I'm one of those people who loves to do anything outdoors: water tubing, hiking, skiing, you name it. As a new mom, there are some things I can't necessarily do anymore, unless I have a day without my daughter. However, there are some things, like hiking, that I can share with her and still do. While it may not seem like the most exciting thing for kids at a young age, my daughter seems to enjoy it, which is why, I'm sure, she'll here one of the many things kids whose moms love hiking expect to hear at some point.
For my daughter, she has it easy right now. When we go hiking, she luxuriously sits in a stroller or is carried on my back, eating cheerios and drinking water in the shade and, you know, not putting forth much effort or energy in the hiking department. As she gets older, however, and can hike on her own without riding in a stroller or hitching a ride on my back, there will be many things she will hear from me in preparation for the hike, during the hike, and at the end of the hike that, in no time, I'm convinced she'll repeat in her sleep. Some of them are important safety lessons I feel she should know. Others, are just things I would like to share with her.
Though hiking can be difficult at times and my daughter may get tired of hearing some of the same things over and over again, she can at least gain an appreciation for what hiking can do for you and how it can shape you as a person. If, one day, she decides she doesn't like it, that will be the end of our hiding days. However, and for now, I'm glad that hiking is "our thing."
Some Story About A Hiking Trip
As with anything that gains our interest, we (OK, I) tend to talk a little "too much" about a favorite subject or hobby or pastime. As a result, I'm sure my daughter will hear all of my stories at least ten times by the age of four, if not more, simply because they are such wonderful memories that I want to share and relive and wax nostalgic about. She may get tired of it, sure, but right now I'm the one doing all the heavy lifting, so she just has to deal.
"Bug Spray Is Your Best Friend..."
I mean, you can go without it, but I'm not sure if you want to risk endless bug bites and itching. If my kid takes after me, she'll be nothing short of a mosquito magnet, so it's best to be prepared and just douse yourself in that stuff. Seriously, bathe in it. Wear the bug spray, it really isn't that bad.
"...And So Is Sunscreen"
It's just common sense, little one.
"Always Drink All The Water. Always."
Trust me, you are going to want a water bottle and you're going to want that water bottle to be full. If you're anything like me, you will go through two or three water bottles during a hike (especially in the summer) simply because it is so exhausting and so hot and humid out and you'll sweat like it's your full-time job.
"Don't Go Off The Beaten Path. Usually."
While it may look enticing to walk off a specific path and explore the area, don't. There are wild animals and dangerous plants (among other things) where people don't often go. I know it's romantic to "take the road less traveled" but just, for our purposes little one, no. No no no, you stay by me and in an easy-to-see area.
"Leaves Of Three, Let Them Be"
As a kid, I was constantly outside: in the woods, at the lake, at the beach, it honestly didn't matter just as long there's fresh air. One of the first and best things my mom taught me about the outdoors was, "Leaves of three, let them be." Poison ivy has three leaves, said Kids Outdoors, and is a plant I plan on actively avoiding.
"Be On The Lookout For A Blaze"
A "blaze" is a mark that indicates a trail and, on the off-chance my previous advice of sticking to well-groomed trails wasn't taken seriously, looking for a mark to indicate your current location is always a good thing.
"It's Always Worth It, When You Reach The Top"
This is why I hike: for the views. This is why my daughter I'm hoping my daughter will love hiking, too. I hope that she established an appreciation for not only nature, but for hard work. Is it always easy to go on a hike? Not at all. Is it beyond worth it when you're at the top and face-to-face with a breathtaking view? Absolutely.