Our First Attempt at a Family Hike
This past weekend to celebrate father’s day we decided to go on a hike at our local Metropark. We thought this would be a fun and cost effective trip for our little family. This trip was decided on mid-week but we put very little planning into the outing.
We woke up Saturday morning feeling positive and very ambitious. Little did we know, we should hang onto that feeling. We loaded our 10 month old daughter and our two dogs into the car and made the 30 minute drive to the park.
“Where are the trails?”
We had only been to the park once and failed to remember just how large it was. We managed to end up on the side of the park that had zero hiking trails. Once I finally pulled up the park map on my phone, I realized that the nature trails were on the other side of the lake. I instructed my slightly disgruntled husband to drive to the other side. After driving all the way around the lake we learned that the nature trails do not allow dogs (we should have guessed). Luckily, it was our daughter’s morning nap time so she slept through the majority of this fiasco. We were also lucky to find a hiking/biking trail pretty close to the nature trails.
“When did you get so heavy?!”
So, we finally got out of the car to start our hike. I strapped my ten month old daughter to my chest. I had decided to use the structured carrier that I often use for short walks around the neighborhood. Do you know where I am going with this? Do you have better foresight than I do? Approximately 10 minutes into the hike my back felt like it was going to give out. Strapped to my chest, my 20 pound 12 month old now felt like a 50 pound baby. Fortunately, this was a carrier that could be converted into many different positions. My hike became tremendously easier when she was switched to my back.
“It’s your turn!”
Even though my hike became easier, it was not an easy hike for me. As a busy new mom, I have not figured out how to consistently fit working out into my routine. So I will admit that overall I am out of shape. My husband was not at all surprised when about 40 minutes into the hike I was strapping him into the baby carrier. Had he not been there, this would have been only a 40 minute hike!
“Just call me Mary Poppins.”
Although I was no longer carrying my daughter, I gained quite a bit of luggage. Did I mention that I have become an over packer? Many diapers, many wipes, changes of outfits, 10 different creams/lotions, toys, muslins, bottles, food, bibs, burp clothes are just a few items. You name a baby item and chances are it was in our hiking backpack. To my dismay, 2.5 hours into our hike we had played with toys, had 1 diaper change, and had eaten 1 bottle. I am very proud to admit that I was prepared to handle any situation that life threw at us. However, I am not too proud to admit that there are a few items that I could have left at home.
Distractions are key.
Whatever you decide to take out of the bag; do not take out the toys. I highly recommend the small stroller toys that allow you to attach the toy to the stroller. In this case, I used the ring to attach the toy to the baby carrier. These were a lifesaver. My daughter was not as enthralled with nature as my husband and I. I took three different toys and each time she started to get bored I would switch the toy that was attached to the carrier. This worked perfectly. We managed to avoid any major meltdowns on our 2.5 hour hike, which is an accomplishment in itself.
Clearly we made a few errors and mistakes on this adventure. However, I am chalking this one up as a win in my book! We successfully got out of the house for a few hours and had a very fun adventure. We have plenty of notes for next time and I look forward to planning many more hikes with my little family.
5 Lessons for having a successful hike:
1. Plan out the trail
2. Try the carrier before the hike
3. Take a buddy
4. Limit what you take to the essentials
5. ….But don’t forget the toys
I would love to hear from anyone that has also taken hikes with their small children. We will continue to hike as my daughter grows. I think it would also be fun to eventually go on an all day hike or maybe even an overnight hike. Baby steps and I will get there!