Whenever Steve and I share stories with our kids about our childhoods, we tend to reflect on moments playing outside. For me, growing up on a small farm in Texas offered a heck of a playground–a small pond to kayak, plenty of room to ride a bike, stacks of hay in the barn to goof off on, and more trees than one could climb in a lifetime. I tend to leave out the character building parts at this point–flooding the kayak as a means to remove a cottonmouth, taking off my training wheels and falling into a fire ant pile, playing hide-and-seek in the barn between hay bails and again getting covered in fire ants, and watching the adults construct a tree house that even at my age seemed like it wouldn’t meet code. The point is I remember being outside all the time, or at least those must be my fondest memories because they stuck.
Similarly, Steve spent most of his youth on the west side of the state on two wheels. He rode his bike everywhere, on BMX tracks, in the woods, on back roads, everywhere. Both of us remember a childhood outside. Part of this mission to explore the Blue Mountain region is to encourage and foster a love and appreciation for nature and for outdoor recreation. Unplug from any and all devices and, ironically, connect both as a family and with the wild.
So more than anything in the world, we want them to have lasting memories of spending their childhood outside. One of my strongest memories of moving from Texas to Washington was watching my friend take off her shoes and walk barefoot through the grass. I thought she had lost her mind. Had I dared to do that in Texas I would have probably had yet another encounter with fire ants (I literally get goosebumps every time I type fire ants) or lost a quick battle dodging what I remember calling stick-a-burs. Every time I look out the window and see the kids barefoot or rolling in the grass without eminent pain, I think about how lucky they are that dog poop is really their only nemesis.