It is certainly not too late in the year to hike. While the snow is certainly on its way (depending on what area of the country you are) the cooler temperatures and traveling wildlife make conditions ideal for comfortable longer hikes. Today we welcome Andy Hawbaker on the blog with some of his own tips for family hiking. Andy is in charge of the blog for Sierra Trading Post and certainly knows his outdoor family stuff. This is also a little precurser to the fall outdoor gear review (and linked giveaway) that will be happening on the blog tomorrow from Sierra Trading Post. Make sure to check out Andy’s full bio at the end of this post with a link to more of his stories (and feel free to leave him some love in the comments!)
I personally love to go for super long hikes. Sometimes I hike all day long. I’ve climbed many of the Colorado 14ers, some 13ers, and lots of peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. When I first started trying to get my kids out into nature I started with really short nature walks. I figured this was all they could handle and it was just nice to be outside. So we would go to a familiar trailhead and walk out as far as we could then when the whining started we’d turn around and go back to the car.
This accomplished the goal of getting the kids outside but never really got them engaged in the hike itself. I realized that my personal love of hiking is all about the destination. While I like short walks in the woods it is getting to a destination that really inspires me. It is far more exciting to climb to a summit of a mountain, hike to a waterfall, or arrive at a unique rock outcropping than to just walk into the woods and the return home the same way you came.
I have found that my children really respond to a hike to a destination much better than just a walk in the forest. You can even use it as a motivator to keep going. When the kids start to complain it is easy to get them back on track if you can say, “We are almost there”.
Some of our favorite family hikes include a short walk to a Keyhole in a series of rocks called the Devils Backbone, an old cabin in the forest, waterfalls or even a hike all the way around a lake. Starting out with the goal of reaching something exciting always leads to a more successful hike and is more fun for everyone involved.
Andy Hawbaker lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two daughters. As a family they enjoy hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. Andy blogs about everything outdoors at http://hub.sierratradingpost.com
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