By Emily Sears | July 23, 2014
We have spent quite a bit of time talking about the trail system and the benefits to the equine community. But the Brownsboro Alliance Trail Association is not just for horse enthusiasts – hikers are welcome and encouraged to use the trail, too! This week, I set out on the trail with BA Board Member Debbie Stevens as my guide.
In tow were my three children, ages 5, 3, and 13 months. We are very active as a family, often working and playing together on our farm, so I was excited to see if the Brownsboro trails would also be something we could do together, or if it would be a place to invite other families to hike with us. With Kentucky’s childhood obesity rate of nearly 20% and rising, BATA serves the local community to get our kids moving and engaged in the outdoors.
As we entered the woods, the kids were immediately captivated by a large raccoon welcoming us to the path. Later my 5 year old recounted, “I saw a raccoon – I just think it was a wild animal; I don’t think it was anybody’s pet.” I was concerned that my more tenderhearted 3 year old would be too scared to continue, but she was just as intrigued as the rest of us. We had just begun, and there was much more to see!
Over the course of our hike, the kids also discovered two frogs and a big caterpillar. “Mrs. Stevens held the frog in her hand!” my 3 year old later told her father. The five year old interjected, “It jumped right out of her hand and jumped on me!”
I had the baby on my back, who was delightfully content to quietly take in his surroundings. The older two were remarkably capable to take on the path with minimal help from the adults. One of our fellow hikers had brought along hiking sticks, which increased the kids confidence.
“A hiking stick helps you get up hills without tripping,” the 5 year old explained. “Or if you’re going down a hill that’s really steep and you’re going down really fast and you need to stop, you can just PUSH it down and it will stop you.” But much of the path was very easily passable, with very few sections too steep or narrow for our group to walk through.
I have hiked many trails with my father, a scoutmaster in Virginia. Now that I have a family of my own, we like to meet up in West Virginia for three-generation hikes through the mountains. The trails in Brownsboro are somewhat different than West Virginia hiking, as the mountainous trails tend to be very dominantly uphill one way, downhill on the other. Our local trails are much more varied, with a forgiving mix of uphill and downhill terrain throughout.
Novices and experienced hikers will both enjoy the trail, with the option to walk varied distances and experience the beauty of nature in just a short hike and longer, all-day event. As with any trail, it is important to watch your step, as my 5 year old discovered. “The whole thing was like a secret path. There were paths that made it easy to walk. I fell down a couple of times but I was tough.”
We encourage families to join the BATA and experience all that nature has to offer together. Family memberships are available for $250 (up to 4 riding tags) or $125 (non-riding membership). Download the BATA Membership Application Packet today and mail to P.O. Box 516, Crestwood, KY 40014. Memberships are effective at the time of trail opening.
The kids’ overall impression was really positive. “Pretty cool!” the 5 year old said. And the 3 year old said, “It was creepy because there were animals,” but she took it in stride. We turned back after about 45 minutes of hiking, which put us back at the car just as the kids were getting tired.
My 5 year old hopes to come back soon. “Can we go to the trail again?!”