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How to Plan a Hike With Your Tyke

 

Research shows that spending time in nature is good for the body and mind and what better way to get into nature than with a hike.

Let’s start off by talking about what a hike is. I know when I mention hiking to my non-outdoorsy friends they think I am going to be scaling a mountain or hiking for an eternity.

Definition of hiking courtesy of Wikipedia:

Hiking is an outdoor activity, which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking have been confirmed in studies. Some of the health benefits of hiking include, but are not limited to, losing excess weight, decreasing hypertension, and improving mental health. The word hiking is understood in all English-speaking countries, but there are differences in usage.

There is nothing in the definition about how difficult the hike must be to be considered hiking nor is there any mention of duration or length of the hike that defines it as hiking.

So with that said, don’t let the word hike intimidate you. Think of it as a nature walk or hitting a well-maintained dirt path in nature for exploration, solitude and enjoyment.

Makes it sound much easier, right?

 

Now that hiking isn’t intimidating and you want to take your tyke on a hike, here’s how you go about planning your adventure.

1. Choose a trail close to home. This way if you have to bail for whatever reason the trip home won’t be so long and your tyke won’t lose interest on such a long car ride to the trailhead.

2. Make sure the distance and difficulty of the hike is appropriate for your fitness level. A hike can seem much longer than anticipated, especially, if you are carrying your tyke for the first time…even for the 20th time.

3. Check the weather. If any foul weather is predicted choose a different day. You want the first hike with your tyke to be enjoyable with clear blue skies. No need to fuss with extra gear and clothing for your first experience.

4. Decide how you are going to bring your tyke along. Are they going to walk on their own or are you going to carry them? If they are under 6 months old, use a front carrier, sling or wrap. Backpack carriers are recommended for 6 months and older. There are numerous carriers, slings and wraps on the market. My favorites I used when I carried J-Man in the front were Belle Baby Carrier and Ergo. There are some great new options now, too. Just like front carriers there are many backpack carriers to choose from. I love our Deuter Kid Comfort III, but make sure the backpack carrier you choose fits your body and is comfortable. Having an ill-fitting carrier will make for an uncomfortable hike. If your tyke is walking on their own make sure they are wearing comfortable and supportive hiking shoes that have good traction. This will allow them to run, skip, jump and climb to their hearts desire. Also, make sure you are wearing comfortable supportive shoes with good traction. You don’t want to go slipping and sliding while carrying your tyke.

5. ALWAYS bring water and an extra bottle, just in case. Your thirst might increase as you move along the trail and if the weather is warm you will get thirsty more often. Always bring snacks, too. Tykes are known for constantly being hungry and guaranteed they will want a snack on the trail. Not just one snack, either. They will want NUMEROUS!

6. Make sure you and your tyke wear comfortable clothing. Clothes that hinder movement, don’t breath properly and are not appropriate for the weather can make your time on the trail uncomfortable. Wool or synthetic socks will help keep you from getting blisters.

7. Bring a First-Aid Kit. You just never know when it might come in handy. Wondering what you should have in your first-aid-kit? Here’s what I put in mine.

8. DON’T FORGET your sense of humor. Your first hike may not go as planned or it may go better than planned. Whatever the case may be, laugh about the mishaps, learn from them and move on. Enjoy the time out in nature with your tyke and remember you are making lasting memories.

9. Have fun!

10. Have FUN!!

 

 

 

So, are you going to head out for a hike, maybe this weekend? Have you yet to hike with your tyke, why not? If you have, how old was your tyke when you first hiked with them?

 

 

Comments

  1. I was looking through old photographs this weekend in hopes of putting a really nice family book together for the grandparents Christmas present… and I realized why I haven’t done it up to now. We’re always seem to be out hiking. Front carrier, backpack, piggyback help, without help. Winter, summer, short trails, long trails. There are photographs of DS from 2 weeks old to today. We’ve learned lots of lessons, had loads of fun as a family. I think there’s only one thing that I’d add to your list of things to consider. Timing – hiking at a high energy, happy time for your child is important. The timing also changes as naptime/quiet time changes so you have to adapt as their needs change. While many tykes will nap in their carriers, others won’t so keep that in mind – a tired, whiny child can make a hike miserable for everyone. Go for a hike, any hike – it’s the sweetest thing when you ask your child what they want to do and they answer “hike up a mountain”.

  2. The first time we attempted to use the backpack carrier outside of the house, it was already Weil into the heat of AZ summer. I was out of the habit, so our of shape, and it only took a quarter mile of treading up the slick rocky mountainside dirt trail before my legs began to feel the burn. I thought I may need ry turn around, when little G started to open up in expressing his pleasure at the “big poo-dog” (volcanic rocks he thought looked like dog poop in giant size) and turning his guy was towards what ‘ll ittle breeze could be detected (“Weend. Weend.”) The motivation that got me to complete the trail though, came just as I was about to quit for good.
    He called my attention, “Dada?”
    I heaved out an answer, “Yes, Gabe?”
    “Whee, this. Whee, this, Dada.”

  3. Edit: ” I thought I may need to turn around, when little G started to open up in expressing his pleasure at the “big poo-dog” (volcanic rrocks he thought looked like dog poop in giant size) and turning his face towards what little breeze could be detected (“Weend. Weend.”)

    Thanks.

  4. Beautiful! I don’t remember exactly the first time we hiked with our little one, but I think he was either before he turned one or he was one year old. We used to vacation to Colorado every summer and we went camping, then hiked the next day. My husband carried our boy on his shoulders all the way up and down the trail. We never had any proper gear just comfortable clothes and shoes and we were okay. Now that we are in Wyoming, we will have to start investing on some proper hiking gear and camping gear. We sure enjoy these activities. We also went to South Dakota two years ago and our boy was about three years old and I was about close to six months pregnant and we hike the trail to the Harney Peak along with some of my husband’s relatives. It sure was fun and an accomplishment for a pregnant one like me. In my mind there were lots of things that went on, like worried that I could get hurt somehow and risk my pregnancy, or give birth in no time and they have to air-vac me, and all those scary thoughts. hahahaha… It went well though and we made it safe and sound. It is always nice to be in touch with mother-nature. It makes you appreciate more how beautiful mother-nature is. 🙂

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