June 26, 2017

Family Hiking Tips! Written by Suzi Smart

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Family Hiking Tips! Written by Suzi Smart

Hiking as a family is a great way to enjoy an active lifestyle, explore the natural environment and reconnect with each other. Young or old, winter or summer, hiking can be enjoyed around the world. Preparing for success on the trail helps ensure that everyone enjoys themselves to the fullest.

Here are Five Tips for Hiking with Kids:

Pick suitable trails. Make sure the distance, terrain and elevation gain is achievable for your little hiker – it’s better to do a slightly easier hike than one that makes the experience unhappy. Choose trails that are interesting – while adults can often be lured down the trail by the destination, for children it’s all about the journey. Choose trails with changing scenery and lots of things to see and do.

Slow the pace. Let the youngest hiker set the pace, family hiking is about enjoying time together as a family not about getting a workout. Make sure there’s time built in for exploring along the trail, climbing the boulders and tossing stones into the stream. Bring a field guide and learn about the animals and plants along the way.

Go with friends. Whether you go with one other family or an entire group, your child will enjoy running along the trail with a friend or two. In addition, with the relaxed pace, it’s a great time to chat and connect with friends or make new ones.

Pick your time. Pick a high energy time for your child, making sure that there’s enough time to complete the hike before any usual nap or quiet time. Some trails may require a little more consideration – some are brutal in the midday, summer sun while a waterfall on another may catch the morning sun.

Pack snacks and water. Pack some favourite snacks or a picnic and stop for a break along the way. It’s particularly important to make sure that everyone stays hydrated along the trail – ensure that you pack enough water for everyone.

In the end, the goal is to have fun, enjoy the experience and create a love of hiking that will last a lifetime. If something’s not working, reassess the situation and try a new approach. There’s nothing better than hearing “let’s go hiking up a mountain” in response to asking your child what they want to do. Happy trails.

Advisory: Always remember there are inherent risks when hiking, always use caution and assess trails and conditions carefully.

This article is written by Suzi Smart. Suzi is a stay-at-home mom raising a spirited three-year old boy, a wife, an outdoor enthusiast, graphic designer, writer and photographer. She writes The Big Picture – Inspiring families to find happiness outdoors and can be reached at TheBigPictureCalgary@gmail.com or @BigPictureYYC on Twitter.

 

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