Whether it’s one child or a small group of siblings, cousins, or friends, use these 5 tips to prepare for your next hiking adventure. Happy hikers want to go out again.
- Plan ahead. Check websites and trail reports to be sure that there aren’t any trail closures.
- Dress for the weather. Check the weather report and stay warm, dry, and comfortable, especially with outerwear, insulating socks, and waterproof footwear.
- Expect mud. Even if it hasn’t rained or snowed recently, forested trails can still be muddy or even have patches of snow or ice. Stay on trails to avoid widening them.
- Travel prepared. Bring water bottles, snacks/lunch, first-aid kit, TP roll and plastic bags to pack-out any waste or trash. Depending on the weather, bring warm hats, extra gloves or socks (or even an entire change of clothes for kids), and handwarmer packets. Bring along a paper or digital trail map and make sure your cell phone is charged for emergencies.
- Keep a flexible mindset. Kids don’t want a sufferfest. They want to meander and explore; pick up sticks and rocks; look for insects and wildlife tracks; and don’t really care about the view or final destination.
Amy McCaffree is the Out There Kids columnist and grew up free-range on a small family farm near Seattle. She lives in Spokane with her husband and their two children.