How going on a hike is like visiting a galaxy far, far away

Daniel and sons

Another “Dad’s Point of View” guest column by Daniel, Creative Services Group Manager, KinderCare. This time, Daniel and family turn a nature walk into not only a learning moment, but an homage to Star Wars.

During the summer, our family likes to get outside and go on short hikes. There is an urban forest called Tryon Creek right outside of Portland, Oregon filled with tall trees, creeks and lush foliage.  Tryon Creek has 8 miles of hiking trails, 3.5 miles of horseback trails and a 3-mile paved bicycle trail.

We go hiking mainly for the exercise but also to give our boys (Diggy and Dash) a healthy dose of nature.  Diggy, who is my oldest, seems to turn every outing into a scene from Star Wars.  He usually wears black when he wants to be Darth Vader.  My youngest son Dash is just about the same height as Yoda so that’s who he is by default until he is old enough to choose a Star Wars character for himself.  I am Obi-Wan Kenobi because he is the oldest person in the movie (not sure how I feel about that) and my wife is Princess Leia.

Yes, there's really an Obie's bridge.

Yes, there’s really an Obie’s bridge.

The forest backdrop makes for a perfect Jedi training ground.  Diggy enjoys jumping off logs, hiding from the enemy behind mounds of ferns and using every stick he finds as a new light saber.  Dash enjoys watching Diggy run around and repeating every battle sound Diggy makes.  Sometimes my wife and I play along and create scenarios where we are the Rebel Alliance battling the Separatists in the Clone Wars (Star Wars geek alert).  We have epic battles through the woods, over bridges and around the creeks and whatever side we are on is victorious; whether we are the good guys or the bad guys.

We make small revisions to the battle so we don’t damage the forest.  For instance, our blasters shoot out cold lasers because we wouldn’t want to start a fire in the forest.  All of the space ships have to fly and battle over the tallest tree so we don’t knock any over.  The horses that also sometimes walk on the trails leave mounds that double as land mines or traps.  And we only use the force to make flowers grow super tall so we can hide behind them.

Diggy and his found-object "light saber."

Diggy and his found-object “light saber.”

It makes for a lot of fun and my boys really get into it.  We walk around for about an hour but it seems to go by fast, because even though we make sure we stay on the trail there is always a new adventure around every corner.

And every so often there are subtle signs that make us believe that maybe, just maybe, the galaxy is not really that far away.

Scenic Tryon Creek.

Scenic Tryon Creek.


  1. Denise Reed

    What a great adventure! Adventures can be found in the least expected places and challenges our children to critically think about the world that will someday be theirs to take care of.

  2. Marguerite Griffin

    This is fabulous! I like how my favorite nephews are featured so prominently.

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