Monday, January 31, 2011

Family Nature Hikes

Morning Verse

Oh what a joy is the morning sun
Shining with love now the night is gone --
See how it gleams, feel the earth grow warm,
Flowers are springing to greet the morn.
Birds are singing in feathered flight,
Beasts they are moving with all their might,
And in my heart do I truly know
Nature and I by sun's grace must grow.
~ Anon.

One of the biggest influences in waldorf education is nature. It surrounds and engulfs us in its beauty, in its rhythms. When a baby is cranky, a wise grandmother will tell her daughter to take the baby out for a walk. There is something healing...something freeing when out in nature's glory.

As waldorf inspired homeschoolers, we have the freedoms to school anywhere we are able. For us, in the temperate climate of southern California, this means we are often found outside. My husband comes from a very active family and he recently has been taking the girls on weekly hikes through the canyons by our home while I get some alone time. He kept encouraging me to go, too, but I was feeling overwhelmed with all the housekeeping duties that have gone neglected in the name of education! This weekend, I went. And once again, I realized WHY it is so important for all of us, even those in colder climates, to get outside and breathe in that glorious beauty.

We found a spot off a canyon road and headed into the Angeles National Forest to hike to a small waterfall that trickles into our canyon.

Ever notice how children come alive when they are allowed to explore out in nature? It's like an instinct that is fulfilled when they are allowed to just *be*...

Here are some shots of our time spent in nature this weekend...

We reached the waterfall and took in the beauty...

Daddy wanted to continue up, but it wrapped around a narrow rocky pathway, falling off to the boulders below. I figured it was too steep for our youngins, especially without climbing helmets and proper shoes...

My honey...

The canyon walls rise from the earth's bed many feet above. It is difficult to truly capture it on film with the lens I had on my camera...

Gettin' dirty :)

Gorgeous tree roots gnarl around boulders as the trees grow sideways from the canyon walls. This one is so smooth and a perfect railing to grab onto while scaling the wet rocks in the stream. Nature provides.

More exposed roots - like majestic Grandfather Oak here...

I never had the girls 2nd grade photos taken this year, so I took these to be the ones to remember Grade 2...

Something in this meadow was so spiritual. You could just feel it was sacred ground. Certainly the natives occupied this land and it left me wondering what happened here all those years ago...

Ah...this one my daughter spotted, telling me, "Look at that dragon there, Mommy!" We finished reading "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" and one of their very favorite books is "The Dragon Boy" so dragons are certainly on their mind as we approach the Chinese New Year!

Then, imagine my surprise when we stumbled upon this old ancient hearth sitting in what is now a camping area of the National Forest! You can see the foundation of this small building, but the ageless acid washed stone still stands the test of time...

Here Charley is, pretending to be a lion guarding the hearth!

Emergency vehicles rode in, responding to reports of an injury near the waterfall. Mom feeling solid about not scaling that wall with the girls, after all...

Heading back to the car...I can't wait to find out where we're going next weekend! Happy exploring to you all!


  1. What a beautiful spot. Hiking in January is one of the many reasons I love living in CA. So glad that you were able to enjoy an outing with your family.

  2. Beautiful place to explore. Exhilerating to go on a hike. You must have all enjoyed it so.

  3. Happy day, happy day! I live in Portland, OR where we have the largest wilderness park within a city limits in the country. I am up there most weeks and it is so restorative to me. It doesn't look anything like your desert canyons, but it does the same thing.