Hana’s First Experience in Nature

My first experience in nature that I could vividly remember took place when I was 9 years old in a small village in Ethiopia. My family and I were on our way to meet some of our relatives who lived along the countryside.

Our journey started off with a 6-hour drive from the capital, Addis Ababa, to a village. We drove until we reached a point where cars were no longer permitted. The only way to reach this village was by going through a long hike. At the time I didn’t really understand what hiking was. All I knew was that I had a long walk ahead of me. Through what I saw in books and movies I thought of hiking as a walk through the woods surrounded by trees and the occasional deer. This was the complete opposite in my case. Instead the paths were filled with mud and dust. There were no clearly defined trails or little doggie trash cans that you would typically stumbleupon. Just dirt paths and tons of steep hills. Although this doesn’t sound like your typical hike it was just as rewarding.

Once my family and I reached the top of the village, we stared down at a beautiful town filled with huts, green plants, and many trees. I remember standing at the top of that hill watching children run around as I listened to the sounds of laughter. That hike taught me to appreciate the many different trails that nature has provided for us and it defined a moment where I was able to enjoy and acknowledge the presence of nature.

By Hana – National Park Service Intern

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