*Guest Post* You Don’t Need Mountains to Get Outside and Play!

Errin joins us on the blog today with a perspective of a gal transplanted from the mountains she loves to the city to be with the family she loves even more.  She is full of great ideas on how to just get outside, no matter what (something we REALLY appreciate here!)  As always, make sure to check out her bio at the end of the post and leave her some love in the comments!

I’m forever a mountain girl at heart. I have loved them my entire life, since I was a little girl living in the foothills of Colorado and as a young twenty-something living in the San Juan Mountains of the breathtaking Southwest corner of Colorado. I feel different when I’m there – their sheer magnitude and beauty forbids me to sweat the small stuff. On any bad day or off day, all I had to do was head up one of the many trails with my dog and breathe in that crisp, clean mountain air and I was cured. There was never an excuse for not going out and playing outside – whether there was 3 feet of snow on the ground or a mid-summer afternoon rainstorm.
Little Errin 🙂
Durango, CO
My life eventually brought me back home to my family and my future husband, Dave, in the suburbs of Chicago. My heart would break from time to time when I thought about that magical, mountainous place I loved so much. And poor Dave has to listen to my incessant “the best place on Earth” blabbing. He says I should be a spokesperson for Durango. Or Colorado. Or just mountainous towns in general. I agree, mostly because then I’d have to live there, right?

I have to admit, I had a really hard time when I came back. The first winter was bleak and gray. No sun for weeks on end. And I missed my mountains, desperately. I was really hard on the area I lived in, often lamenting that there was nothing to do and aching for that valley in the Southwest.
But eventually I stopped boo-hoo-ing; I love my family and my family is here. And I needed to give myself a chance to be happy. As I settled into my new life, I discovered something that surprised me. It was beautiful here, too. And then I remembered that I already knew this…I had spent most afternoons when I was in high school at the surrounding forest preserves in my area. Tossing a Frisbee, lying in the grass, walking in the creek, and climbing trees. We all loved these places. They were “our spot”. 
I came to the realization that it doesn’t matter where you live, but what you do where you live. Ever since that first year back, I’ve taken in my surroundings and have appreciated them for their own beauty. And until I get back to those mountains, I promised myself I’d enjoy it here and slow down and smell the flowers. Even if they’re daisies in big ceramic pots, not wildflowers in giant fields.
I wanted to share with you some of my Get Outside & PLAY activities that I enjoy with Dave, my sweet stepdaughter (SS), friends, family, and by myself:
Playing disc golfcheck for local courses by you , they’re becoming more popular and are really fun, even if you are downright terrible like me
Hiking – you don’t have to be in the mountains to hike! We visit the local forest preserves
Snowshoeing! – while I miss snowshoeing up a mountain, it’s still lots of fun around here 🙂

Bike rides – through town, on the river trail, around the neighborhood
Day trips – we head up north where there are tons of beautiful lakes and big, green forests in WI, MI, MN, and IL
Yard games – we love having BBQs and playing bags, horseshoes, and ladderjacks
Farms and outdoor markets – we often head out west for fresh produce, to walk around, and sometimes pick our own!
Playing games outside – SS loves Outdoor Photo Hunt or we simply lay down a blanket and play one of our board/card games outside

Gardening – my personal favorite, we found a wonderful community garden that we garden in every summer
Cloud, Sunset , & Storm-watching– I’ve done this with my family since I was very young and still love it!
No matter where you live, look into the things you can do OUTDOORS in your area to appreciate it more. You’ll be happier for it, I promise!
How do you and your family Get Outside and PLAY?
-Errin
Errin Courtney is a writer, editor, and social media marketer for Planet Fassa – a website (www.planetfassa.com) for children and their families that uses the draw of technology to promote off-line play, family connections, and reading. She blogs under the pseudonyms, Go2Gal and PuzzledTweeter. You can also find her tweeting for PlanetFassa. Her posts and tweets include tips and musings about being social, ways to have family fun, and love letters to Dr. Seuss. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Kidz Rock! Inc, a national NPO devoted to developing programs and activities for preschool to graduate school age. She is currently finishing her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse with a focus in Professional & Technical Writing at DePaul University, and loves her program but despises commuting. 
Errin loves a challenge; ask her a question and if she doesn’t know the answer, you better believe she’ll work endlessly to find it. She also has a blast dreaming up ideas for kid-friendly fun and ways to find the silver lining. She’s a stepmomma with a very naughty cat and an extremely well-behaved dog. Three things Errin loves are crafty projects, warm and cozy evenings at home, and Durango, Colorado.

2 thoughts on “*Guest Post* You Don’t Need Mountains to Get Outside and Play!”

  1. Great article! I too went through Western withdrawal for a while and agree that just like everything else it is a matter of finding the joy in the place you are! Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Thanks for reading, Becca! It is so true that you are in charge of your own happiness. And I love the term Western withdrawal! I’m using it…poor Dave…Ha!

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