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A Family that Hikes Together, Stays Together

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at May 02, 2018 03:20 PM |

A family looks back at hiking together through the years.

When you’re a parent who loves the outdoors, you hope to pass on even a little of that love to your kids. WTA member Junelle Lawry (@junellemay on Instagram) raised her three children, Betsy, Ryan and Justine, hiking. At 19, 21 and 23 respectively, they’re now adults, but the family tradition continues. We chatted with them to see what they had to say about hiking then and now.

Betsy and Junelle
Betsy and Junelle at Drift Creek Falls. Photo courtesy Junelle Lawry.

What are some differences between hiking together in the past compared to now?

Junelle: My children’s interests evolved from being young children exploring nature to teenagers with the endurance and stamina to handle distance and elevation gain.

Justine: Hiking has become more of an experience for me, rather than looking forward to one viewpoint during the entire hike. I’ve learned to enjoy the entire journey more, appreciating some unexpected views along the way. and altitudes. I also feel like I have a greater appreciation for nature.

What do you enjoy most about hiking together?

Junelle: The thing I enjoy the most about hiking with my kids is having such a good time with them and all the laughing, bonding and conversations. We have developed inside jokes while hiking and do some just plain silly things. We joke about how if someone gets tired they say, “This is a good spot for a picture,” but then one never knows if it is said because they are tired or it really is a good spot for a picture.

Justine: My mom pushes me to do more hiking and work harder on the trail to see more views. I like spending time with her while we’re both working toward something.

Betsy: I like hiking with my family because it’s a great opportunity for us to bond and catch up with each other.

Do you have any advice for other moms with kids who hike, or who want to get their kids hiking?

Junelle: Be aware of your own and your children’s limits and be prepared to discontinue the plan. Know when to turn around. Seek out ways to combine hobbies and interests with exploring trails. For example, incorporate music, photography, art, scouting, geocaching, etc. into your time on the trail. Have fun! Create memories!

Betsy, Justine and Junelle - Rainier
Betsy, Justine and Junelle at Mount Rainier. Photo courtesy Junelle Lawry. 

What is the most memorable hiking experience you've had with your family?

Junelle: The most memorable hiking experience was a hike on the Wagonwheel Lake trail in the Olympic National Forest. This hike is difficult and very steep. In fact, the trailhead even has a sign warning that the trail is “very steep”. We felt like we were about to die multiple times and we were not sure we would even be able to complete the hike. In desperation, we asked fellow hikers how much further it was only to be told it was “only as far as the eye could see, times two” which was a brilliant trail lie! It was such a physically demanding hike, we bonded through the ability to persevere and actually complete the hike. We also gained an ongoing joke about trail lies and “as far as the eye can see, times two.” 

Justine: My most memorable experience of hiking with my mom was at Wagonwheel Lake Trail at Olympic NP. It was the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. So many times, we thought we couldn’t do it and would have to quit. We each took turns encouraging one another, and convincing each other that we could get to the top. In the end, we did it! That’s a memory I’ll never forget. 

Betsy: My most memorable hike is Oswald West. We spent the whole time in the woods, then at the end you overlook the ocean. We spent a good while at the top taking photos and eating our lunch.

Ryan: One of my favorite hikes we went on was at the Rowena Crest trail. I took some great landscape photos and we saw lots of deer and other wildlife. 

Who’s the fastest on trail between you?

Junelle: We all tend to be fast walkers. I think when it comes down to it, they are faster, but I may have the edge when it comes to endurance.

Ryan: I usually like to take a slower pace than my mom. She is more focused on the workout aspect of hiking than I am.

Justine: My mom is faster than me on the trail. She’s faster than everyone!

This article originally appeared in the May+June 2018 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.