Feb 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm #1285510
Jim W.BPL Member
I realize that while I sneak off for solo dayhikes, surf the web for the latest gear, etc., I'm not doing all I can to raise hiking buddies. We car camp a fair amount and do some day hikes and snowshoe walks, but we have only done one family backpack trip each year since my son was 5 and daughter was 7.
I'm going to change that this year with more trips- both day and overnight.
How do you do it?Feb 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm #1837673
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Just take them! Don't worry about what you are doing – just take them. Be it dayhikes or treks, it doesn't matter. What matters is the time together!Feb 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm #1837676
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Good for you, Jim! So much of what we like (or dislike) stem from our own childhood exposure / experiences!
My folks were never the hiking type — and I never developed any interest on my own until my 40's! Better late than never, I suppose, but no childhood memories though. OTOH, my folks loved to travel — and my siblings and I are all pretty avid world travelers.
I am a single guy – but I can imagine the fun parents get in shaping their kids! Have fun!Feb 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm #1837701
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
What you didn't mention is the long once a year trips on the JMT, and that you camp out as a family more than most :)
Go do the solo trips. And take the kids on some of the trips/hikes. You are doing a good job already. And hopefully your kids will learn to enjoy hiking and continue to do so when they leave the nest. My boy does.Feb 11, 2012 at 7:10 am #1837876
Greg FBPL Member
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. In the summer we camp and dayhike almost every weekend and this year i will take the 3 year old on a weekend trip.
My big thing is to keep it fun which means carrying lots and sometimes carrying her.
So far she can hike about 6 miles total a day with 1000 ft of elevation which allows us to do a wide range of dayhikes.
I wouldnt worry too much about creating a backpacker i think if you raise someone who loves the outdoors and doesnt mind the work of camping they will also like backpacking. Its a matter of instilling the belief that nature is exciting. The only other thing would be not to place artificial limits on what kids can do.Feb 11, 2012 at 7:28 am #1837881
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
As Sarah said, just take them!
Both my kids are in their twenties now, but they still have a love of the outdoors.
If you introduce them young, it will stay with them forever.
My daughter was doing graded scrambles at 4 years old, and is still really into her outdoor fun.
My son discovered girls a few years ago, so his mind is on other things at the moment. He'll be back. :)
When they were very young, i used to think up strategies to keep them interested. I told them that faeries often left candy and money under rocks. It was left for other faeries that were in need. The weekend before a hike, i would go and place candy and money for them to find under rocks on the route we would be taking. Great fun and memories. :)Feb 11, 2012 at 8:34 am #1837914
drowning in spamMember
I'd talk to Balls. He has some articles here about his PCT hike with his daughter, Sunshine. He said he'd wanted a hiking partner, but had great difficulty finding one, so he made one. He did a great job.Feb 11, 2012 at 9:25 am #1837941
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
My son (13 yo) is one of my favorite hiking buddies but, no, I'm not doing "all I can" to raise one. What I'm trying to raise is a well-rounded man who appreciates the outdoors and is comfortable camping, backpacking, etc. but, at the same time, can cook a meal, do his own laundry and find his way around an art museum.
We only do one weeklong backpacking trip a year together but, like others have said, I think it's more about time spent together. We do some kayaking, a couple of weekends skiing, a week somewhere where we can snorkel, boogie-board. It's all good.Feb 11, 2012 at 10:18 am #1837961
Stephen BarberBPL Member
Love of the outdoors is what you need to impart; the love of hiking grows naturally out of that. Take your kids out camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, whatever. Make sure whatever you do is something they will enjoy – ie, make sure you stop at creeks and lakes to play, not just log miles on a boring trail!
My kids are grown now, and they are my best hiking buddies!Feb 11, 2012 at 10:28 am #1837967
BER —BPL Member
I feel a little guilty for not getting out more with my boys (11 and 9). Unfortunately they live 2 hours away due to divorce. And while I am remarried and my wife loves camping as much as I do, conflicting work schedules and school schedules and other parent schedules always seem to get in the way of extended trips.
But at last I have a trip scheduled. Spring break in Zion for us three boys! Not camping, but a full week of day hikes. And hopefully we will be able to get them to the BWCA this summer.
Some of my best memories of my father were from our yearly summer trip to the Quetico provincial park (the wilder Canadian side of the BWCA). I can only hope that my boys will remember me in a similar fashion when I am gone. I have to make an effort to work harder on scheduling…Feb 11, 2012 at 11:48 am #1838017
Ike JutkowitzBPL Member
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
+1 to starting early
My daughter, Rowan, age 3 monthsFeb 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm #1838040
BER —BPL Member
Don't you think that pole is a little long for her? Or is that what made her all sleepy?
Cute pic.Feb 12, 2012 at 1:43 am #1838276
Mike WBPL Member
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Feb 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm #1838999
+3 to just getting out there!
No trip is too small, or too big … I started lugging my kids on hikes in the baby carrier when they were tiny things, took them on picnics and little walks and fishing trips and car camping when they were toddlers, started doing winter overnights in the yard when they were in pre-school, did first backpacking trips (they carried their clothes, water & personals, I handled their sleeping stuff) when they were kindergarten-ish, first trips where they carry their own ~12 pound frame pack with sleeping bag & pad before first grade …
They started snowshoeing at three, nordic skiing at four or five, alpine at five or six.
They're six and eight now; we spent five nights out together in Baxter SP last summer … daughter has hiked 30-something of the NH 4K's, son has decided he wants to hike the whole Long Trail (we're ~60 miles along at this now), and they enjoy getting out whenever they can, any time of the year.
Don't lose sight of the fun of 'easy' outings. Last Friday night on a lark after school, finding it was going to be a mild night (+20F) we pulked our stuff up the hill out back, set up camp, invited the neighbor kid up for a starlight marshmellow roast, walked her home, and returned for a night of easy winter camping. We were back home with all equipment stowed or hung to dry by 8 in the morning.
Figure out what they like … my daughter likes streams and views, whereas my son is more interested in ski area machinery and wreckage of old settlements. They both like steep scrambles and abhor monotonous sections through the woods.
Edited to add — anything on skis gets extra points, ditto anything with swimming.
They're as capable now as a good many of the adults I know, and it's gotten to where I don't do very many trips without one or the other of them along, if not both. It's the best time we spend together.Feb 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm #1839018
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
It works best when I plan ahead and book the flights, rent the forest-service cabin, block-out the ski weekend, etc. Then something comes up ("We're having people over for dinner on Saturday", etc) and the trip is already on the calender and it gets priority.
2-night snow camping trip earlier this month. 3-night BPing in Hawaii next month. X-C ski day trips through April. Half Dome in August. Here is my 11-year-old in the Grand Canyon (Bright Angel – River – Bright Angel, 9.25 hours) last May.
and afterwards:Feb 14, 2012 at 5:41 am #1839231
A thread from Gear Lists got me thinking about this.
I turned my dad into my hiking buddy. When I was in 6th grade, I wanted to go backpacking. Everything about it appealed to me. My dad, my older brother, and I would get one vacation a year together, and I started hounding them to do backpacking. Dad, naturally, didn't want to invest all the money in new gear for one week EVER. But I kept at it, for a couple years until he realized that this wasn't just a one-off event. Older Brother was getting to the point in teenage years where he was too cool for family, so it turned into just me and dad getting into backpacking.
Dad and I still talk about trips together, both from years ago, and possible trips we might make happen. He lives in Michigan still, I live in Oregon, but we still love those rare times we go hiking together. He does trips out there with a cousin's boy scout troop, and I go solo usually here, but we always hit a good cadence together when we can get a trip with each other. Though I'm always telling him to leave something behind due to weight.
And he took my profile picture from the same trip.Feb 14, 2012 at 11:57 am #1839430
Jeff J —
you bring up another important dimension. I did that too — as a teenager, I wanted to get out more, and I had to basically groom my own partners because I didn't know too many people who hiked. My dad hadn't spent a night out since his army days — before I was born — but we did some great trips together up until I moved away after college.
Now we're back, with kids; my mom and my mother-in-law have taken a late interest in hiking, and they came along for lots of day hikes when the kids were a little younger. They still come with us now and then, but with the kids taking on adult-sized objectives and the ladies in question nearing eighty, their goals and approach don't match as often anymore.Feb 15, 2012 at 10:17 am #1839817
Edward ZBPL Member
@fuzzLocale: Sunny San Diego
Great advice from all! My motto is to just simply love them up! We have car camped, we have a travel trailer and I'm fortunate to have taken my three older girls on a half dozen small weekend so cal trips last year. I found that as much as I love hiking alone, or with a good buddy, nothing compares to hearing them sing and play imaginative games on the trail… the "what am I?" game… fruit, food, desert, animal, etc….. Eventually the time spent one on one with dad or mom is what they go for, and your love of nature will be entirely contagious. It's counter culture to what most kids are doing, plugged into the video games and stagnant. It takes dedication to just get out there and get dirty. The rest happens on its own! Good for you for your commitment. I share a goal of more trail days this year… and hopefully each thereafter! I'm stacking up the hikers!Feb 15, 2012 at 10:31 am #1839819
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
We've leveraged my MIL's and FIL's outdoorsy interests, good health (at age 71), and interest in the grandchildren (ages 7 and 11) to do more things with the kids. An example:
We all went to Yosemite and my wife and I went up Half Dome while the grandparents and kids went flat-water rafting on the Merced. Other days, we did things all together – top of Nevada Falls, etc.
This year, we'll do it again, but step it up a bit. Our now 12-year-old will do Half Dome with us, while the grandparents will shuttle the 7-year-old daughter to rock-climbing class that day. We'll do milder day hikes all together.Feb 22, 2012 at 10:06 am #1843003
Erin McKittrickBPL Member
@mckittreLocale: Seldovia, Alaska
My kids are only 3 and 1 though, so I have a long project ahead of me. They don't get the choice NOT to come on expeditions until they're a good deal older, so I'd better make sure they like it now.
Our trip style is more along the lines of frequent day hikes punctuated by long (multi-month) expeditions every year or year and a half. It's hard to get motivated to do an overnight, simply because all the additional gear and logistics required means we actually have less range doing that than we do dayhiking! (especially in winter) But we do plan to get my son walking far enough to backpack on his own sometime this summer.
I admit when both parents are around, the temptation to just carry the kids and hike farther or in more difficult terrain than the 3 yr old can handle is often hard to resist. We try to have a balance of kid explore time, but don't make him walk as much as he could.Feb 22, 2012 at 10:39 am #1843019
W I S N E R !BPL Member
That was a beautiful article Erin, I actually read it a few days ago. I've always been impressed/inspired with your approach to taking your kids on adventures.Feb 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm #1843174
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
As many know I dragged my oldest son on most trips I went on from when he was very young. He is 14 now. He was a rare kid, capable of adult miles even at 4 years old – mostly due to being tall and Autistic. But I also pushed MY wants on him – by 11 he was burning out. I wanted more, more – crazier trips and he was done. He had seen so much and been through crazy things.
But what stands out most to me was one of our last long trips when he was freaked out on a river ford and I got him through it by walking backwards through the river, barking at him. What had I come to? He was 11!!
I quit pushing it after that trip. He needed to be able to choose if that was what he wanted. Then he got a vacation while I had 2 brothers in a 3 year period. Now he is more open to coming hiking. I haven't taken him backpacking now since 2008 and that is OK. He is excited to take his little brothers now.
My point is have fun but don't overdo it with kids. Just because they can do death marches doesn't mean they need to hike 1K miles a year or more – unless they truly want to be there. I learned that lesson and won't be so apt to repeat it with the next kids…..Feb 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm #1843734
My 12 yo often picks up things in stores and laughs and says " this is way too heavy ".
On his first trip ever, did effortless 12 mile day. He says "You know, we could do this every weekend" as we pitched camp.
Even a 125lb 12 yo understands the benefits of a 10 lb base wt, and a 15 lb pack.
Spend some money on them. Buy them the lightwt high quality gear you have so that they also can ENJOY the experience. Teach them why to be light, and how to be light. Teach them what you know. They will take it to heart.
I think they really also enjoy having lightweight knowledge and abilities that a lot of others dont. Makes them feel special, knowledgeable, capable. That enhances their enjoyment.Apr 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm #1865136
christopher witterBPL Member
@cwitterLocale: Mid Atlantic
When they're young it is not about the destination so much as the journey. The more there is to touch, see, climb, and hear the better. I started early and we are up to about 4 miles a day now, depending on the terrain. Here are some pics from the last two trips recently:
Ready to go, he has ~5.5 lbs including his sleeping bag, some clothes, his stuffed animals, some books a journal and some crayons and his journal. Overall almost everything of his, I had to carry some of his clothes do to the 60 degree days and the high 30s at night. I had about 25lbs.
Meditating (his words not mine) in a secret off trail location.
Apr 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm #1872049
Bob ShaverBPL Member
I had two girls by a first marriage, and took them on day hikes and backpacks from the time they could walk. But when they got to middle school, they were pretty much done with backpacking. We went on a backpack each year, but they were not really into it.
New marriage, and as a couple we had a more unified interest in outdoors stuff. We had a girl and a boy, and did car camping till my son was 6, when we did his first overnight.
Thereafter, we did more and more backpacks each year. When daughter #3 was 16, she said "no more backpacks, ever". We went on one last one, with her sister, my #2 daughter, by then 26. They both were bored, but had a great time in spite of themselves.
After the trip, #3 daughter said "now I get it Dad. I'll go on a backpack with you anytime I can. We are planning one for this summer.
My son joined scouts when he was 11, and he's 16 now. Scouts was a great venue for father son backpacks, and we are still getting out on them, with some trip reports here.
I just heard from daughter #2, a senior in college, that she is going on a camping trip with friends at college. So I guess her boycott wasn't "forever".
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