August 10, 2012 at 1:20 am
Summer is a perfect time to get outside with the family for a hike. Pack a picnic lunch and hit the trails!
Last weekend, our family headed to the mountain for a little hiking fun and it reminded us how important it is to get outside this time of year. Don’t be intimidated by the term “hiking.” It’s just like walking but out in the woods and/or an outdoor recreational area. It’s a wonderful family activity that promotes healthy living, family fun, and a chance to explore your planet.
To get you orientated for your hike, here are some things to remember before you set out to explore:
Take plenty of water and some snacks: We particularly like some of the tasty and lightweight recipes from Dirty Gourmet. After a good hike, you want to have a tasty picnic but you don’t want to have to lug it with you.
Be prepared: Take a compass, a map of the area, and small first aid kit. You may think bringing a mobile phone is enough, but there are many areas that may not have cellular reception. Plus, you want to be prepared for fun and not a family fight of which way to go. We also carry a whistle so that if someone really is in trouble we can signal for help.
Wear clothes for changing weather: Hiking is not the time to wear flip-flop shoes and designer outfits. Wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots and wear layers so that you can adjust to changing weather.
Find a path the meets your needs: If you have never hiked before, start easy and work your way up to more challenging trails. Here are some sites we like to search for our perfect trails.
- Gorp.com: You can select your state, trail difficulty, length and how many people you want to see (crowds or no crowds)
- Local Hikes: Get close to home and dial in to the level you feel most comfortable with and how scenic you would like it to be
- All Trails: From your friends at National Geographic, this site offers reviews of trails. You can also preview trails in your area and get feedback from hikers that have recently been out on the trails.
Guidebooks: “What is that?” is a common question on many of our family hikes. Be ready to explore and answer! We always take a guidebook for the area like National Audubon Society Field Guides. Also, if there is a chance that someone in your group will get bored, give them something to search for. Here are some fun family games to play out on the trail—we enjoy Wildlife Bingo!
I hope you take the opportunity to get out and enjoy summer before it is time to head back to school.
Kate Ruffing transformed her home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, into a “sustainable living lab,” where she explores living an eco-friendly lifestyle that works for her and her family. She shares her sustainable living solutions on her blog Camp 4, and here on Momster.com.