Thursday, January 16, 2014

hiking with kids 101

Our last big hike was in the upstate recently over the Christmas break. It was an uphill climb to a beautiful waterfall and it was a gorgeous, crisp, clear day with just one major problem; I couldn't keep up and practically flat-lined by the time we reached the bottom 5 hours later. Our fearless leader, my husband, is 50 but don't let that number fool you - he is fighting fit and bounced up and down the mountain like a rabbit with our tots in close company. Hence the need for me to work on my strength training this new year! At 10 years old our twins are already experienced hikers thanks to this family project The Walking Project. It all started when they were about 2 years old - long walks were a way to wear the little fellas out!

As you can see, it would take a quite a long time to reach our destination ( for example,"let's go from here to the bridge", or "to the park, round the lake, and home") but the idea was instilled early on that they could get anywhere on their own two feet and walking was fun and interesting. Fast forward 8 years and their eyes are already on the next big trek to the top of Table Rock (pictured in the background below) 

We now encouraged them to carry a light weight pack with "necessary" items which, for one of our boys, always includes a little friend...

Here are some tips for getting started at any age:

  • 10 great suggestions here. I like #6 about rotating your leader.
  • Tips on what to pack here. We love wool socks to keep your feet comfy and dry.
  • Love this article from the Hiking Dude blog about food to pack for a day hike and the explanation of calories burned. Even on short hikes or walks, it's nice for children to have a little surprise to keep their spirits lifted like favorite nuts, trail mix with a few M&Ms thrown in, or something new to try for the first time.
Good luck and happy hiking! Have a favorite hike to recommend? Email me @


  1. I don't know how my parents were able to put up with their brood of 4 but my siblings and I were a crazy bunch. As a parent myself, I take my toddler with me while camping and it's a good thing she is getting the hang of it and thriving pretty well. One of the things I learned from my parents is the value of layering clothes, excellent gear to make the whole family safe and of course, good food to keep the spirits up. Check out the suggestions on this site to find out more: