Hiking with your children can be an exciting bonding experience. You get to enjoy the fresh air, experience nature, and get some exercise. However, keep in mind that this trip also requires some planning. To find a great trail near you, visit www.localhikes.com.
1. Don’t go too far, take it slow, enjoy the journey.
2. Explore, play, have fun —how far and where you go are secondary.
3. Sometimes it is the little things that can mess up a trip, so be sure everyone puts on sunscreen and reapplies it on a regular basis. Then keep children fed and hydrated.
4. Keep talking or play games while hiking to distract children from their potential misery.
5. Bring cards and a good lightweight paperback for a rainy day in the tent.
6. Quit the lesson while it is still fun.
7. Take a layover day at a nice lake.
8. Bring a friend. Our children love you but might have more fun with a friend.
9. Learn enough about backpacking and hiking to feel comfortable in the woods.
10. Don’t be discouraged after a tough sleepless night or when you cannot get things to work. Focus on joy.
11. Love the ones you are with, or at least learn from them. Watch experienced backpackers—copy them, as ideas are free.
12. Always leave an itinerary with a responsible party, and follow it.
13. Go on the Internet and find a star/satellite chart for the area you are visiting.
14. Be a parent, not a wimp. Be positive and supportive of your child. Deal with the situation and move on. Kids look to you for strength and fortitude, so fake it.
15. Tell bad puns and scary stories.
16. Understand that dirt is o.k. and it is part of the fun.
17. Do your part to protect the areas you backpack in.
18. When you put your bear canister away for the night, make sure to put it a good distance from your tent.
19. If you venture into high-altitude terrain and you live at low elevation, try to spend a day or two acclimating to the altitude before starting you trip. Take it easy the first day.
20. Laugh, giggle, guffaw, whoop, titter, and chuckle as much as possible.