“To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams
HELLO THERE! My name is Rebekah. My family and I love exploring the Appalachian Mountains any chance we get. We live in Johnson City which is in the northeastern tip of Tennessee. Growing up, I wanted more than anything to move far away from this area. Due to various circumstances that I am now grateful for, I ended up staying after grad school. It took me years to realize the beauty that surrounds us here and now the mountains bring me peace. I not only want to share that beauty with my children but with anyone else interested in exploring the mountains we call home.
Darrell and I have been hiking in this area together for almost 18 years. We began hiking with the boys when they were babies. They are now 9, 8, and 6 years old. We are certainly not “hiking/outdoor” experts, rather just have a love of being outside and sharing that love with others around us.
One thing that always made me hesitant to get out on the trails with the boys in the early years was a lack of information on navigating local trails with kids in tow. The information you might want before going out on a new trail can look vastly different depending on the ages of your kids, their hiking abilities, and your experience/abilities as a hiker. I try to look at each hike we take with a critical eye…would I do this with a baby? Multiple kids under 5? By myself with the boys? I take pictures of spots on the trail that I wouldn’t want to be surprised by when I’m hauling lots of little ones.
I hope that this blog helps to serve as a resource to help you decide which trails might be right for you and your family. Remember, this is just my perspective- you know your kids and your comfort level best!
Meet the family…
I’m Rebekah and the trail name given to me by the boys is “Squat Queen.” I’ll let you guess why! I work part-time as a Physical Therapist at a local hospital and also have a small Etsy shop. Darrell and I homeschool our boys together. You can find out more about that by following me on Instagram: @appy.explorers
This is my husband of 11 years, Darrell. He is an artist, graphic designer, and works in digital media. Having a tech-savvy husband is quite handy as he designed this site for me and takes care of the entire technical side of the blog. He homeschools our boys most days of the week. We operate 100% as a team around here. I often refer to him as, “D,” in posts. He is my #1 biggest supporter in all my endeavors and I am so grateful for him!
Our oldest son is an imaginative deep thinker who is always coming up with creative ways to solve dilemmas. He reminded us recently that he is “almost a teenager” which made us laugh, but also makes my heart ache that his carefree childhood days are flying by us. He has been showing a lot more leadership on the trails this year and helps his younger brothers through the tough spots. He loves trains, robots, math, riding bikes, and Minecraft!
Our middle son is an empath and sensitive soul like his mama. He has so much kindness to give this world and a smile that will light up any room. He is very observant of small details along the trail and passionate about keeping nature litter-free. If a hike has water, he is a happy boy! His heart is made for adventure and he becomes more daring with every trail. He loves the Incredible Hulk, reading, bikes, and anything green!
Our youngest son is 100% Mr. Independent. When he wants to accomplish something, he has the utmost focus. His heart is full of so much love to give and he is a helper by nature. When we are on the trails, we better have snacks ready to go for this one! His brothers say that he is the funniest kid they know, he keeps them laughing all the time. He loves helping me in the kitchen, climbing on everything, drawing, and Spider-Man!
We don’t often show pictures of their faces on the blog or my public social media for privacy, but these three pictures were approved by each one of them! We are so proud of all 3 and cherish the time we spend together on the trails.
Our four-legged family members
Our old faithful gal, Lilli. She has been hiking with us for 14 years but is only able to join us on the short treks these days. She takes her job of protecting the boys very seriously…especially if a vacuum cleaner comes near!
Ace the bat hound! We mostly call him, “Ace.” He is just over a year old and FULL OF ENERGY! If we pass you on the trail and you have a dog, he is very friendly and loves to sniff. The boys consider him another brother.
Our two kitties never grace the trail but we love them so we will include their pics for your viewing pleasure….
Jazzie Belle, our sweet 15 year old cat who rarely leaves our bedroom
Kirby, our 10 year old lazy stinker who rarely leaves our front porch.