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Great memories take work

Getting kids to enjoy the outdoors also helps forge bonds

After Christmas, several members of our family went to Arizona to spend time with our son Tom and his family — and enjoy the nice weather.

It became, as any large family gathering can become, an exercise in keeping the natives from getting restless.

One day our son, Mike, looked online and found a hike that even the smaller children could do. So off we went to the Superstition Mountains.

The particular hike he picked had a long entry before getting into the canyon, so even the adults were wondering about the choice, as this time of the year isn't particularly scenic.

Our grandsons Asher and Jackson had been racing ahead of us, trying to be the leader of the pack, when finally Asher, who is younger, sat in the dirt and started to cry.

He was mad that Jackson could outhike him, and he was also out of energy.

Mike picked up Asher and put him on his shoulders and began talking about things that interested him.

Pretty soon Asher got down and walked on his own.

When we reached the mouth of the canyon, we stopped by a large rock to eat a lunch we had packed. Of course there was a bit of complaining about the sandwich choices, and Jackson refused to eat because he claimed someone ate the sandwich he chose.

Normally the battle of wills would have begun, but I decided it wasn't worth it and gave Jackson a few cookies to give him some energy.

Mike picked him up and hiked with him on his shoulders, cheering him up as he had Asher, and we proceeded.

With all the crying and complaining going on, I asked Mike if it was really worth it to go on this hike?

He answered that if we were back at the house they would be playing video games. As an ER doctor, he sees quite a few overweight children and adults and feels it is important to teach them to enjoy the outdoors.

Moving the body may take effort, but it pays off. He added that if you keep children fed and as happy as possible, when it is over they will have a lasting memory.

He also commented that there are always things to learn and discover on a hike besides the scenery, which was really looking good by the way.

We were gawking at towering cliffs and majestic peaks dotted by exotic flora and fauna. There was some slick rock the kids were sliding on, and a truly beautiful hidden canyon.

People think of Arizona as a desert state, but there is some breathtaking scenery to enjoy. The legends make it even more fun.

Our hike was in an area called the Lost Dutchman, where people go searching for hidden gold.

The kids practically ran all the way back to the car laughing and chatting to each other and calling for us to hurry up.

Mike caused me to look back in my life, and what he said was true.

The best family memories were when we were skiing or hiking or swimming or at a park playing games with our grandchildren.

Although media-related activities could serve a purpose, the good memories were not created while listening to the beeping of video games.

e-mail: sasyoung2@aol.com