One of my best Christmas presents was a request from my husband that we buy ourselves some new hiking boots and begin to make hiking a priority and a ritual in this family. Yahoo! A mutual love of hiking was part of why I fell for my fella, and we used to go on day hikes in the mountains often before we had children. Though I know people who are serious hikers and strap their babies to their backs and hit the trails, that’s not us. I had a hard enough time managing breast feeding, diaper changing and all the other demands of babies and toddlers here in a comfortable house let alone out in the wild. But I’m thrilled my boys are getting older, and we can be more intentional about getting out into nature.
So we got our boots earlier this month, and we took advantage of the warm weather December decided to bring this year in Georgia. We wanted to break in our boots and start off easy by visiting some local parks and gardens. It’s a good thing we did that too because we learned that with a five and two-year-old, our “hikes” are going to be more like strolls punctuated with a lot of stops, snacking and complaining. But that’s okay. We’ll make hikers out of these boys yet.
And hiking with my boys gives the photographer in me great pleasure. They gave me plenty of time to find the light while they played by the water. You can see those photos by clicking here.
The photos here are from Ft. Yargo State Park and The State Botanical Garden of Georgia.
Getting children into nature is very important, and I consider it a goal in our homeschooling lifestyle too. For more information about getting kids and your family into nature, you might like to look at these links (which I posted in my Worthy Reads a while back):
- Together in Nature: Pathways to a Stronger, Closer Family offers a free PDF download by Children & Nature Network Connect
- Recommended Reading by the Children and Nature Network
What’s your preferred way of getting out into nature?
17 thoughts on “Hiking 101: Getting the Family Into Nature”
Looks like fun! What a beautiful place and stunning photos. We like hiking too. This summer we went to the Grand Teton Mountains and had so much fun. It’s so nice to be close to beautiful places.
I have seen the Grand Tetons once from afar. What a stunningly beautiful place! I hope when the boys are older we’ll be able to travel and take them places like that! Thank you for your comment!
we found that good, fun experiences were the key to getting our boys to like hiking. one bad experience (underestimating the length/amt of climbing necessary) set them back for a couple of years! 🙂
That’s good advice! Thanks! We have definitely learned to not expect to cover much ground with these little guys, yet we’ve been surprised at just how good they are and how far they can go!
Oh I know exactly what you mean! We hike too! So keep it up. We used to use those baby backpacks to carry the kids in when they got tired. Then they got a bit large for that. There are many times when the old man and I covered the last mile with a kid on our shoulders. But it’s great exercise.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks! It is great exercise, and carrying the two-year-old isn’t too bad…yet. We’ll need to be careful to pick doable trails for the boys.
What a wonderful resolution! I’ve been hiking with my daughters since my oldest turned five. It’s now a part of who they are and what we do…about once a week, we climb a mountain or hike a long trail (we live in New Hampshire). Getting out there for hours and hours at a time is wonderful — the girls learn not only about their natural surroundings, but about themselves and their capabilities.
Looking forward to reading more about your outside adventures,
Patricia Ellis Herr
author of UP: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbaggin Adventure (Broadway Books, April 2012).
Thank you for your comment, Patricia! That’s great that you hike weekly with your daughters. I hope we can do it once a week here too!
Hello! I have two boys, ages 5 and 2 too! I also enjoy hiking and this fall we completed a fun program offered by our local Metro Parks for the first time – their Fall Hiking Spree. If you hike 8 trails between Sep. and Nov., you receive a hiking stick (first year only) and a metal badge to affix to the stick. (Every year afterward you receive another badge to add to your stick.) Most of the time I carried my 2 year old in a backpack carrier, but he did a good bit of walking too. I loved getting out into nature with the kids and we always found lots of interesting things on our journeys. Since the Hiking Spree program gave me a clear goal, it helped keep me motivated too. I’m looking forward to reading more of your stuff since we have a lot in common! 🙂
Hi Stargazer! It’s great to make your acquaintance, especially since we do have so much in common!! That Fall Hiking Spree sounds great! I’m not aware of anything around here like that, but I’m looking forward to when my son is old enough to get involved in the junior ranger program with the Georgia State Parks. Looking forward to getting to know you better! Thanks for commenting!
PS. I have never owned a good pair of hiking boots and have been wanting to get us all a pair – do you have any advice on where to shop or what brands are good but reasonably affordable for a family on a budget?
That’s a great question. My husband is the shopper in our family, and he’s always looking around and reading about any big purchase we make! We don’t have a lot of money to spend either, but shoes is one thing we don’t go cheap on. I have had problems with my feet, so it’s necessary for me to get good shoes, and I require insoles too because of an extremely high arch. The shoe you see pictured above is Columbia, and it was cheaper than a pair of hiking boots I bought in the past (and, unfortunately, don’t fit anymore after two pregnancies.) They are extremely comfortable, and I haven’t felt like I needed to break them in at all. In the past I have always bought Merrells because for some reason, they just fit my feet really well, but they can be pricey. Sometimes you can find good shoes online, but I really need to try on hiking boots. We bought those at Bass Pro Shops. They offer a variety of brands and prices. If you have an Academy Sports near you, I think they have a bunch of different brands to try too. I think you just need to try them on, see what fits best and what is in your price range. If you hike a lot, you’ll probably need to replace them once a year anyway (like runners do with their shoes), so you’ll learn what brands hold up and feel best over time! (This is what we’re going to have to learn too!) Good luck!