Cold Feet

[ 5 ] February 2, 2012 |

Sunday morning, 6:58am. Not my idea of sleeping in, especially after spending half the night with my son whose cough reminds me of the call of a sea lion and whose temperature reminds me of a toaster oven. But what was I really expecting anyway? My daughter has decided to wake me up by crawling all over me, seemingly unaware of the fact that her knees and feet are kicking me in the gut and in the head.

Did I mention that it’s 12 degrees outside?!

All I want to do is turn on a tv show for the kids, pull the covers over my head, and snooze some more. But instead, I’m going hiking. Now, hiking is usually a top priority for the weekends. After the craziness of the school and work week, there is no simpler and more effective way for my family and me to connect and recharge than by being in nature together. I’m motivated by two things: my deep love of nature and the belief that spending time outside is vital to our health and happiness.


Today, hiking is not my first choice to be perfectly honest. But, you see, I planned a RI Families in Nature hike for 10:30am in North Smithfield — “wicked faaah” from my warm, cozy bed in Wakefield. And on the slim chance that other people show up this frigid January morning and expect me to lead them on a hike, I’ve got to get moving.

With my son under my husband’s care for the day, my equally reluctant daughter and I soon find ourselves in the parking lot of the Audubon’s Fort Nature Refuge. And, wouldn’t you know it? Three other families show up! We hike to the pond overlook and back for a total of about a mile. We see a beaver dam, countless species of trees, and more. When we return to the car, we’re pretty darn cold but we’re also giggling. My spirits are definitely up, and my little girl is beaming with excitement and a bit of pride. On our ride home, she tells me that she really needed some “mommy-daughter time” and being outside felt pretty good.

In this age of busy calendars and organized activities, it’s nice to schedule in some simple, unstructured experience like hiking. It definitely got me outside!

Related Resources

1.  Best Hikes with Kids: Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island by Cynthia Copeland, Thomas J Lewis, Emily Kerr

2. Explore Winter: 25 Great Ways to Learn About Winter by Maxine Anderson

3.  RI Families in Nature


Category: nature places, nature/science

Jeanine Silversmith

about the author ()

Jeanine is a self-described tree hugging, science and math geek whose love of nature, coupled with her absolute certainty that people, especially children, are happier, healthier, and wiser when they regularly spend time in nature, led her to establish Rhode Island Families in Nature. Jeanine also works for the RI Environmental Education Association, supporting formal and informal teachers as they create "place-based" curriculum. She loves to hike, run, garden, bake, and go camping, especially when accompanied by her husband, Ian, her daughter, Sierra, and her son, Devin. They live in Wakefield.

Comments (5)

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  1. Katy Killilea Katy Killilea says:

    i love your hikes!

  2. Amy Hood amy says:

    I have it written in my calendar to come to this weekend’s hike (finally!!!!). I am hoping the kids are all (or some) healthy enough to come along. It’s right down the road, practically! We all love it there.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Loved this! A good lesson/reminder.

  4. Thanks, Marilyn. To be perfectly honest, one of the main reasons I started RI Families in Nature was to make certain my own family got outside more often. So in a way, I remind myself each month 🙂

    And I hope to see you Saturday, Amy! With healthy children…

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