How were you introduced to hiking and exploring nature?

I started exploring nature when I was very young and will always be in my blood!
Anita Elder Anita Elder
Seattle Photography Committee Chair
August 11, 2016

I vaguely remember my first "hike". I was only four years old and lived in a rural area of Pennsylvania. About a 1/4 mile from our house were some woods and a creek. Even at that young age, I would often go off by myself, exploring in the woods and playing in the creek.

Sometimes I would find frog eggs, run home for a jar, and go back to collect them. I could then watch their different stages of development. It still amazes me that my parents weren't worried about me going off by myself! But, it was the early 60s and that's how kids were raised in the country.

As for an introduction to other wildlife, I was three. A robin was sitting on the fence in our front yard. I walked up to it, picked it up, and carried it into the house to show my mom. She scolded me and said to take it back outside and leave it alone (which I did). I still can't believe that a fully grown bird allowed me to pick it up!

When I was a teen and got my first camera, I started taking pictures and documenting what I saw while off on my hikes. I continue to do it to this day.

Being outdoors, going on hikes, and exploring my surroundings is in my blood. It is something I have done throughout my life and something that I introduced my boys to when they were toddlers. I even took my grand-daughter hiking in the woods near Birch Bay when she was five. It was right after I took a naturalist class and I was able to help her identify the plants and berries she found.

My boys exploring Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas in the mid-80s

Exploring in Arkansas

I would love to read your story about how you got introduced to hiking and the outdoors. Please share your thoughts in the comments of this blog post.


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Tricia Belcastro
Tricia Belcastro says:
Tue, Aug 23, 2016 10:44 AM

Besides just being told to "go outside and play", which meant exploring our neighborhood, it was through 4-H, the Girl Scouts and Indian Princesses (yes, an organization in the 1970's). And fishing every Saturday with my Father, Grandfather and Brother. That was Ohio. What brought me to the mountains and eventually the PNW was a family vacation to a dude ranch in Montana, Mountain Sky. I fell in love with Montana, mountains and wilderness.