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Hiking with Kids and Actually Having Fun!

My husband is an outdoor junkie. The dirtier and more remote, the better. We are a little bit different in this regard. I’m kind of a faux wilderness lover. I like the outdoors when it’s controlled. Perfect weather, perfect kids, no bugs…who am I kidding? That just doesn’t exist, especially the perfect kids (I’m a mama to two boys, two and five!).

Despite the lack of perfection in the wilderness, we still love to get out there. All three of my boys get antsy when we sit inside all day, and let’s be honest—the house gets real dirty, real fast. So we like to get out and explore, and hiking is one of the best ways to do it.  With a little bit of preparation, it can even be fun!

Here are a few of my tips to hike and enjoy.

  • Plan for anything. My husband makes fun of me for bringing all the things, but it’s true. Bring clothing for any kind of weather. You may decide to leave it in the car, but if you’re missing something like rain gear, your hiking trip can be ruined before you even start.
  • Bring snacks. Lots of snacks. For whatever reason, it’s challenging to get my kids to eat at mealtime (that’s another post altogether), but they love to snack. And when you’re hiking, you need it! You’re using a ton of energy and on the move. Bring snacks to eat along the way and enjoy. Sometimes we even pack a picnic, which my boys love. There is something about fresh air and green trees which makes a peanut butter sandwich extra enjoyable.
  • Pee first. (This one applies less to the males in your family.) For some reason, even when we are out in the middle of Rocky Mountain National Park, privacy seems to be scarce. Visit the last port-a-potty you see. One time, my husband happened upon me squatting next to a (very visible) tree and our marriage has yet to recover. You can thank me late.
  • Enjoy it. There may be complaining (me) and whining (also me) along the way. But someday soon, your kids will have friends who are way cooler than you, and they’ll want to spend time with those friends instead. Take advantage of the time when they are too little to complain love you best and make memories. Get outside. Spend time together. Smell the trees. Eat the smores. And take pictures. The pictures of my sons on the trail are some of my favorites.

Enjoy it, mama. Just pee first.

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