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Hey sweet friends! I really wanted to take a moment to talk about my favorite subject three seasons of the year-HIKING! As most people know, especially those who follow my Instagram, know we hike from April until October. I would hike more year round…but I hate the cold! Today I want to share with you what we bring hiking, what to know when choosing your trails, and WHY we make hiking a priority. I am so passionate about hiking and all the reasons we do it-and why you should too!
To begin, I want to share with you guys what we bring on our hikes. For reference of those new here, most hikes we take during the summer time are often myself with the four youngest kids alone. That means myself with 8, 7, 3, and 1 year olds! If I’m on nanny duty that day add in an extra 5 year old!
What we bring!
This should be an obvious thing, but for thorough knowledge I want to be sure to mention everything. We are currently using these bottles for the kids and really liking them. Bug is at the stage where he spits half the water back into the bottle as he drinks. The straws help hinder that grossness.
This may depend on the ages of your children but I ALWAYS keep snacks on us when hiking. We love applesauce packets for Bear. It’s something I can give him without worrying about choking. I prefer to bring bars for the kids. Our family favorite are Nature Valley Crunch bars! It feels like a treat for the kids because it’s crunchy and sweet. I usually bring fruits or veggies cut up for myself.
An Emergency Kit.
I am a HUGE advocate for being prepared for any situation. For a little story-a week or so ago we were out hiking a trail. Monkey jumped onto a slippery rock and boom, lost his footing! He ended up on his back with his head split a bit. While this was very small emergency on the scales of emergencies I need to stress the need of having a kit on you. If not a full kit, a few necessary medical tools. I have a post here talking about what we pack in our emergency box for the car. It could easily be changed to fit the hiking needs. Or you may be able to find one online.
If you have a baby, let me begin by saying-I am in LOVE with my Clevr carrier. It is my favorite thing ever. A good carrier is necessary for doing any miles in the woods. I prefer this carrier because it has room for snacks, the emergency pack, my cell phone and of course-the baby!
Sturdy Boots or Shoes.
This is one of the MOST important parts of hiking. You need to have the proper footwear to make a hike fun. I personally usually walk in sneakers, but recently Josh bought me my own pair of nice hiking boots! I am so excited to wear those out.
I know a lot of people begin to get a little freaked out when I say I carry a large knife every time we go hiking. Truth is, when we started hiking I didn’t think I would carry anything either. But it can get a little nerve wracking out there in the woods alone. Especially as a woman. Especially as the mother of four kids with me. I chose to start carrying a knife this year and while it may not save us in the case of a bear attack, it will slow down most anything coming at us. I have THIS specific knife. This knife ROCKS because it not only has the blade for protection but it also comes with survival items that could help if we ever find ourselves lost. The loop on it is perfect for putting on the front of a carrier. And the price? Cannot beat it!
Bug Spray and Sunscreen.
Bug spray is SO important this season. I know anyone on Facebook has seen the warnings about Lyme disease this year. It’s so important to spray yourself and your kids any time you go into the woods. Check yourselves after every hike. Sunscreen is also so important. PROTECT YOUR SKIN.
Don’t forget your phone! Sweatshirts if the weather is on the cusp. And remember-anything going up a hill or near the water will be colder at the end!
I know my list is pretty minimalistic but whenever we go out our number one priority is to carry as little as possible. When you have to carry a twenty pound baby, you keep the list much smaller. I also tend to believe there’s not much necessary when you’re out in the woods.
What to know!
When you’re about to undertake a hike, there’s a few things you need to know. If you’re going with your kids, you want to be prepared even more. Being stuck in the woods, getting halfway through a hike only to realize JUST how hard it is or how long it is…those things are bad enough without your kids there. When you have your children, those things are exponentially worse!
Before you go out on a hike, research the trails you’re about to hike. Look up what people have said about it on forums online. If it’s in your home town or a place where you know people who hike often, ask around in person. As a state employees wife, I feel the need to also say, talk to the forest workers if it’s a national or state park! They know those trails better than anyone as they spend the time clearing them in the spring and fall.
If at all possible, I highly recommend trying to make the hike by yourself before bringing kids on this walk or knowing someone who has personally hiked this trail. Knowing the trail is s important when it comes to keeping everyone safe!
Why do we LOVE hiking?!
I love hiking. Our kids love hiking. Every so often though, some people ask me “Why do you love hiking so much?” I’m left bubbling over words that I can’t come up with to explain my love for these adventures with my children. The most important part for me is that hiking feels like an adventure with my kids. We’re kind of boring people when it comes to vacations. We went on one to Alabama and have gone to my parents camp in Vermont. Beyond that? We don’t really leave home. Inviting this adventure into our life is such a joy.
Bring these kids into the forest always brings me back to the beauty of God’s creation as well. Reading Genesis 1: 1-31 is such a gift and reminder of how wondrous this world is. God’s Word celebrates the beauty He gave us over and over again. While out hiking I am able to celebrate these gifts with my children and praise God for that.
Finally-I love how hiking can introduce the kids to so many other things!
We currently have art journals, which we take on some hikes as well as drawing at home. I point out plants, trees, and fungus. We talk about survival tips and tricks. I encourage them to write poetry on our times in the woods and stories about people out in the woods. The Bible being an app is so amazing and we can open it anywhere to praise Him. Geography and geology, as well as biology are amazing topics that can come up with hiking. And HISTORY! You can find so many wonderful historical things out there.