Kids and the Trail - Part 1.


Hiking solo can be a very rewarding experience, especially when you just need that reset that nature provides.  I bet that probably well over half of my hikes are solo, and for good reason.

Over the past 2 years I have slowly begun getting the kids involved. There have been many ups and downs and this has been a great learning experience for me.  But in the end, I have found that there is nothing more rewarding than hiking with what might be the best hiking partners anyone can ask for.  


2014 12 30 16.21

Three of my favorite hiking partners. A(7), K(8), and O(12) - 12/30/2014.  McCarthy Hill Lean-To, McCarthy Hill State Forest. (FLTC Loop Trail Map "PMHL").



I wanted to share what I think are the two most important tips that I have learned along the way to help keep it fun for the kids.

Tip 1.     Don't try to push them too hard.

          This one is a doozie, and it applies to anyone you take with you, but it especially applies to the kids.  While a 10 or 12 mile loop may be an easy day hike for you.  It may definitely not be so easy for the kids.  You have to make sure to make trips that are within their range.  Don't get me wrong, you most definitely will be able to work your way up to the longer hikes, but you do not want your little partners to be wishing this hike is over instead of when you will be going on the next one.


Tip 2.     They need more to do than just hike.

          While you may enjoy the views and the sounds of nature, and that might be enough reason for you to get out there, this will not be the case for the kids.  To them, it could be the same as merely walking.  They need other things to do as well.  Some of my favorite things to do with them that always seems to keep them interested are taking big snack or meal breaks, and hands-on type of teaching and exploring.  Another great thing for the kids to do is to be in charge of the camera.


2014 12 30 16.52

Dinner break after a short hike 12/30/2014.  McCarthy Hill Lean-To, McCarthy Hill State Forest. (FLTC Loop Trail Map "PMHL").  



In the above picture, we are cooking dinner after a short hike into the shelter.  This meal is simply boiling water with a brick of Ramen in the Olicamp XTS Pot ( over the Solostove (  I had the kids help pick up the twigs for the fire, and each one helped with the cooking process the best they could.  You can see that K. is already enjoying her Ramen, A. is warming his hands over the fire, and O looks to be posing for the camera.  I think stopping for a meal is one of the kids favorite things that we do together while hiking.


Another to do for the kids that we are going to try in an upcoming hike is Geocaching.  I haven't gone geocaching in years, and one of the kids came home from school the other day asking if we could go.


Thanks for reading and as always I would love to read your comments below.




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What a great weekend hike!!!

abbott loop3 10 2015

Well, My camera screwed up, so the only pics I have are the couple I took with my cell phone. But anyways after fighting with these feet of mine, I decided to just get out for a quick loop overnight. So I put new insoles (green superfeet ) in my virtually new hiking shoes, grabbed my pack, and hoped for the best.

Parked the van around 3 or 4 pm on Friday afternoon where the FLT crosses the road near Diane's Crossings (GPS coordinates N42 19.036 W76 28.658), and hiked the Abbott Loop trail up to "The Pinnacles". I made camp a few hundred yards off the trail near "The Pinnacles". Camp was a Jacks R Better tarp, ENO doublenest hammock, with a AHE New River underquilt, an el-cheapo 45° super thin mummy bag, and a Snugpack Jungle Blanket. This kept me fairly warm up until the wind blew my tarp tie outs up and out of the ground. I woke up from the sound of the tarp thrashing in the wind.  I noticed that there were some intermittent flurries. My guess is, that it was probably around 31 to 32°F.  I was a little cold, and my feet were numb. After getting up to re stake everything I never did get completely warmed back up.

After I broke camp in the morning, I made my way back over to "The Pinnacles" to fire up the solostove, and cook breakfast. As the fire was going a trail runner and her dog buzzed by. Breakfast was a Mountain House scrambled eggs and bacon. I unsuccessfully used what heat was left in the solostove to try and get the blood flowing back into my toes again.

After breakfast I just relaxed and enjoyed the fresh air and wilderness for a while while the solostove cooled down. This is the downside of using a wood stove. Normally at least as far as I am concerned this is a good thing, but in this case I really wish that I had brought a canister stove.

An hour or so passed, and I re-packed and hit the trail. After a short distance I passed a bunch of hikers and their dogs on the way down the hill probably 3/4 of a mile from The Pinnacles. It was a hiking group, and it looked to be mostly older folks. Just a few miles in, and I started to regain the feeling in my feet, ahh the tingles.

Several more miles up the trail the orange blazes seemed to be non existent or very hard to spot due to blending in to the surrounding foliage. I found myself coming out on the road and the trail didn't seem to cross the road as shown on the map. So I went up the road a couple tenths of a mile, and then back to find where the trail actually crossed the road. (You can see this little detour in the GPS path). Ironically enough, it crossed maybe 20 yards or so from where I came out. Continuing on this next little segment it appeared that someone had recently re-blazed the trail and it was much better!!!  A mile or so on, I passed a couple of backpackers and warned them of the disappearing blazes after the road crossing. I stopped at the intersection where the Abbott Loop trail meets the FLT, and read the note regarding the red pines, very interesting! I then continued on down the FLT. I passed a group of four backpackers along the way, and a couple more day hikers before getting back to the trail head and my Van. It was a very popular trail on Saturday morning. Just a few minutes after I was driving back home it started to rain.

Well, No doubt... it was a much needed release. The pain in the feet after was definitely worth it.

Here is the GPS path overlaid onto a google map.

abbott loop4 10 2015


 Here are a couple of shots of the awesome view at the "Pinnacles".

abbott loop1 10 2015


abbott loop2 10 2015


This is one of my favorite trails that is fairly close to home.  So stay tuned for future trip reports where I bring the family along.  Hopefully the camera will be more coaperative next time.

As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comment box below.

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