees were in the majority.
Now, these aren’t exactly mountains I’m talking about. They barely classify as hills . Still, there are a few overlooks on the trail that make good photo sites.
The bottoms of the ridges were different. Oaks and maples became numerous, as did the creeks.
We stopped along the way to take in the smaller sights, too.
Although we made very good time, the trail turned out to be more challenging than we had prepared for on our first outing. My husband is more tied to a desk than I am and the up and down trail wore him out. Since we both wanted this to be enjoyable rather than grueling, we sidetracked onto a shorter trail for a return trip instead of going to the opposite trailhead. This path was much more level and took us by very gentle slopes back to the main road (had we parked at the other trailhead, this would not have been possible). Then it was just a short walk back to our vehicle.
We both loved our time in the woods and are looking for another weekend where we can head back out to the same area. Maybe the same trail, maybe not; there are several to choose from. We’d also like to get the younger kids out there with us. Yet another reason I can’t wait for warmer weather!
Do you go out to natural areas? Maybe that could be a new challenge for you and your family in the coming year. Look around to see what is available in your area and then get out there.