A few years back, when our boys were 8 and 11, we took a vacation to Yosemite. We stayed at a place more than a few minutes outside the park (read: long car ride!). After several days of driving too long and hearing “Are we there yet?” too many times, we decided to explore closer to our hotel. We’d heard of a nice hiking trail just a few minutes away and set out one morning.
Walking around a corner and going just a bit, we found ourselves transported to our own mini Yosemite experience. We hiked for several hours, discovering so many little treasures, from a sweet horse named Clark to the smallest little friend, a black and yellow caterpillar. We even discovered a couple of small waterfalls with rock ledges. These turned out to be just right for our boys, since they wanted to climb around. By the end of the day, they were happy, relaxed, and ready to take on another car ride the next day!
Moral of the story? Sometimes we just try to cram too much into a family vacation. As adults we want to “see” everything, when in fact there are so many other things to see. By the way, on our drive home, I was not at all surprised to hear that my boys’ favorite experience was our mini Yosemite hike. It warmed my heart knowing that we’d made the right choice to experience part of our vacation on our kids’ own terms.