I am a mom to 2 kids who love to hike. It has been a process but worth it. I want them to come with me and love it as much as I do. we did our first backpacking trip last summer and they loved it. I have lots of people ask... how?
First of all why? Why take them? If you love it you want them to as well so they don't get left behind. Also I am a big believer in teaching resilience. Kids don't get to do much that pushes them, that feels hard. We have easy sedentary lives. I believe we can teach grit and resilience. Hiking does just that- there might be hard parts. It might get cold or rain.... and they will make it, learning that hard is worth it!
Here is some of my tips, tricks and easy hike recommendations;
1. Start early
-Take them out where you want to go. There are many trails that are stroller friendly. They also make great baby backpacks. Talk about how much fun hiking is.
2. Start easy
- Pick the right hike that is age appropriate. Start with 1-2km. EASY stuff. If they are 5 and you make them walk 9 km for the first hike EVER, they will not love it. I started the kids with 1-2km at age 4-5, by age 7 my daughter has worked up to about 9km hikes (see point 3 and 4) and my 10 year old can do most of what I can.
3. Make it a fantastic, fascinating, interesting adventure!!
- Go somewhere cool! A waterfall, gorgeous lake, under ground streams coming off the side of a mountain, something with rich history, Pictographs. Get excited, talk about what they get to see, talk about how great it will feel to reach the destination. You dont get to whine, just talk about how much fun you are having- lead by example.
- My kids base activity decisions on how good the snacks will be. Bring lots of snacks! find something they love and save it for the finish line. This works!! (with adults too!)
5. Fantastic starter hikes;
Grassi Lakes- A waterfall, underground streams, gorgeous lake at the top- by Canmore. 4km round trip.
Grotto creek Canyon- Cool pictographs, rock climbers, waterfall, creek bed to follow and jump over- 3.8 km round trip.
Heart Creek- Easy trail that leads to a waterfall. 3 km
There are many more! Take the kids, go enjoy nature!!