As soon as the weather turns warm, we like to strap on our babies and hit the trails. I love almost everything about hiking: being outside and together as a family, taking in God’s glorious creation, fresh air, light exercise, and learning and seeing new things. [Things I don’t love: swallowing bugs, post-hike tick checks, being chased by elk, children around overlooks, snakes.]
We’ve learned a few things about hiking with kids. Honestly, it was easier when they were little [and light] and enjoyed being strapped to mama or daddy, wherever we were. Now that Landon is 22 months [and heavy] and Lucy is three and a half [and independent], we’re learning new stuff.
She wants to walk because she’s a big kid [she says] and we like to provide her any opportunity to burn some energy [she needs it]. We do tell her before we get out of the car that she won’t be able to walk the whole way and will have to spend some time on Daddy’s back in the Ergo [or his shoulders if Mama accidentally leaves one of the carriers at home]. We make the best time when we’re carrying them both, but then we miss out on her snail impressions.
Or when she had to walk by a turtle just as afraid of her as she was of it.
But if I had to offer one bit of advice to make a family hiking outing successful, it would definitely be “pack lots of snacks”. [Which is kind of true for most of parenting.]
[Did you notice that my “helper” took a bite out of that apple. Just couldn’t wait.]
Our snack list includes:
-fruit pouches [Our U-Fill Snack Packs work great, but these almost expired Plum’s were scored from the clearance bin.]
-Trail mix [granola, chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, etc]
-packaged snacks or bars
We do try to limit how many food products we buy that come in a box [i.e. processed foods]. We’re pretty picky about the ones we do allow and make sure they’re minimally-processed. To that end, we’ve started making our own hiking bars. We make them ahead of time and stick them in the freezer. That way by the time we’ve worked up an appetite on our hike they’ve dethawed enough to be just the right amount of refreshing.
based on these
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup puffed cereal
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips, set aside to melt
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. Add in all the liquid ingredients. Mix together. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and press the bar mix in, pushing it down as tight as you can. Melt the chocolate and spread a line layer on top of the bars. Put it in the freezer to set for 20 minutes or so. After that you can pull the parchment out and chop it into bars. I like to use a bench scraper for this, but you could probably use a butter knife or pizza cutter, too. You want to cut them after the chocolate has set but before it’s so firm that it cracks when you cut it. After I’ve cut them into 8 bars I wrap them in parchment and twine and put them in a freezer safe bag with the date and allergy warnings [a must in our house].
*If they’re drier than you’d like when you mix them up, add a bit more coconut oil.