Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Five Tips For Hiking With Kids

Gary and I really enjoy hiking–we even did the West Coast Trail, with a bunch of friends, on our honeymoon! Now that we have three kids, we want to foster that love for the outdoors in them as well. Besides, if we want to get any hiking in, we usually take them with us because babysitters are so expensive.

{McKee Peak: Abbotsford, B.C.}

We love to explore our vast province of B.C. on day hikes–there are so many incredibly beautiful options.

In order to keep hiking fun, here are my five tips for hiking with kids:


1.  Let them see the map and know the plan. My kids love to know the distances and therefore sign posts and markers along the way help them to see their progress. Be realistic with how long it will take and let them know so that there are no surprises or meltdowns. I'm a pretty time-orientated person so I try to remember to relax and enjoy the journey.

{Dog Mountain: Mt. Seymour, B.C.}

2. Snacks and water. Hiking is hard work and filling them up with protein will give them the long term energy that they need; we usually pack pepperoni sticks, nuts, and granola bars. If we're going a bit longer, we make sure that we have sandwiches too. We have a hydration pack but carry extra water bottles--our family sweats a lot. Okay, I sweat a lot.


{McKee Peak: Abbotsford, B.C.}

3.  Start with an easier hike to build up their confidence. One of the first hikes we did with our boys was the Grouse Grind (at ages 4 and 6)--even though they rocked it, I wouldn't recommend it. Start with a nice flat hike and take a carrier or stroller along just in case. Try to keep those first hikes to under an hour.

{Rainforest Loop: Tofino, BC}

4.  Make sure they have good shoes and layers. Good runners are a must--tie them up securely. Check that their socks have no holes and protect the knees of your younger kids who tend to get scraped up a little more easily. Hiking for us often happens in the mornings or in the shade so layers are recommended. Don't forget a hat and sunscreen!

{Dog Mountain: Mt. Seymour, B.C.}

5. Have a fun destination. What is at the end of the hike? A beach? A lookout?A lighthouse? Make sure there is something to make the hike seem more worthwhile! If they're not that into the view, perhaps pulling out a special treat will make it more exciting.


{Lower Falls: Golden Ears, B.C.}

{Dog Mountain: Mt. Seymour, B.C.}

I'd love to hear if you have any other tips!  

Love,
Louise


PS Parents: you might want to use hiking poles if carrying a child in order to ensure better stability and less pressure on your knees.

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Tips for Hiking with kids


11 comments:

  1. Kristin McNair8:03 AM

    Love this post. Hiking is something Craig and I love and hope to be able to do with our kids as well. It's fun to see your pics of places we've done also, especially the island ones! The west coast trail was supposed to be last year for us but Craig had a bad hiking accident last summer so we are tackling it in just a couple weeks!

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    1. Have so much fun on the WCT! It shouldn't be too muddy based on all the sunshine we've had!

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  2. We've only gone on one family hike so far and I was surprised at how much of the walking Emily did! I am looking forward to more.

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    1. I love being pleasantly surprised like that--I think they're often tougher than we think!

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  3. We love hiking as a family! People are often shocked what the boys(7,5,3) can accomplish. For our youngest sons third birthday we hiked Dog Mountain. He was so proud of himself. Other tips I often give are let them get dirty(this seems difficult for some parents) let them lead, bring more food than you think you will need, if they get whiny ( what! ;) make it a game for instance who can find the next bridge, nurse tree and so on. We also have each child bring and carry their own food and water. Parents carry basic safety supplies like emerg blankets, med kit and so on. We try to remember to take a bag to pick up garbage and teach them the golden rule of hiking:take nothing but pictures, leave only footprints. Oh and don't forget the camera! I totally agree with choosing appropriate hikes and definitely ones with exciting destinations!

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    1. Yes, letting them lead is a great tip!! It definitely helps to have games to play along the way, we have to be careful though because our two boys are quite competitive with each other :) And yes, so great to teach them hiking etiquette like leaving only footprints! Let me know if you have any other great local hikes that you enjoy.

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    2. Sasamat Lake
      Rolley Lake
      Lighthouse Park
      Crystal Falls
      Bridal Falls and Flood Falls ( both very short)
      Campbell Valley ( which I assume is close to you;)
      I could go on and on!

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    3. We've done them all except for Sasamat Lake and Crystal Falls-will look them up. Love Lighthouse Park, too bad it's so far!

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  4. Can we come on the Cape Scott trail with you? :)

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    1. Yes!! Would be sooooooo fun!!

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  5. Great tips and beautiful pictures!

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