This post is sponsored by REI. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Welcome to the blog Ambassador Marianne as she tells how she is teaching her granddaughters to become Forces of Nature.
Six years ago something monumental happened in our family. We gained a brand new member. A beautiful baby girl joined our tribe. Seven days later, almost to the hour, another gorgeous baby girl entered the world and became our second newest family member. I was in awe of these new little souls that shared my DNA and several of my genes.
That week my world view completely changed and I knew I wanted these tiny girls to know their worth, value, and strength. I wanted them to know how important they were and how capable they could be. I had a new mission and I took it very seriously.
What better way to show them than by example. Up close and personal.
As a female you aren’t always taken seriously. Some still consider us the “weaker”sex. I wanted these baby girls to grow up knowing they are capable of doing anything they can dream up. That they could be “forces of nature.”
I couldn’t wait to share my love of the great outdoors, nature, and hiking. I felt honored to teach them about our amazing planet, instill strength and self-esteem and the importance of being good stewards of our public lands. I’m so grateful I’m here to guide them.
We wanted to introduce them to our beloved canyons early and have it become second nature to them. Something ordinary but at the same time extraordinary. As infants they were snuggled into backpack carriers. Plenty of diapers and clothing layers and snacks were divided up and carried between the adults. Keeping them warm, happy, and comfortable was an important step when first introducing them to the trail. We wanted them to be content and enjoy the experience. Most often they would snooze or gaze at the newness of the sights and sounds.
For their second Christmas we gifted them the littlest snowshoes we could find. We strapped them onto their itsy bitsy feet and let them play in the snow in our backyard. As they got older we ventured out onto the snowy mountain trails and always made sure it was fun and comfortable.
Each year as they physically grew they also grew to love these experiences more and more. The companionship and camaraderie were enticing. The freedom of marching along a beautiful trail in search of a waterfall or lake was exciting We motivated them with a yummy lunch or snack when making it to our destination. Water stops and organic gummy bears were always acceptable along the trail and rest stops were encouraged when needed.
These little girls realized the joys of dipping their toes in a sparkling creek or spying a moose drinking from a lake. They’d sit and watch the fluttering of butterflies and the squirrels running up the tree trunks. Sometimes they’d ask to use one of my hiking poles and try and find a rhythm to walking with it.
Eventually they started carrying their own little backpacks. Until they are a bit older my own backpack is always stocked with sunscreen, bandages, critter repellent, lip balm and plenty of those energy enhancing gummy bears.
I couldn’t be more proud of these amazing little women. They can now hike 6 or 7 miles at a time. They understand the concept of “leave no trace” and the importance of appreciating these beautiful places.
I have the pleasure and memories of being with these amazing little beings. I count my lucky stars each day. There is no doubt they will find their own paths, their own trails, and their own passions. These girls are already “forces of nature”.