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.
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.
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 (http://amzn.to/1SHjJMH) over the Solostove (http://amzn.to/1SHjp0x). 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.