It’s spring. Early spring, but Spring just the same. (I live in Northern, WI so spring is half way frozen lakes, 30 degree days, and an occasional flurry of snow from time to time.) It’s the time of year where you look out your window and the sun is shining, the grass is fully showing, and you still need boots and a parka.
I love it, and I hate it. I love it because summertime adventures await, but it’s sad because it’ll be months before the wintertime adventures begin again. Bittersweet maybe? Maybe I’m just feeling bipolar like this weather? Who knows. Either way, I am pretty pumped about this summer. My kiddos are 7 and 10 now, and I am going to introduce them to hiking. And I am not talking about a quaint stroll through a local park, I am taking about seriously huffing it down some intense trails. I’ll start small, I’m not a monster, but by the end of summer, I will have them ready to do the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) with me. Just kidding. But the Superior trail with them is on my bucket list someday, and it is about 310 miles.
Anyways, if any of you have ever walked anywhere with your child for more than 5 minutes, you know it can be hell. My biggest fear with smallerish children these days is not having a sitter and having to brave hiking the grocery store with two children that want everything from candy to the uncooked lobsters to keep as a pet. It’s rough. I get it.
So when you venture out for a long day of hiking with your kiddos the first thing you need to pack is….your patience. You may enjoy endless walking into the silent and peaceful miles of nothing, but that will get boring for your child after about 5 minutes. Also, bring them things to do. I don’t mean iPads and gaming devices either, I mean stuff to help them really just focus on being in nature. Stuff to help them soak it all in. Pack them a camera. Make a list of things they need to find. Make it a scavenger hunt. Make it a fun challenge so that they actually WANT to be outside. It seems like so many kiddos these days have no desire to play outside anymore. When I was young back before there was technology, I would spend hours and days outside using my imagination. Help your kids find their imagination again. Bring extra socks. Actually, I’ll just make a little list of things you should pack in your pack for them. (I would seriously recommend you carrying a big pack with their stuff, and not packing them each anything but a light little pack, or you’ll end up carrying three bags 30 minutes in.)
– Extra clothes. This is a must. Socks and underwear for sure. Wet feet are no fun, and neither is a wet tush if an accident happens. And I gauruntee an accident will happen. A little FirstAid kit, biodegradable wipes, lunch/snacks (keep it simple, make some high protein snack wraps, beef jerkey, nuts, whole fruit, etc.) Water.
Actually this is ridiculous making a list. Make sure your kid doesn’t get sunburnt or dehydrated, and bring something to stop the bleeding if they face plant into the dirt. This also WILL happen. It’ll be a test of your patience and stressful at times, and you may want to launch your child over a tiny little cliff after a mile, but do it anyways. The important thing is that you at least try. Get outside and teach your kids to do the same. Enjoy each other. Have adventures. Make memories. Keep them active. Chase butterflies, and search for waterfalls. Take pictures. It’s a beautiful world out there folks, get out there and take advantage of it! Teach your kiddos how to really appreciate what our great world has to offer. I promise you that all the hard work will be worth it, AND the super easy bedtime to follow. Adventure awaits you!