Those bumps were well worth introducing my passion to my kids.
Many kids don't get any real outdoor exposure at all. Taking the first steps to show them how wonderful the adventure of the hike is can be a critical learning point in their lives... and if you're at this page then you know you want to take the next steps with them. Here's what I've learned and what you may benefit from:
Age really isn't that big of a deal
Instead of knowing their limits it might be best to start thinking of your own. How far can you carry your kid? I took them on the Abram's Falls hike in Cade's Cove TN and found this out. I had to carry my kids for miles. They were exhausted and obviously so was I.
Age doesn't matter but be prepared to carry. Some make their kids hike through exhaustion I agree to a point. I make them hike until I know in that dad way that they really are tired. Take breaks and keep it fun don't drill sergeant you kids into equating hiking with misery. It will come; be patient.
You can save the day with snacks.
Look for the really scenic landscapes.
Build the hike length in succession.
Start with the shorter hikes and then add onto them. Start with the level hikes and then add the incline as you go. You'll find that with each successful trip a goal was met and the kids will naturally want to up their game as they go. You are going to start out with basically walks through the park and then graduate up to shorter paved trails, and then onto the bigger rougher trails of local state parks. It's fun to build the experience with your children as you go .
Hike with friends.
Keep the natural artifacts.
Give them their own gear.
Take pictures to show off.
Did WF get this one right?
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