Yet another benefit of hiking: observing cool nature stuff and relating it to important life stuff. My kids and I recently encountered a bunch of bones in the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area in Suisun City, which led to interesting discussion threads about how the bones got there, the food chain, the circle of life, birth control methods (my kids ask such probing questions!), and death. Instead of having to figure out how to have those difficult but crucial parent-child conversations, nature did the work for me, bringing up important topics organically. And because we talked as we hiked, there were no awkward moments of insecure eye contact, and the periods of silence just melted into the activity. High five for hiking as a parenting tool!