Traditions are important to have and with time hopefully your children will learn how important they are. The First Day Hike is a tradition that our family enjoys every year. It allows us as a family to enjoy the outdoors together and find new places to visit. The First Day Hike is a hike that we take in one of the many wonderful Florida State Parks on New Year’s Day. This tradition started five years ago and we haven’t missed a year.
The discussion started the week before as to which park we would visit. A lot of considerations are given to the park. Is it a hike that we are going to do? Is it bike or kayak trail that we want to plan? If we plan anything but a hike then the logistics of getting all of the equipment in and on the car have to be discussed. You see I am a planner, I have to plan everything and have binders for everything. My family not so much.
This year we decided to do a hike so that we could include our two dogs. We were concerned about one of the dogs as she seems to have put on a few extra pounds. The few times that we have taken the dogs for long walks the one with the extra pounds tends to lean as the walk progresses and she tires. At that point she also tends to jump up, trying to jump into your arms so you can carry her.
So the park was selected, we were going to Wekiwa Springs, located in Apopka, Florida. It was going to be less than a two hour drive so we were going to wake up early pack the car and head out by 8 a.m. Needless to say that didn’t happen. If you have a family with children, a husband and dogs you know how that always turns out. Trying to get the equipment for the dogs, our lunches packed and anything extra that the girls wanted to take in the car meant we were finally off at 10 a.m. We set the GPS and decided to take the not so traveled roads and see a little bit of Florida that we hadn’t seen before. An hour and forty-five minute drive took us two and a half hours. Apparently, there are some roads that no longer exist and there are neighborhoods built where the GPS thought we could drive through. We did get to see some pretty countryside, though.
The park has a lot to offer, from trails, fishing and camping to canoeing and kayaking trails. As a family we enjoy the finer things of camping, or as we call it “glamping”. Glamping translates to glamour camping, or taking some of the luxuries of life along with us. We wanted to see the camping facilities as this might be a park we would like return to and camp at. So we headed in that direction and decided to let the dogs take a little walk and smell things as they were excited to be in the park. As we were walking and it is a park it was bound to happen that one of us stepped in some scat. Of course it would be my oldest daughter who despises anything with germs, so that was an eventful time trying to get that off of her hiking boots. I can’t believe she is old enough now that we can actually switch shoes, which is something she quickly wanted to do.
We finally settled to move onto the trails and see all that there is with the park. The day was perfect, it was partly cloudy with a nice breeze. Apparently, the Northeast was having a cold winter season in January and Florida was having a heat wave. Once we completed a small 3 mile trail we decided to visit the spring. Unfortunately, with the dogs we couldn’t walk with them close, so Glenn decided to stay at the top of the spring with the dogs while the girls and I walked down and saw the spring. Next time I think we will go without the dogs and try the kayak trail.
It was a perfect day and we all will have memories of a fun day together (some slinkier than others). Getting out with the family and sharing some quality time away from our everyday lives draws us together and helps us be a closer family. Why not start your own First Day or Any Day family tradition.