Hiking with Kids

One of my favorite things to do is to take my kiddos on a hike.  Usually when I mention it, they all kind of grumble, but once we get out there, they are in heaven.  They love running up and down the trail and usually log about twice as many miles as I do.  We turn over logs and check out bugs, we find springs and dam them up to see how the run off adapts (and then take it apart), they skip rocks if we are near water and we always have our eyes peeled for wildlife or at least signs of animals (poop).

We started hiking with Sam when he was just a few weeks old.  It really is so calming to me. I love the wind through the trees, the birds chirping and the lack of civilization all together.

Now, hiking with four kids does not always equal calm but we do our best to get away and just enjoy nature.  HEY MOM!!!!!  CHECK OUT THIS ANIMAL LEG BONE……SOMETHING BIG MUST HAVE GNAWED ON IT!!!!!  

Through the years, as our kiddos have progressed from the baby front pack to the back pack to walking alone, we have definitely learned some valuable lessons when it comes to hiking.  We have had some serious fails and a whole lot of wins so we are learning what works.

Always take lots of water.  Up here in the Colorado mountains, we lack oxygen and moisture.  You can get dehydrated very quickly.  All of our kids have hydration packs (backpack with water reservoir).  The packs are also super awesome for hauling all their gear and then you don’t have to carry it.  Super rad.

Always take lots of snacks.  Even if you just ate a seven course meal, your kids will claim to be famished about 1/4 mile into any hike.  Trust me, I have learned this the hard way.  And they don’t forget that they are hungry.  Nope. Never.

Along with snacks, never ever EVER overlook a meal.  If you are hiking over the lunch hour, bring sandwiches.  Just sayin’.  Been there, done that. Won’t do it again.

Everyone must wear a hat with a brim.  Hats are not only important to keep the sun off your noggin but also are great when a rain cloud opens up.  When that happens it doesn’t usually come with some sprinkles.  Think cold soaking rain for about 10 minutes.  Every afternoon up here.  It only takes getting caught once and then you remember the gear.

Layers.  Layers. Layers.  Whenever you see pictures of my kids hiking they usually have a sweatshirt or coat on or tied around their waist.  Depending on the time of day and length of your hike, take packable rain coats.

Reasonable hiking shoes.  Our kids usually wear their running shoes or hiking boots.  Be prepared for mud.  Kids are mud magnets.  They will find it, trust me.  We have embraced the mud but if you aren’t prepared for it, wet feet can ruin any hike. In our greener years, we may have been persuaded into letting our kids hike in other footwear (flip-flops, chucks, clogs, sandals, crocs, etc.).  Don’t let them wear you down.  I can guarantee one thing; it will end with a child on your back.

Try to make your jaunt in the woods a destination hike.  We mostly hike to lakes or waterfalls or at least places that will thrill our kids.  We want them to go again.

I could strap on my camera and head out into the woods for hours.  I am never in a hurry to head back to the car.  My kids don’t always feel that way and neither do their little legs:)  Remember to keep track of the length especially if you are hiking out and back.  My kids are super-duper hikers but it took awhile for them to build up to a few miles.  If you are just starting out, try to keep it fun and just go for a mile or so.

Well, the grandmas and papas have probably scrolled down to the pictures by now:) so I will stop rambling and give you the visual of our most recent hike.  We love our hikes to Lilypad Lake so this past weekend we tried a new way in.  We all loved the change of scenery, so to speak, with the same destination.

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Beginning our hike through a decimated pine beetle kill forest but a beautiful view of Buffalo  Mountain. Daddy showed us the route he took skiing.  Crazy daddy.

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A gorgeous view of Lake Dillon.

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Hat, sweatshirt, hiking shoes, snack.  She is prepared:)

DSC_2751Jesse gets to hike too!

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Daddy and kids checking out a spring just off the trail.  Soon to be a dammed up spring:)

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Sam taking time for another well deserved snack!

I hope you are all loving this warm spring weather (finally!!!!) and getting outside.  We are super excited to be able to hike and bike and camp and……well, you get the picture.

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

 

 

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