When I miss three weeks of posting on my blog, you know something has caused me to lose track of my writing schedule. In this case, it was a good thing. I’m happy to report that my husband and I took an extended vacation and had a delightful, rest-filled time in Whistler, British Columbia. Canada has such majestic beauty! We had the privilege of reveling in many natural wonders – forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and glorious snow-capped mountains. All without the confinement of work, clocks, strict schedules, and yes, even technology. I love to blog and share what I learn about food, health, and life, but this vacation reminded me of how much I miss connecting with nature. I live in a beautiful place, this Pacific Northwest, and I often take for granted the natural wonders surrounding me every day. This vacation reminded me of my need to stop and enjoy the outdoors, even if only for a few minutes a day. Whether in be the fresh air, blue sky, rainy clouds (yes, it’s still western Oregon!), birds in the trees, or flowers in my garden, my spirit is renewed when I take time to listen and bask in God’s amazing creation. Spending time outside is so good for my health. I can literally feel my body relax when I soak in the outdoors.
I wanted to share photos of my vacation, so you could experience a part of my outdoor recreation in Canada, but more than that, I want to inspire you to create your own regular outdoor adventures with this post. Take in the beauty from my little Canon camera, and then thoughtfully consider my questions and ideas about your outdoor playtime.
Whistler at Its Finest
The end of May was a lovely time to see Whistler. Since we are not fans of winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, we booked our vacation for the beginning of summer activities like hiking and biking. We enjoyed partly sunny and comfortable 75-80 degree weather most days during our trip.
My photos can’t describe the full effect of actually being in these majestic natural wonders. You’ll have to plan a trip to visit Whistler yourself someday!
Questions to Ponder
- How much time do you spend outdoors? 15 minutes a day? An hour? Only when you are running errands?
- How much time do your children spend outdoors? Do they play outside on a daily basis? Even when it’s raining? (That’s what baths are for!)
- What is your favorite way to spend time outside? Do you like to be moving and active, as in biking or hiking or swimming? Or would you rather cloud gaze, sun bathe, or sit by a quiet stream?
- If you live in a dense apartment complex or on a busy city street, do you know where the closest parks or forests are in your neighborhood?
- If you live in the country, do you know where the closest hiking or biking trails, rivers, or lakes are in your area?
- If you live near the ocean or mountains, how often do you spend time enjoying the awe-inspiring vastness of such huge forms?
Ideas for Everyday Outdoor Activities
- Take a walk around your neighborhood, even if only few blocks. Breathe deeply and allow your chest, shoulders and neck to relax.
- If you live reasonably close to your workplace, walk or bike to work. Save money on gas and enjoy the outdoors!
- Plant a flower or vegetable garden and tend to it daily. Whether you are watering or pulling weeds, gardening is a healthful way to appreciate the outdoors. Studies also show that gardening can extend your life span!
- Take your young children to the park for a picnic lunch and playtime.
- Send your school-age children outside to play in the back yard after school, especially if they are not already participating in outdoor sports. They have limited recess time. They desperately need to run around in free play.
- In the summer time when it’s hot, run through the sprinkler or slide down the water slide in the grass with your children. One of my favorite activities growing up as a kid!
- Break out the sidewalk chalk and create some art!
Ideas for Weekend Outdoor Activities (When You Have More Time)
- Take a local hike. If you like mountains, find the nearest mountain hike. If you like wildflowers, search for the best wildflower hike. Some cities even have nature parks with paved paths, easily accessible to wheelchairs. LocalHikes.com has a long list displayed by city.
- Visit the beach or nearest lakefront for a picnic. Toss a frisbee, kick a soccer ball, or throw a football.
- Locate your city’s best biking trails and take the whole family on a ride. The Rails to Trails organization has been converting old railroad lines to biking trails. What’s great about these trails is they are for pedestrian and bike use only – there is no automobile congestion! Search for trails in your state by visiting TrailLink.com. The Banks to Vernonia Trail in my area is one of my favorites.
- Tour all the waterfalls in your area. For the best water viewing, go before the dry season when the falls become a trickle.
- Seek out friends and family members who own boats. If you provide the food, I bet they will provide the watercraft. Canoeing, kayaking, or fishing are great leisure-time activities that slow the pace of busy lives.
What are your ideas for regular outdoor activities?
We all know the health benefits of being outside – the air is cleaner than most indoor structures, the exercise is good for your heart and bones, and the sun provides vitamin D for a healthy immune system. But more than that, spending time outdoors can renew your spirit and soul, I think partly because we are closer to our Creator’s beautiful natural inventions.
Are you inspired to shut down your computer, turn off your cell phone, stop texting, and get outside?! Go for it. Better yet, take a friend or family member with you and cultivate relationships with those you love.
Renew your spirit in the wonders of the great outdoors!