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Hiking Hazards

Hiking. It is what traveling families seem to do. We had pretty much sworn off ever hiking again after a number of disastrous failed attempts to successfully put one foot in front of the other as a family. Like that time in Moab USA a few years ago when we'd thought it was just a little stroll along the path. We'd turned up in completely the wrong attire - flip flops, unbroken new shoes on one kid, and no hats, water bottles or sunscreen for anyone... Aargh, sometimes it's hard to believe that we've ever successfully traveled internationally anywhere, truly we are living proof that anyone can do it!

Well, in Moab, we'd eventually had to deal with so much whining and sobbing resulting from subsequent sore feet, blisters and a general lack of enthusiasm that by the time we got to that famous arch...I was in such a foul temper that I was ready to curse the thing and never hit the outdoors again.

Plus, walking for's kinda boring. I like the views at the end sometimes. If the getting there isn't too traumatic...

But there we were in southern Poland surrounded by lush forests on all sides...and not much else. We'd gained some hope and confidence in Austria when our hiking attempts had resulted in the glorious discovery that we could ride a gondola up the mountain and slide back down! But in the wild Bohemian forests of Borowice, I doubted that we would chance upon any magical huts offering ice-cream sundaes for the weary (This really does exists in Austria!).

Were we game to give it another go? Sure, were were up for anything. Plus, it's a free activity, and a seemingly popular one amidst the travel community. Perhaps there was more to be had from walking past trees and rocks than I had assumed? Maybe we would bond as a family or see some cool animal?

It was a Sunday and we had nothing planned and needed to get out of the house. In our church we fast for two meals once a month and give the money that we would have spent on that food to the poor. It's an opportunity to remember our blessings and also to practice mastery over our bodies. The kids join in from about 8 years old. This day happened to be a fast Sunday. Ross and I figured it would be a good idea to do something to get all our minds off food for a while.

We researched some local hikes and chose one that ended at an old medieval castle, great! The Autumn was beginning and the weather was starting to cool down, we threw on a couple of beanies, strapped the baby to our backs and set off in search of enlightenment in the forest. The map said that the total walk should only be about an hour long, but it's us, so...ya know....maybe more...

It was OK. I mean, I wasn't feeling particularly enlightened or anything. I did enjoy being outside, but truth be told, I kinda missed the ice-cream and the random rope courses that would appear in Austria. The trees were beautiful, and the rocks big. And then, the baby had had enough. I guess he's not a hiker either. For some strange reason our family hikes looked nothing like what I had viewed on Instagram of other families around the world. Shocking right? Did their babies cry for over half of the way? Did their kids moan about footwear or moan about being bored? Ah, the sad realities of reality as opposed to media fantasy!

Once we hit the castle area we all perked up a bit. Things were starting to get interesting. In fact, yes, as we walked towards the Medieval Keep it looked just like an ancient castle straight out of Lord of the Rings! We all had fun pretending we could see trolls and making up stories as we climbed the rocky stone steps. Chojnik Castle dates back to the late 13th Century and the grounds are wonderful to explore!