When my children were young, I would spend a good bit of time trying to figure out what activities I could do with all of them.  The cost of the activity also had to be considered since we were in our “poor” stage.

I’ve always loved the outdoors and one day it dawned on me that hiking through the woods was very inexpensive and would appeal to all ages!  My girlfriend, Jan, and I decided to try hiking with the kids.  It was a great experience, the kids loved it, and we hiked all summer long!  And of course, living in the Pacific Northwest, with Mt. Ranier  in our backyard, we were afforded with many trail options.

We really hadn’t done any hiking since moving to GA and once again I was trying to figure out some activities to do with the family over the holiday season.  I decided to make hiking boots a gift for everyone and planned a family day of hiking.  We made the decision to start off easy since everyone would be breaking in new shoes.  Watson Mill State Park had gentle trails and a ton of photo opportunities for all those in my family who take pictures.  The day was perfect and we had a great time romping through the woods, singing and talking.

Watson Mill is known for the wooden covered bridge.

This is tradition.  We always take a picture with the sign at the trail head.  Certainly makes it easier for documenting where we were after the hike!

And we’re off – no computers, no cell-phones, no distractions other than the beauty of nature.

And of course, we need to have the “hike pose.”

After one of the trails, we all ate lunch.  A simple fare – apples and oranges, nuts, granola bars, meat and cheese with crackers and water.

One of the aspects of hiking which I love, is the time we have to just be with one another.  I love watching everyone pair up to chat and after a while, the pairs switch and new conversations start.  There are no time constraints in the woods, just the freedom to be.

“Look, I see my shadow!”

My wonderful children!  With so many, hiking gives me the chance to talk with each one individually and catch up on their lives and listen to their dreams.

I don’t care how old they get, they always play “how far can you get your feet in the water without actually getting them wet?”

Every playground provides an excellent photo op!

Michael and I decided to venture into the wooden bridge – the wood inside smelled so good!

“Hmmmm, I do believe that’s water below…”

I love wood- the touch of it, the smell of it, the intricacy of the grain.

This is the calm side of the covered bridge…

And this is the other side!  The water was moving fast this day.

“On your mark get set, GO!”  Michael kept trying to figure out how deep the water was and if jumping in was a safe possibility – not on this day of course, it was a little chilly!

This was a “blind shot.”   I put my camera below this ledge to see what was there.  Looks like a meeting place for faeries to me!

Once we got to the river, everyone with cameras went their separate ways…

I love watching the different positions they all get into to try and get creative shots.

Dave had a great time playing with his camera…

Megan got a new camera for Christmas…

This one is mine – both the child and the photo!

Okay – so maybe I was a little nervous with this position.  But I’m learning not to say anything 🙂

This photo seems to say it all for me…there is a big beautiful world, full of mystery, out there waiting to be discovered, one step at a time – and for my family, one photo at a time!