Why you want to know Erin and Jason Pohlmeier: Before becoming the principal of St. Joseph School in Fayetteville in 2014, Jason served as principal at St. Edward School in Little Rock for five years. Erin is a stay-at-home mom.
The couple is also the state chairmen for the Arkansas chapter of the Couple to Couple League, the nation’s largest provider of information and training for natural family planning. But more recently, they took on another job: blogging.
Erin and Jason started the blog “Always on the Way” in December 2015 with a goal of hiking 100 miles with their children in 2016. Their blog documents the family’s 28 hikes around the state since beginning their adventure.
Parish: St. Joseph Church
Age: Both 34
Family: Erin and Jason have been married for 11 years and they have five children: Isaac, 10, Clare, 8, Dominic, 6, Vincent, 4 and Damien, who is a one-year-old. They are expecting another baby in 2017. Jason is the brother of Father Erik Pohlmeier.
What made you choose hiking to blog about?
Jason: First, we see hiking as a lifelong activity. We also believe that if we get our kids started hiking young, they will never give it up. Finally, we believe that we are always on the way to heaven.
If we are still on this earth, we still have steps left in our journey. Hiking is a great metaphor for the quest for paradise. God has set his beautiful world before us. We are journeying through it without knowing exactly what is ahead but trusting that we will be able find our way and return to our home.
At the beginning, we blogged for ourselves to document the adventure, but when we started posting pictures on Facebook that generated comments and interest, we decided to keep it going. Two other families, for example, were motivated by our blog and started their own outdoor goals. Documenting the experience helped us remember and preserve the memory for our children.
What was one of your most memorable hikes of the year?
Jason: Our favorite place was the Indian Rock House Trail at Buffalo Point near Yellville. It was interesting because it was one of our favorite trails and there were lots of interesting things to see along the way and the cave at the end provided lots of places for the children to explore. Our longest trail was Hemmed in Hollow at 7.71 miles, but the most meaningful hike was the last one.
Erin: My favorite moments were when the door to nature and the world around them opened up and we were given those lessons in nature to connect them to their faith. We talked about creation, life and death because as we walked through the woods we found it easier to lead into some of these theological subjects. I encourage families to set goals like this and to just make time in this busy world to spend time together.
Jason: In November, we completed our goal by making the last hike, a five-plus mile trek from our home to our home parish, St. Joseph, where we ended the journey in the adoration chapel.
So nature makes you feel closer to God?
Jason: Being in creation is always something beautiful and being outdoors, according to different studies, helps you have a more positive outlook and is good for your brain. Hiking is an activity we can all do together as a family, it is free and we get to connect with the kids.
What’s next since you completed the goal?
Jason: The next big adventure is baby number six. We will continue hiking as a family after the baby is born and have some ideas for our next goal, but we have not decided exactly what it will be yet.
Follow the Pohlmeiers at onthewaynwablogspot.com.
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