Our family loves spending time outdoors. And in sunny, Southern California, the weather demands it. Not to mention its Spring, a most beautiful season. We took a family hike yesterday and I’m happy to share our experience. I’ve also included some ideas on hiking with a toddler: Some Thoughts On Packing, Considering Your Trail and Carrying (or not).
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” John Muir, Our National Parks
Related: Outdoor Play: A Hike With Friends
Some Thoughts on Packing
I never cease to be amazed at how much stuff we bring along with us now that we’re parents. Sometimes just getting out the door is enough of a task to discourage us entirely. Of course, there’s the diaper bag fully stocked with diapers, wipes and a change of clothes. We apply organic sunblock at home (one less thing to do once we arrive) and we bring a bottle along so we can reapply if needed. I had Dutch wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt to protect his skin from the sun and from rubbing up against anything weird on the trail. Also, we brought along his hat, something he isn’t that fond of wearing. This particular one is new, and ties around his neck. He wore it for most of the day. You’ll notice his name is engraved (Thanks Gammy). And snacks! Don’t forget snacks and water for everyone. There’s nothing better than reaching the top of a climb, taking in the view and having a snack. It’s probably my favorite part of the whole experience.
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Ideas for Toddler Hiking Essentials:
- Diaper Bag Backpack
- Changing Pad
- Change of Clothes (Long Pants)
- Change of Socks & Shoes
- Sunglasses 😎
- First Aid Kit
- Baby Carrier
- Toys (We brought a monster truck for Dutch to race on the trail.)
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
– Frank Lloyd Wright, Adventurestrong.com
Related: Outdoor Play: A Flower Walk
Consider The Trail
Obviously, depending on your level of fitness, this is subjective. For me, I want to enjoy nature with my family, safely. And if I can sneak in a workout, thats great! From my experience, most hiking trails have multiple routes with varying degrees of difficulty. While carrying Dutch, I always take the flattest route possible and I’m never shy to ask for help if I’m questioning my footwork. There’s a great, free app call AllTrails. Just type in your location and it provides you with a list of all the trails nearby, with levels of difficulty. Alltrails.com
“I was no longer following a trail. I was learning to follow myself.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
To Carry or Not To Carry, That is The Question
We use the Ergobaby and love it. It has the option to wear on the front or back, has a built in sun shade for baby and a few zippers and compartments for storage. We’re even able to breastfeed in it! Try adding 25 pounds to your frame while hiking, it makes for one strong Mama! 💪🏻 And what if your toddler is restless being carried? It will happen, and this is another reason you need to consider the trail. You won’t want your little amateur hiker wandering along a hillside. We got lucky with this trail, the grass was just tall enough to act as a barrier from the hillsides. Oh the freedom of a toddler in sunshine and fresh air!
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way. – Dr. Seuss, Adventurestrong.com
Related: Outdoor Play: A Family Walk
Is it possible for parents to stay fit and active with a toddler? Of course it is, but let’s be honest, it’s not always easy. What works for us is finding ways to be active together as a family. You’ll find related articles throughout this post all about our outdoor adventures, I hope you’ll give them a read.
Happy Hiking! ⛰
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